Although Q has been blowing up in the underground over in the USA for about a year now after the release of his brilliant Habits And Contradictions (which made our best of the year), he is hardly known by anyone outside of hip-hop. However, after his TDE brother Kendrick Lamar and his good friend A$AP Rocky blew up massively this year, we think Q could follow in his footsteps. His unorthodox delivery and flow is pretty original, and it wouldn’t surprise me if you started hearing him on the radio a lot more. After all, Kendrick’s currently-hyped record “Backseat Freestyle” is kind of biting Q’s aggressive style.
We hope to hear another album from him this year, and now the TDE camp has signed a major label deal with Interscope, expect a major release. Also, there are rumors of a collaboration mixtape with A$AP Rocky.
Here’s our pick from Schoolboy Q: There He Go
We hear the groans; “not another female MC with a gimmick!”. Actually, no. Angel Haze is actually just a plain good rapper, and stays away from all the stupid gimmicks surrounding barbz and kunts as of late. She has incredibly vivid storytelling, which if you check out her remix to Eminem’s classic “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” is self evident (although prepare yourself there’s a quite graphic retelling of how she was anally raped… so yeah.) and she doesn’t have a bad singing voice either, as seen on her song Love Of My Life. She also made the BBC’s Sound Of 2013 sortlist, which shows this country is ready for her.
Currently embarking on a world tour with Major Lazer, and embroiled in a back-and-forth “beef” with Azealia Banks (which SPIN has called the worst beef of all time), we hope Haze doesn’t get too distracted. After three mixtapes released in 2012, we’re hoping for an album this year.
Here’s our pick from Angel Haze: New York
We don’t really know alot about Kat Dahlia. We do know she is signed to Epic Records, we do know she is from Miama, we do know she used to be called Kat Hue and we do know her single is actually pretty banging. Although the Rihanna comparisons are going to be inevitable, on her debut single “Gangsta” Dahlia delivers an aggressive song which surprised me by how good the story telling was. Not the usual watered-down pop sound, it’s a raw and hard-hitting song with a 50 Cent sample in tow.
She’s already being hyped as the next big thing, so expect a lot more from her very soon.
Here’s our pick from Kat Dahlia: Gangsta
Yes we know, Jai Paul has been hyped for years. He placed on the BBC Sound Of 2011 poll. Well that never happened did it? We really think this could finally be Jai’s year as a demo leaked online and he appeared on Big Boi’s Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumours album, suggesting he’s ready to finally break out. Read our full profile on Jai here.
Here’s our pick from Jai Paul: Jasmine
What first struck me first with MNEK, real name Uzoechi Osisioma Emenike (we don’t know either), was that he’s 18. Like, this kid would be in the year below me at school. That shit is crazy. He’s already produced or written several songs succesful in the charts for artists such as Little Mix, The Saturdays and Rudimental, as well as remixing for artists such as Tinie Tempah and Misha B. You might scratch your head at why #MuLa would be posting such a poppy artist.
When it comes to his solo music, its a different story with MNEK. Although there isn’t that much floating around online, what you do hear is exceptional. He has a great voice for someone so young, and definitely knows how to handle the production side of things. His refix series is utterly incredible, where he covers and remixes classic songs. We just hope he stays away from the conventional and continues to make original and individual music. Either way, he’s sure to be a star of 2013.
Here’s our pick from MNEK: Get Along With You (Kelis Refix)
Dot has been around for years, going under the pseudonym “Young Dot” for a few years, beefing with Wiley and taking the whole grime world by storm, and even making a few high brow collaborations, with artists such as Ed Sheeran. He spent most of 2012 releasing singles in hopes of releasing an album, all of which were very good, just the album never seemed to materialise. A few of the songs were actually hits, but none seemed to smash the charts enough for the album to be released yet.
However, I think 2013 will be the year Dot is propelled into super-stardom. 2009 was Tinchy Stryder, 2010 was Tine Tempah, 2011 was Wretch 32 and 2012 saw the return of Wiley. Every year an English MC takes the mainstream by storm, and I think Dot’s got this. Especially as he doesn’t just have bars, he has a reasonable level of production skill and a pretty good singing voice too. He never makes completely soulless pop music and could never be accused of selling out; he’s just different.
His debut album Voices In My Head is expected this month. Let’s hope it isn’t pushed back.
Here’s our pick from Dot Rotten: Karmaggedon
Joey already has a critically acclaimed mixtape under his belt by just about the whole of the hip-hop community. Oh, and he’s 17. The Brooklyn MC is one of the rising stars of the genre, and has had several high-profile cosigns. He’s toured with Mac Miller and is featured on A$AP Rocky’s posse cut “1Train” which also features the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Danny Brown, as well as several other rappers.
His mixtape 1999 was released to critical acclaim, and it’s gotta be said, it’s pretty sick. He’s bringing back the sound of 90’s with the head-knocking beats and old-school flows; all of which coming from someone so young. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.
However, on Christmas eve he tragically lost his lifelong friend, frequent collaborator and Pro Era crew member, Capital STEEZE, to apparent suicide. The last tweet on STEEZE’s official account, is a chilling message; “the end”. How this will affect Joey’s movement and his music is yet to be seen. We just hope he can bounce back.
Here’s our pick from Joey Bada$$: Survival Tactics (ft. Capital STEEZE)
DrDr are a 3 piece collective from Brighton, UK. Although a similar lineup to successful dance act Nero, featuring two producers and a female vocalist, they are not to be labelled as copy-clones.
Their sound is a unique one, and they label their music as “Future Garage”, a genre which is increasing in popularity at the moment, and is bringing back the classic garage sound of the 90’s and early 00’s. They’re debut release, the No Compromises EP has been much talked about, and we expect them to be doing big things this year.
Here’s our pick from DrDr: Addicted
Alunageorge are not your usual duo. Featuring singer Aluna Francis and producer George Reid (clever, I know), they have created their own very distinctive sound, which some are calling “pop-step”. Aluna’s high pitched singing voice compliments the stellar, low key productions of George, which are like nothing you’ve heard before; they often incorporate elements from dubstep, garage and other similar “UK Bass” genre’s, but not one song sounds like anything before it. If that makes sense.
They’re brand of chilled out, minimalist pop is slowly being recognised by the mainstream, and they are both featured on BBC’s Sound Of 2013 poll, finishing second. We look forward to hearing an album.
Here’s our pick from Alunageorge: Just A Touch
Travi$ Scott is probably one of the most confusing new stars of hip-hop. The Houston, Texas, rapper produces his own beats; but he is often criticised for biting Kanye Wests style. But then he signed to G.O.O.D. Music. But then he didn’t. But then he was on Cruel Summer anyway.. But then.. I don’t even know.
If you fuck all the politics, one thing remains; Travi$ Scott is very good. Citing not just the usual rapper-influences, but also artists such as Little Dragon, Portishead and Bjork, he isn’t your usual MC. Although his productions do resemble Kanye’s slightly, they’re’ still brilliant and are better than a lot of the beats out there today.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t actually have that much music out there at the moment; expect that to change though with the upcoming release of his EP Owl Pharaoh.
Whether he’s with G.O.O.D. or not (and at the moment it looks like he might be after collaborating with Pusha-T), you can still expect big things from this guy.
Here’s our pick from Travi$ Scott: Lights (Lovesick)