25 Artists We Hope Blow Up in 2017

By on February 20th, 2017

Every year holds such promise for musicians and all around artists; it’s a fresh slate for those who believe they are destined to rise to the top. Always geared toward progression, here’s the next wave of sonic innovators that we hope will dominate the 2017 music scene.


24HRS

Atlanta-bred 24hrs is one of the most intriguing new artists that has been dominating my personal playlist. Formerly known as Royce Rizzy, the initial mysterious act accidentally revamped his sound, resulting in melodic tunes about fast-life, love-thrilled industry life. At first listen early cuts like “Back For Me” and “You Know” can be mistaken for a bad ass teenager, a solo Swae Lee cut or a product of TK N Cash, but the high-pitched engineered tracks are infectious products of the Los Angeles-based artist, who pens all of his own material. He has a slew of various projects, also including a full EP with his brother Madeintyo, alongside collaborations with Ty Dolla $ign, Wiz Khalifa, Gucci Mane, Yo Gotti and more. One to stay up on this one for sure. — SHABAZZ


6LACK

Atlanta artist 6LACK made heavy waves last year with the release of his 11-track album, FREE 6LACK. With vocals slightlyyy reminiscent of Frank Ocean’s over relaxed, hypnotic production and an intriguing persona to match — I truly feel the appeal. The 24-year old vocalist is signed to Interscope, and also apart of the Love Renaissance family, which is home to fellow ATL rapper Raury. Keep your third eye wide open because this one is on the come up fosho. — Brooklyn White


BLACKBEAR


Blackbear has been a secret weapon for about two years now. He initally was introduced to me via Ro Ransom (whom you’ll be introduced to later on this list), and his 2015 project Deadroses  and other cuts still gets copious amounts of spins. The singer-songwriter and producer takes Rock & Roll-influenced debauchery, brutal honesty, and recklessness and applies it to R&B, Hip-Hop and Soul. Songs like “Make Daddy Proud” and “Sniffing Vicodin in Paris” are just quick glimpses into the mad world of Blackbear. He also is preparing to drop a collaborative self-titled project with fellow blue-eyed soul singer Mike Posner titled mansionz. 2017 is looking like it could be the year of the Blackbear. —Kolby Turner


H.E.R.

A good friend of mine suggested that I’d listen to H.E.R, and the mysterious songstress did not disappoint. Her buttery vocals radiate a special, calming sense of energy that I didn’t know actually I needed until introduced to her work. The anonymity is intriguing and allows her sounds to hold weight in time when fellow cute alternative babes are effortlessly rising. She has to have more fire in store for us. — Brooklyn White


HOODRICH PABLO JUAN

Boss lady put me on to Hoodrich Pablo Juan and I was instantly hooked.  Named after Pablo Escobar’s son, the Atlanta rapper is cut from the same cloth as rap locals Migos and Peewee Longway, but his approach is what helps stands him apart. Juan is a member and leader of the MONY, POWR, RSPT collective and has been steadily releasing major collaborations with key players in the trap scene. Join the wave and watch the boy soar. — Brooklyn White


JIMI TENTS

East New Yorker Jimi Tents is about to catapult into superstardom with his honest lyrics and soulful production. Collaborating with experimental heavy hitters like KeithCharles SPACEBAR, Tents is on his way to the top and he’ll be on the road to self-discovery the whole way. I’m excited for the young MC because he has time on his side and I know he’ll only keep expanding and growing from here. He’s only an EP/reworked EP deep in his career and he’s already gained the faith of many. Praying he keeps the fire burning. –Brooklyn White


KELSEY LU

Black people are important to classical music, but for some reason, we’re shut out and not given the respect we deserve. Cue Kelsey Lu, the black Cellist who is bursting down doors and snatching her respect with every note. I’m drawn to her cover of The Weeknd’s “Wicked Games”; who knew Abel could get classy? I know Lu is gonna pop off because she has the skill and the spirit to do so. –Brooklyn White


KHALID

El Paso, Texas native, Khalid, is an artist all should be familiar with. His catalog of singles will make you swoon over his smooth, soulful vocals, and his sound can be compared to artists’ like Sampha’s and Maxwell’s. Each release makes it harder and harder to believe that he is only in high school. Khalid seemingly struck gold with his “Location” release that features bass knocking production by Syk Sense, Tunji Ige, and Smash David.  Khalid’s music is a constant reminder to connect with that special someone. Let’s hope there is more on the way from Khalid and we’re rooting for his continued success. —Joanna Hernandez


