Perhaps one of the only saving graces to come from this year is that we got some incredible music, we got albums from some of our favourite superstars like The Weeknd and Ariana Grande, but perhaps more exciting than that is all the new faces we became acquainted with. As the year draws to a close and we (thankfully) move into 2021 we thought we’d provide you with a guide to some of the artists who are set to put their stamp on the industry for the coming years.
The self-described ‘psychedelic R&B’ singer-songwriter has had a steady year improving on the momentum she created for herself in 2019 with her breakout single ‘Downers’. Greentea is bringing something new to the UK music scene, her silky and enticing vocals are matched with thoughtful and conscious lyrics tackling topics such as gentrification and spirituality in the modern era.
If we told you a few years ago that in the year 2020, one of hip hops most popular rappers would be a 17-year-old kid from Australia, you’d probably laugh in our face. But here we are and The Kid LAROI has taken the year by storm. With a whiny and angsty vocal style, Laroi has the ability to dominate tracks. His lyrics are catchy, and his style is perfect for the current climate of mainstream rap as he often blends classic emo with modern trap, very similarly to his former friend and label mate, Juice WRLD. With viral tracks on Tik Tok and the deluxe version of his debut album recently being released with instant commercial success, it will be no surprise to see Laroi at the top of the charts in the coming years.
Being Kendrick Lamar’s cousin is a pretty good starting point to be at when embarking on a musical career, but it also comes with a lot of pressure. Luckily Baby Keem doesn’t seem to feel pressure and he’s going in the complete opposite direction to his better-known cousin. While you might expect Keem to focus on lyricism and social commentary like Kendrick, he confidently carves his own lane providing an energetic and captivating new voice in the rap game. His vocal inflections and flows are sometimes strange, however, they are always head-turning and you’ll struggle to find someone who fits into the same creative pocket as him. His biggest hit ‘ORANGE SODA’ has over 150 million plays on Spotify and we expect to see even higher numbers than that in 2021.
Although Mulatto may have been making in rows in the industry over the past few years, 2020 has truly been her breakout year. She showed her versatility as an artist on her debut album earlier this year, dipping her toes into various styles and pulling it off without sacrificing the quality of the music. The Atlanta native has held her own and often outshined fellow rap heavyweights like Gucci Mane and 21 Savage on her own tracks, she’s not one to underestimate.
Spanish singer-songwriter Rosalia has had quite the year, from working with Travis Scott on multiple tracks whilst also more recently being placed on the official remix for the biggest song of the year ‘Blinding Lights’, there are no doubts she’s placed herself within the upper echelon of the music industry. Born in Barcelona Rosalia’s international appeal is unmatched, this year she even became the first artist to be nominated for a VMA who primarily records in Spanish. Artists like J Balvin (who she’s also collabed with) have managed to become global superstars with music that transcends language and it seems Rosalia is the next artist to become that internationally recognised.
Jack Harlow’s catchy and colourful flows have already managed to find a place for themselves on the charts as his massive viral hit ‘What’s Poppin’ seemed to be on everyone’s playlist this year. Jack’s confident and infectious personality seeps onto the bright and playful trap beats he laces his well-executed melodies and witty wordplay all over. Jack makes music that is the epitome of fun. However, he did manage to show a different side to his music during his XXL freshman freestyle where he tackled the subject of racial unjust with a level of maturity and thoughtfulness you wouldn’t usually expect from a rapper in his lane. While we’re sure he’ll carry on providing soundtracks to your parties, it’s great to know he also has a more conscious approach to music in his locker.
A fresh new voice from the endless talent pool of Atlanta who goes by the name Mariah The Scientist, is bringing brutally honest lyrics and a truly exceptional vocal range that is engineered to repeatedly pull at your heartstrings. Mariah provides a perspective that seems as if it’s been written from the women’s POV to the type of debauchery bragged about in The Weeknd’s songs. The view of a girlfriend who had to live with his ego and endless selfish decisions.
The story of SAINt JHN is quite incredible, his track ‘Roses’ which was released in 2018 and gained only minor commercial success was then remixed In late 2019 by Kazakh producer Imanbek and the song now astonishingly has over one billion views on Spotify, giving SAINt JHN one of the most listened to songs of the year. More recently he released his debut album stacked full of features from some of music’s biggest names such as Kanye West, Future and Lil Uzi Vert. While SAINt JHN may not be a household name at this current moment but he’s doing everything, he can to make sure he will be.
If there’s one thing you can say about 100 Gecs, it’s that they refuse to allow themselves to be trapped in a creative box. Their influences range from punk and hip hop to alt-pop and ska. Their music is a complete mess and we mean that in the best way possible. Their range of alternative bangers are impressively hectic and incredibly creative and unique. When you first hear a Gecs song you may find yourself struggling to comprehend what you’re hearing but we promise it will grow on you, and once you start digging through their discography you won’t be able to stop. Even big industry names are starting to take notice and the duo have worked with pop star Charli XCX on the remix to their song ‘Ringtone’.
Words by Chris Saunders
Graphics by Millie Pollok