5 ARTISTS YOU NEED TO START LISTENING TO
WRITTEN BY KARAN TELI
KEVIN ABSTRACT / BROCKHAMPTON
Anybody that cites Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Tyler, The Creator, Pharrell Williams, Steve Jobs and Quentin Tarantino as musical and creative inspirations is always going to grab my attention. Naming all time greats in their respective fields as your inspiration is always going to come with great expectations and pressures. The 21 year old is one of the only openly gay people in the R&B / Hip-Hop industry, a door he’s thanked Frank Ocean for breaking down on numerous occasions. His mixture of Singing and Melodic Rapping is all over his emotional album ‘American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story’. ‘My best friends racist, my mothers homophobic and I’m stuck in the closet’ is just a small insight into the mind of Kevin Abstract. His vulnerability in his music, along with the fact that he isn’t afraid to be completely honest and open with his fans about his true emotions, moods and feelings show the impact his inspirations have had on him musically. Yet, that’s only half the story. His collective (or boy band as they like to call themselves) ‘BROCKHAMPTON’ is almost a 2017 version of Odd Future, for those kids who actually missed out on growing up on Odd Future. Kevin Abstract and BROCKHAMPTON were those kids who got to grow up on Odd Future. He’s unapologetically appreciative of those OF comparisons, stating he ‘looked up to those guys’ when he was growing up. BROCKHAMPTON’s albums Saturation and Saturation II are some of 2017’s best. A collective of creative musicians who are sure to be around for a while.
I know I’m not the only one who has Tyler, The Creator to thank for this. I discovered Kali on Tyler’s ‘Cherry Bomb’ album, on the songs Find Your Wings and Perfect. 2 stand out songs on the album. Her voice was mesmerising. Couple months later playing NBA 2K17, one of her singles ‘Ridin Round’ was in the background; I recognised her voice and from that moment on…I was a fan. Her unique voice, along with her stellar songwriting and harmonies make it hard for any fan of true R&B music to not be a fan. 2K made an excellent choice with ‘Ridin Round’ as it is a clear stand out from her discography, but songs ‘Only Girl’ featuring Vince Staples and Steve Lacy (2 other artists from this list) along with her latest single ‘Tryant’ featuring Jorja Smith are also bright sparks from her small discography. She also appeared on 2 songs on Gorrilaz latest album ‘Humanz’ and Tyler’s ‘Flower Boy’ on the song ‘See You Again’; a song Tyler said may be ‘his favourite that he’s ever made’. Her debut album drops this year; expectations are high.
It’s criminal how underrated and under appreciated Vince Staples is. I first heard the rapper on Earl Sweatshirts ‘Hive’, where he had the stand out verse, which actually turned out to be one of the best verses on Earl’s debut album Doris. Since then, he’s released ‘Summertime 06’; a double disc critically acclaimed album; with stand out hits Senorita (featuring an incredible Future sample), Lemme Know and Norf Norf. Not only is his music great and different, his music videos are some of the best and most creative out, and it’s been that way for a couple years now. A couple months ago he released the album ‘Big Fish Theory’, a Hip-Hop album with a clear garage, house and dance inspiration. The album sounds fresh but most importantly; completely different to any of Vince’s previous work. Frankie Knuckles and the entire 1980s House and Disco scene are clear inspirations, but throughout Vince stays true to his conscious raps. ‘Alyssa Interlude’ featuring an interview with a healthy Amy Winehouse is a personal standout of mine. An artist that is able to stick to what they do best while changing the entire sound is a great artist. Vince Staples is one of the best rappers around; Big Fish Theory is clear proof of that.
When she first came onto the scene, much like The Weeknd in 2010/2011, H.E.R’s popularity was growing, but her identity remained a complete and utter mystery. It’s ironic, because the anonymous R&B singer makes some of the most open, vulnerable and honest music in the genre today, as if it’s straight from her diary. Her 2 albums; ‘H.E.R Vol 1 and 2’ tackle her lost love, messy breakups and paranoia. Throughout both projects, her vocals are her best and favourite instrument, making it sound like 21st century soul music, rather than typical R&B. Her cover of Drake’s ‘Jungle’ on Vol.1 caught many people’s attention, as they had already heard it a year before. Then the Twitter detectives got to work, and her identity was revealed. She still keeps herself out of the limelight though, but once she, if she ever does, finally reveals her identity and personality to the world, hopefully it works out for her the way it did for The Weeknd; who’s music and blueprint of how to work and manipulate the music industry is clearly an inspiration to H.E.R. H.E.R’s appearance on Daniel Ceasar’s new album Freudian on the song Best Part shows that her best music is still yet to come, and we can’t wait.
Is there anyone who isn’t a fan of The Internet? Didn’t think so. The bands 18 year old bassist is one of the brightest young stars in music today. He released his debut EP ‘Steve Lacy’s Demo’ in January 2017; which included one of the years best songs ‘Dark Red.’ Oh; he created a majority of the project on his iPhone; using Garage Band. He gained more notoriety and publicity after he solely produced a ‘whole ass song for King Kendrick’ as he put it; that song was PRIDE on the critically acclaimed DAMN. He appeared on ‘Flower Boy’ single and standout song ‘911’ alongside Tyler and Frank. Steve Lacy’s talent, versatility and likeable personality, not to mention now being a member of The Internet ensure he will be around for a long time making great and memorable music. Remember the name; along with everyone else’s who has appeared on this list.