LIL PEEP

A young bull in the game, Lil Peep isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. The Pennsylvania-born artist has successfully released three mixtapes and developed an extensive following without a label. Beyond the music, his appealing grunge-streetwear aesthetic has captivated an absorbent audience. Although the 20-year-old artist does not proclaim to be an emo kid, his insecurities, inner turmoil, and vulnerability are consistently revealed. His tapes are vaguely dark and sometimes twisted, but somehow the pieces to the puzzle fit. —Celeste Grubbs


NAV

Another talent has floated out of Toronto and jacked our attention. With little run-up, NAV has become an artist to keep an eye out for due to his syrupy feature on Travis Scott’s hit single, “Beibs in the Trap”, as well as his guest spot on Belly’s “Re-Up”. What really has our interest piqued, though, is his upcoming collaborative project with super producer, Metro Boomin, which is supposed to come out this year. We’ll see if he’s going to continue the Canadian winning streak. –Esiwahomi Ozemebhoya


NEBU KINIZA

Atlanta continues to dominate the rap scene, with yet another artist from the the city rightfully demanding the kids’ affection. Widely known for his Mexico Dro-produced collaborations such as our personal favorite “Days” (which does justice to that Something For The People sample), Nebu Kiniza brings trap-tinged black boy joy and carefree trippy tang to the game. His notable single “Gassed Up” was a slow burner originally released October of 2015, but has now garnered over 11 million views on Youtube and 13 million streams on Spotify. Kiniza has the ability to make you feel clean, yet lifted. Most definitely a go-to artist if you want to feel good. —SHABAZZ


NESTA

Nesta, formally known as Zan, is another artist who’s genre-bending talent is going to make them a big deal this year. His vibe is like if Ty Dolla $ign, Post Malone, and Bob Marley all grabbed their loud and guitars and decided to jam. The light and fun, yet classic flavors in his music are refreshing to hear from a young artist. There’s a mix of R&B, soul, hip-hop, reggae, and rock all embedded in the production to back Nesta’s raw, raspy style. Listen to “Blending,”  “Eye Candy,” and “Living Room” to understand how big this kid is really about to be.  –Kolby Turner


NORMAN PERRY

Norman Perry is a native of New Haven, Connecticut with pipes and bars that can give Bryson Tiller, Tory Lanes and others in that lane a run for their money. He is super fresh to the game, maintaining a sense of ambiguity by having only shared a handful of tracks, such as “Alive” and “Elvira“. Even with only a few songs to reference, his mellow bars and loving vocals have quickly become both moving and memorable. He has a sound that can break into the mainstream and hopefully his music receives the recognition it deserves. –Celeste Grubbs


PRINCESS NOKIA

Though a New York City staple, Princess Nokia recently tapped into a cult fanbase and has taken us all by storm with her fiery lyrics and unapologetic feminist message. Her buzzy single “Tomboy”, along with her rager-style live performances breathed new life into the 24-year-old’s career. Between her killer visuals, successful debut EP 1992, and relatable but mystic personality, it’s only a matter of time because Princess Nokia’s qualities take her beyond. –-Esiwahomi Ozemebhoya


RICO NASTY

 Everything about Rico Nasty screams “I’m about to be a star”. Her music videos are entertaining, the music is infectious and catchy and she has a great look — so the possibilities are already endless for her. Once you get past the “Sugar Trap” package and listen to her bars, you realize shorty is actually spitting. Rico is clever, confident, sarcastic, and clearly, very creative. She’s honestly a few more hit songs and a couple major cosigns away from taking off like a rocket. —Kolby Turner


RINA SAWAYAMA

Born in Niigata, Tokyo and raised in London Town, Rina Sawayama is a multi-hyphenate creative who’s shattering Asian beauty standards with her work. Admittedly obsessed with the internet and 90s and 00s R&B (like most of us), she embraces her individuality by strategically breaking the myriad of boundaries that exist for women of color in the music industry. Her sound is reminiscent of Tamia, but Rina pushes the envelope with a characteristically Brit-pop approach and effortlessly cinematic visuals. Her voice is both crisp and melodic, so prepare to be serenaded. –Celeste Grubbs


