It’s a new year so it’s only right we give you some ones to watch over the next 365 days.
What better way to start the year than with some artist recommendations, here are our top 10 picks for who you should be keeping your eye on in 2021. This is in no particular order and there are definitely more artists to look out for but 10 is a nice round number and a good place for you to start.
BackRoad Gee is an enigma, truly a one of a kind artist with plenty of talent to offer. Having had a breakout hit in 2020 with ‘Party Popper’ which garnered remixes featuring the likes of Ambush, Pa Salieu, Zone 2 and TeeZandos 2020 was already a special year for the young talent. Whilst we largely saw more aggressive but catchy delivery from BRG he ended the year showing that he has a lot more to offer in ‘Take Time’ which saw him get into his Afrobeats bag. It is impossible to speak of BRG and not mention his ad-libs which are honestly some of the most unique in the game, and he implements them in the most creative of ways creating tracks and moments that stick in people’s memory. Having teased what more he has to offer 2021 should push BRG to the heights he deserves.
Enny will be a name that many of you will now know due to her COLORS going viral on social media recently. Whilst it caused some debate on social media what is undeniable is Enny‘s talent. A combination of witty and poignant lyricism alongside the ability to craft melodic hooks the South East Londoner has all the makings of a star. Having only dropped her debut single in May of 2020 she has already garnered huge attention publicly and even bagged herself a Jorja Smith feature. This is all with only having 3 tracks and one remix out. A project is surely the next step in 2021 and this should cement Enny‘s position as one of the premium talents the UK has to offer.
Our lone Scottish representative on this list CHLOBOCOP is difficult to put in a box, so I won’t try to. The overarching tone of the music, especially production wise, is on the darker side but that doesn’t mean it isn’t catchy. Rap tends to be at the heart of her releases but it can vary from anywhere between Trap and Emo-Rap and at times has even had notes of Jazz and Punk sprinkled across it all, CHLOBOCOP definitely has range. Yet despite the variety across the music all of it feels natural rather than forced and very intentional. This is no surprise as despite being in her early 20’s she is focussed on creating impact through music that actually resonates with her audience over focussing on trying to just make songs that stream well
BERWYN made incredible waves in 2020, he’s performed on the coveted Later…With Jools Holland, been backed by the BBC, Notion and more. But he’s not had the easiest journey since migrating from Trinidad and Tobago to London when he was 9. Yet without those tougher times, he wouldn’t have been able to create the music he does now. As a rapper sometimes it’s easy to get caught in the hype of simply doing what’s popular and BERWYN has rejected this completely in trusting in his own more mellow sound. He is supremely talented being a rapper, singer, songwriter and producer. On top of this, he can also play the drums, piano, violin and guitar – all of which he is completely self-taught in. His brand of Mellow Rap is a breath of fresh air that we didn’t know we needed.
Alté might be dominated by artists from the African continent, unsurprisingly, Odeal is carving his space out in the genre from South East London. Yet to just call him an Alté artist would be painting an incomplete picture as he is just as at home in R&B and has even produced quite a few of his own records. He has hits on his hands and is more than capable of delivering smooth melodies that you can’t help but want to vibe to. Further proving the point of his talent is that names like Nines and Abra Cadabra have enlisted his vocals on tracks in the past. With some perseverance and if he continues to deliver quality music Odeal will soon find his name cemented in the musical landscape.
Midas The Jagaban
“Are you sure you can party with a Jagaban?” asks Midas The Jagaban on ‘Party With A Jagaban’ and the answer is a resounding yes. Midas made her entrance in 2020 with ‘Come We Bill Ehh’ that quickly grabbed millions of views and streams as well as took over TikTok. She followed this up with the aforementioned ‘Party With A Jagaban’ and went two for two in creating bangers that did numbers. The energetic and clearly party driven direction of Midas is one that appeals to all ages in its ability to get you up and dancing. She closed 2020 with the impressive Midas Touch EP which included features from international star Sho Madjozi and Ramz. Even though being at the very start of her journey Midas The Jagaban looks pegged for greatness.
The Kid LAROI
I’m not sure if The Kid LAROI fits this list or if he has already surpassed being on a Ones To Watch list like this but I’m still going to include him. The teen rapper from Australia was mentored by the late Juice WRLD and his ability to create tracks that connect is second to none. He recently even overtook Lil Baby in monthly streams on Spotify having passed the 24 million a month mark. His style sits comfortably in the realms of melody led Rap and has managed to create an impact amidst a crowded musical landscape. Whilst huge in Australia his global impact has varied with Norway and the US seemingly the biggest supporters outside his home nation. It’s only a matter of time before he breaks more territories and with the confidence to say lines like “I’m like the Jay or the Drake of my city” it seems like things are only really just getting started for the 17 year old.
Scribz Riley is a name already held in the highest regard when it comes to production and in 2020 he made the leap towards being held in that same regard as an artist. His blending of genres with R&B and Rap allows him to get creative without alienating any new or longstanding audience to his sound. His debut release ‘East Side’ quickly caught people’s attention both because of how great the song was but also because of his care towards his visuals for the track. It helped that he included a teaser of a Headie One vocalled track which we now know was ‘Impress Me’ but from that initial release, Scribz hasn’t looked back. He dropped his debut project Wish Me Luck which cemented his place as having one of the best musical ears around and has set him up to be in pole position for a great 2021.
From the moment Tora dropped the ‘Pisonia Prologue’ video on her Instagram she marked herself out as being special. Since dropping that video she hasn’t had a bad release and also put out her Call Your Name EP. What makes Tora such a star is her ability to tap into emotion and then evoke emotion in listeners. The fact she has a great voice goes without saying as a One To Watch. It is that paired with an unafraid willingness to work with experimental production and then tying that in with great visual concepts that set her out from the people out there with just a good voice.
Last but not least is R.A.E who’s nostalgia inducing style is already building her a global fanbase despite what appearances would suggest solely on numbers. Known most for evoking the spirit of 90s Rap in 2020 R.A.E showed off her vocal ability releasing more R&B records like ‘Summer Love’, ‘Not Your Love’, and most importantly ‘Like This’ which spawned a remix with Spanish artist Aleesha. With a global appeal and having already secured a spot on the Glastonbury line up for 2021 we already know the plans for 2021 from R.A.E and her team must be big.