Hot For 2016
The African Hip Hop Prince
- Jo'burg via Cape Town, South Africa award-winning rapper Kiernan Jarryd Forbes - better known as AKA - has been leading the way for Hip Hop not just in South Africa but for the continent of Africa itself.
- He's opened up for the likes of Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg on their South African tours.
- With the critical success of his debut 2011 album Altar Ego, AKA spent the next two years winning music and style awards and building up the hype for his sophomore album #Levels - released in 2014. Described as a "world-class slice of contemporary hip hop", #Levels features the great and the good of the African diaspora hip hop scene.
The Louisville slugger
- 23-year-old American singer-songwriter and occasional rapper, Bryson Tiller has been making waves online and on air with the release of his debut album T R A P S O U L, which entered the Billboard 200 chart at number 11.
- Tiller describes his musical style as 'trap and hip hop-influenced R&B, the perfect marriage between hip hop and R&B'.
- In 2014, Tiller released his biggest track to date. Entitled Don’t, the track not only acquired over 22 million listens on SoundCloud, but also an Instagram shout out from Timbaland and a DM on Twitter from Drake, one of Tiller’s biggest musical influences.
Switching up the game...
- 25-year-old Mancunian grime emcee Bugzy Malone has been ruffling some feathers for the best part of 2015.
- Adding a different level to what has been seen as a London-centric genre, Bugzy has dropped some explosive Fire In The Booth freestyles garnering over 4 million views.
- Bugzy Malone's first EP Walk with Me was released in July 2015 and entered the UK Albums Chart at number 8.
A different type of soul...
- If we told you that Izzy Bizu has a diploma in singing, but was actually too shy to sing in public, would you believe us? Thought not.
- Her self-released EP Coolbeanz debuted at number three on the iTunes R&B chart.
- Izzy has since been on tour with Rudimental and Foxes and has two Glastonbury performances under her belt.
East London's Friendly Boy...
- Born Momodou Jallow and brought up in grime’s hotland of Stratford, East London, J Hus started rapping in primary school after hearing 50 Cent.
- Until recently, J Hus was unsigned – but that didn't last long. His singles Lean and Bop and Dem Boy Paigon have racked up more than 6 million streams apiece on YouTube and SoundCloud; blame that on his vibrant flow.
- J Hus’ music is more than just a grime beat. Infusing Afrobeat and reggae rhythms – with the youngster proclaiming he wants to be as “weird and as unique as possible”.
Soul music's worst-kept secret...
- To say that 20-year-old Californian songstress, Kehlani has been causing quite a storm lately would be a bit of an understatement.
- Kehlani was once a contestant on America's Got Talent and performed with none other than Stevie Wonder - jealous? Us? Yes!
- After a few stops, starts and pauses, Kehlani decided to give this music thing another go and well, quite frankly, we're glad she did.
Vibes upon vibes upon vibes...
- Adding a different dimension to the reggae genre, 24-year-old Frederico 'Kiko Bun' Marin is following in the footsteps of Finley Quaye with his unique style.
- As well as his love for reggae, Kiko is also a classically trained musician, excelling at playing the violin.
- When you have heavyweights like David Rodigan and The Wailers supporting your music, it's safe to say you're on your way!
Radicalising music, one beat at a time...
- A true renaissance man, London-based Kojey Radical is a poet, musician and mixed media visual artist.
- Beginning as a contemporary artist, Kojey segued effortlessly between the arts with the type of confidence found by someone who refuses to be boxed in.
- After releasing his debut EP in June 2014, Kojey quickly became a name to look out for, selling out his first headline show twice due to popular demand.
Taking the soulful baton...
- With Neneh Cherry as her mum and Massive Attack producer Cameron McVey as her dad, it's safe to say that Mabel has grown up around some great musical influences.
- With an eclectic upbringing that has included living in Malaga, London and Stockholm, Mabel's sound reflects that diversity.
- Inspired by R&B, Mabel started playing the piano at five and although reluctant to pursue the music path due to her parents success, Mabel has bitten the bullet - much to our pleasure!
The muso's vocalist...
- Hackney-based singer-songwriter and producer NAO studied vocal jazz at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and is a perfectionist at heart.
- NAO only started to put out her music online in 2015 and the rest is history.
- NAO’s impressive vocal tone has resulted in some fans in high places - including Disclosure, who asked her to feature on Superego - and BBC Radio 1's own Annie Mac.
The emotive soul singer...
- Born Iniabasi Samuel Henshaw, Samm Henshaw has the type of voice that is very hard to forget. Growing up singing in the church may have helped.
- The multi-talented musician - who is a university student by day - recently released his seven-song EP The Sound Experiment to critical and artistic success.
- Samm cites the likes of D'Angelo, Paolo Nutini and Lauryn Hill as his vocal inspirations.
Well, if it's good enough for Drake...
- Hailing from another London grime/hip hop hotspot, Croydon collective Section Boyz have caught the attention of one Canadian rapper by the name of Drake who has co-signed them to his label.
- Their 1Xtra Fire In The Booth in February 2015 garnered over 760,000 views so far.
- They released their debut mixtape, Don’t Panic, back in September, which entered Top 40 in the Official UK album chart.
The culture continues...
- Hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, Kemar Vershawn Brown - better known as Vershon - has been causing a stir in the dancehall world with singles such as Boom, Open Relationship and Ruff Up The World.
- More than just a dancehall deejay, Vershon also produces dancehall riddims (beats).
- Vershon admires the work ethos and musical flexibility of artists like Mavado and Shaggy.
West is best...
- The West London collective WSTRN is made up of cousins Akelle Charles and Haile and friend Louis Rei.
- All three members had been artists in their own right before WSTRN was born - their debut track, In2 was a product of a late-night jam session.
- Their authentic sound has already caught the attention of the likes of Drake, who co-signed them. 'Nuff said.
South London's finest...
- Born CJ Brooks, Yungen acquired his name by the older boys in his area while growing up and, well, the name stuck.
- This South London rapper has been slowly making a name for himself after an infamous SB.TV freestyle.
- With a massive underground following, plus collabs with fellow South Londoners Krept and Konan - who recruited Yungen to join Play Dirty group - 2016 is sure to be his year.