RO RANSOM

Ro Ransom (AKA The Mystery Boy) has been a silent killer on the scene since 2010. Back then, he was hip to a lot of  music and style trends, showing his progressive sense cool way before the masses caught on. However, it now seems like Ro is in his prime and is now ready to make a huge impression on the mainstream and underground alike. His delivery, impeccable songwriting skills, and an amazing ear for production have made him a star amongst people who already know him. Now it’s time for everyone to take notice. –Kolby Turner


SAHBABII

Coming straight from Atlanta’s 9th Ward, SahBabii‘s buzz has rapidly grown within the past few months with the release of his most recent mixtape, S.A.N.D.A.S.. The lead single “Pull Up Wit Ah Stick”, featuring Slaughter Gang’s Loso Loaded, is currently creating a nice ripple effect as well, sweeping the internet and ATL streets. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the country takes notice. –Kolby Turner

$ILKMONEY

$ilkMoney, one-fourth of dutty bwoy band Divine Council, is known for his rapid-fire, Patois-tinged lyrics. The Richmond-based collective had an outstanding year, including a co-sign from Erykah Badu, inking a deal with Epic Records, and snagging a coveted guest verse from Andre 3000. $ilk is a special type of force though, as he was featured on Rolling Stones‘s “10 New Artists You Need To Know” last June. His ability to weave crafty stories and sell himself as a sex symbol are just two of the reasons why I’m convinced he’s going to go far. Deep cuts like “Jodeci” and “THUGABOO” show that he’s capable of holding his own and I’m here for it. –Brooklyn White


SQUIDNICE

At a time when everyone complains about this generation of rappers and how nobody is “putting on” for New York City, here comes Squidnice. The young, charismatic rapper and model has been setting the streets and the internet on fire. I’m not exactly sure where in NYC he’s from (most people are saying Staten Island), but believe you me — this kid is playing both sides of the fence perfectly. He has great hooks with a hazy, but impressive, flow and (drum roll)…. HE CAN ACTUALLY RAP!  Look forward to this kid. –Kolby Turner


SLAYTER

New York City’s SLAYTER has been sorely underrated these last few years. His debut project Dirty Game released in February of 2016 and carried most of his listeners down all year. The most recent project, RNGLreleased on Valentine’s Day of 2017 and has already caused a major stir. SLAYTER’s an interesting case because although his rhymes are just as hardcore and reminiscent of old New York as his counterparts Dave East, Don Q, and Young MA, I personally feel like he doesn’t get his just due for making better songs. Look for the COLDGAME captain to make a lot more noise this year; rumor has it he has a couple more projects on the way. —Kolby Turner


THEY.

This handsome Los Angeles-based duo, made up of members Dante and Drew, will satisfy your soul’s R&B-craving. THEY. is still buzzing from their recent tour with PARTYNEXTDOOR and Jeremih, but they also got it poppin’ with their “Nu Religion” EP  long before. There’s no disputing that their vocals are valid — these young men don’t sing, they sang. With undeniable talent and a tactful management team, this year is sure to be a great run for these gentlemen. — Celeste Grubbs


THOUXANDBANFAUNI

Not too much is known about Thouxanbanfauni beyond that he is originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, currently resides in Atlanta, and collaborates with UnoTheActivist quite often. In late January, he dropped a mixtape titled Heavy Weight Champ that is definitely worth listening to. Sidenote: he defines his genre as “3400,” so tune in and decipher that for yourself. — Celeste Grubbs


TREE SAFARI

East Orange, New Jersey’s TreeSafari is a member of 070, the tightknit rap group dedicated to expressing the depth of human emotion. Her sound is reminiscent of Dej Loaf’s, but her sharpened vocals make the young artist stand in a lane all her own. Tracks like “Savior” and “Whatchu Need” will make a fan out of anyone with a good ear. Catch the vibe. –Brooklyn White


VANJESS

VanJess is an R&B duo consisting of sisters Ivana and Jessica (get it?) and they are for sure going to pop this year. Their low tones remind me of Total, with a dash of Toni Braxton for additional flavor. These ladies are not playing with us; they have an EP, Homegrown coming soon and I’m positive their eyes are on the prize. Go ‘head y’all. –Brooklyn White


Listen to our exclusive playlist including our favorite jams from the featured artists below: