Ones to watch 2020

Ones to watch for 2020!

Between 2018 and 2019 we have seen artists such as AJ Tracy with his namesake album make waves, and the likes of (Santan) Dave go on to win a mercury prize, 3 BRIT award nominations this year, Slow Thai’s frank “Nothing Great About Britain” make a political impact and Kojey Radical stamping his mark with the soulful, lush sounds of his album “Cashmere Tears”.
With all that being said – we are sure you are wondering who will make their mark this year?

I’ve come up with my list of 15 acts who I think you should be keeping your eye on this year as they are due to blow up in 2020:

1. Stardom

The rising Birmingham lyricist has become known for delivering gritty yet swaggering glossed over tale of the streets, cleverly meandering him to success musically. In the last 24 months Stardom’s standout moments include an updated rendition of Hip Hop Classic song – Troublesome (inspired by “Troublesome 96” by Tupac Shakur, to standout song NLM (Nothing Like Me) featured on GRM Daily racking up over 800k views as a feature track off of his ‘Grams and Dreams’ mixtape, but non-stop the worker; Stardom continues to push content such as the visually clean “Shoebox Money” aptly displaying his boastful personality in freestyle form.

If you haven’t already – I recommend you take a look at his Daily Duppy released to the tail end of 2019 to give you an idea of his lyrical ability.

I predict with his next project (which no doubt is likely to be released this year); will be another top tier artist to help maintain Brum town on the map.

2. Pa Salieu

2019 saw Pa Salieu metaphorically poke his head out from the ground to complete a Blackbox freestyle picking up very little traction or notice, however one thing that was noticeable was the heavy comparisons to a certain East London Afro rap artist…

Hailing from Coventry, the 22 year old artist seems to be in prime position for impact in 2020 – already signed to a major label rolling off of the success of the heavily playlisted “Dem a lie”, its hard not to call his style distinctive, however his biggest hit to date is the emphatic “Frontline” produced by West London rapper ‘Jevon’ which blares its presence with alarm like chords and eerie vocals – nothing short of a banger!

But back to the comparisons with Music Heavyweight J Hus (for those who didn’t know), Pa Salieu sonically has a cheeky confidence just like Hus, and even an uncanny similar vocal twang which makes you second guess who you are actually listening too (possibly helped by the fact they are both of Gambian decent) !

And just what does J Hus think of the constant likeness you ask ?

Well – Hus revealed via social media: “ I messaged Pa Salieu and told him not to watch what people are saying, to keep pushing and be a millitarian. He replied… “Bro, I was born a millitarian” … My Brother.

With this stamp of approval and adding icing to the already well baked start to the year with strong yet few singles behind him – I predict a strong end of 2020 for Pa Salieu

3. Teezandos

With the rise of the female MC becoming more on trend in the last year – Teezandos is a strong hopeful to take full advantage of the industry momentum.

First noticed by many when a freestyle snippet was released via her Instagram flexing her MC muscles picking the pockets of the beat in the background, describing the realities of street life.

Teezandos is currently signed to South London rapper Corleone’s GB records she has gone on to release the freestyle “ need focus” which was followed by a performance on Youtube channel “Who’s Got Bars” Produced By Walkz.

Teezandos carries herself with a raw confidence, which allows you to not zone out when listening to her, taking in every word despite her youthful appearance.

She has since gone on to release “Slender” which has dark sinister twist bound to have the listeners talking. I predict we will be seeing a lot more from her this year.

4. Br3yna

Hailing from West London, Hammersmith born br3yna has sexily slid through onto the scene with her 2018 release “Good Food” produced by P Montana and CBiggz.

She would continue with a bold move for an upcoming artists – uploading her notable “Double Dutch” to her own youtube channel which picked up the approval of social media influencer “stevo the mad man” and helped secure her as a supporting act on Headie Ones successful ‘music x road’ UK tour, Mo Stacks “Stacko” UK tour as well as billed for Stormzy’s 1st outing of Merky Festival 2019 in Ibiza. Not to mention her own headline show to tick off of the bucket list.

Now featuring on the Smash remix of Darkoo’s – Gangster alongside Ms banks where she has stolen the show with her shining verse “ Chilling on a Sunday, met him on a Monday, ended up taking more shots than Kant’e…” being one of my favourite quotable, with her sensual yet playful personality and clear lyrical ability, we predict that festival season over the next 2-3 years will see her on stages across the country with 2020 being a big year to kick it all off

5. Darkoo

Darkoo has had an amazing last quarter of 2019 probably only second to Rapman, in terms of recent success. A person able to both fit in with the ladies and the gents aesthetically, her sanguine personality resonates with her screen presence and is hard to ignore. Her footwork of success dating back to 2017 with “Rover “ Darkoo discovered her formula of blending melodic synths and catchy bars throughout.

Darkoo’s dominating moment of the last year came with the release of the unstoppable “Gangsta” .

The Initial release saw a feature with One Acen resulting in over 7 million views (and a confusing moment with Stefflon don releasing a social media snippet of her on a unreleased remix, resulting in a minor fued between the “hurting me” star and one Acen) – Darkoo went on to release an all female remix featuring Ms Banks and Br3yna (without Stef) as well as another remix featuring Tion Wayne, Afro Beats mega star Davido, and SL.

With an appearance at Capital Xtra’s homegrown concert over a month ago; I expect 2020 will see many more live appearances for Darkoo especially with her being able to call on other trailblazers of the scene for collaborations and remixes to hopefully create another fire single or two.

6. Ling Hussle

Ling without a doubt oozes style and harmony with her presence wherever she goes.

Inspired by the late great Nipsey Hussle for his motivational messages, independence, and creative flare – Ling had taken his last name with the hope of one day collaborating with him which she Solemnly sings on “Hussle 2 Hussle” from her latest EP Hussle x Dream.

This body of work feels relaxed and soulful with mid tone harmonising telling stories of love betrayal, dreaming for success, pain, and high hopes.

Being Ling’s second body of work to date (first EP released February 2018 entitled “22”) she has gone from strength to strength making herself more of a felt presence in a market that does not champion RnB, and Soul artists.

Much like Nipsey, Ling is championing her independent movement and proudly not taking no for an answer – When attempting to organise her own headline show, she was refused by some venues not realising her potential. She then went on to hire her own promoter put up her own money to cover all costs and actually SELL OUT the venue (which we can candidly say we attended and very much enjoyed) – supported by appearances from Shauna Shaddae and Tion Wayne.

Another stand out moment for Ling was her subtle yet bridging appearance on Krept and Konan’s “Tell me” also featuring D Block Europe singing the words:

“Flexing on ‘em, yeah that’s what I do, diamonds on my chain to fit the mood, a thousand on some shoes is nothing new, shades on all the time they thing I’m rude.”

-truly helping the mood of the track.

What I love about Ling other than her smooth vibe; is her go-getter attitude, which I imagine Nipsey Hussle would have definitely co-signed.

7.  Northside Benji

Hailing from Brampton, Ontario Canada – Northside Benji has built a fan base through releasing hypnotic like singles that are easy to vibe to. The harmonizing rapper bears some resemblance in style to Nath Smallz as he famously raps about the ins and out of street life and living in some luxury which is synth heavy.

Nothside Benji exercises his UK connection by paying Radio Heavyweight Charlie Sloth a visit for Fire In The Booth twice, but it was notably his Second FITB that really picked up traction featuring a silent video appearance from North West rapper Nines standing beside him and giving his blessing.

Benji rides the first beat well with stand out lyrics you may almost miss because you are enjoying the rhyming pattern wave so much –

I just need some ice for the nights we broke the wrist, they cant do me wrong and all the rights is on my kids…don’t be scared to fall, you (a)ffraid of heights, so how you live ?”

 The use of autotune blending with simple bass heavy 100bpm esq beat is a blueprint we have seen work with D Block Europe over the last year so I predict with consistent releases in 2020 will see him heavily featured on other artists singles and strong anthems of his own.

8.  Poundz

The 22 years young rapper who signed with Tinie Tempah’s Disturbing London roster, has made a name initially from his relationship with uploads on the Pressplay Platform. Pounds respectively would release “The End”, and “Who’s Laughing” in 2018.

He raps with a voice of conviction adding authenticity to his image and energy, which you can’t resist shaking a leg too!

He continued in 2019 with the viral smash hit “Opp Thot”; helped by the dance he created and was shown teaching the public in 40 second clip via Instagram and snapchat that did the rounds.

The video vixen heavy video that followed for Opp Thot Remix has done numbers with over 7 million views to date solidifies his presence, which he has followed up with the recent Michael Jackson inspired “Smooth Criminal” where he can be seen paying homage moonwalking in the video dressed as MJ which is fun to see as most drill artists take themselves too seriously constantly spewing mundane music videos of flash cars, council estates and not much else.

A strong drill presence with energy – I predict Poundz will continue with more energetic releases which when amounting to a body of work will see a top 20 UK chart release.

9. Rimzee

The East London rapper is back bigger than before putting himself and Hackney on the map.

Hailing from the same hometown as Stefflon don, and fellow underground rapper Dutchavelli. Rimzee has recently come back to the music business picking up where he left off; 7 and half years ago following a prison sentence. With co-signs from fellow respected underground heavyweights Snap capone, and stardom, Rimzee is respected for his blunt delivery:

“Jam told me I should rap like them man … nah, them n***** rap like that because of me !”

Justified in saying so, when he entered the rap scene back in 2010 at a time when grime to pop crossover were the norm, Rimzee championed the raw street rap sound letting us know his ambitions to be a leader in his own right. More to the point Rimzee was known for being a trendsetter and producing more polished music videos utilising expensive props (car rentals) at a time where most rappers and Grime up and comers videos only consisted of poor camera resolution and in their best friend’s (dad’s) borrowed Volkswagen.

I predict that 2020 will be a progressive year for Rimzee if he continues with

a solid project – building on his recent releases such as “2 Do 1” , his rawness can not be ignored.

10. Johnny Gunz

We first saw John Wayne aka Johnny Gunz appear 10 years ago in gritty videos alongside upcoming rappers “Y troops” (what happened to him?) and shallow of rap due Ard Adz and sho shallow. Johnny was a regular feature on the circuit of street culture songs such as his freestyle – “ Straight Bodie” and “Fresh Home” both garnering respect and airplay to the generation of listeners from that era – many of which from south London will attest to blaring these anthems from their blackberry’s (remember those? ).

But John Wayne seemed to disappeared some 4 or so years ago, without a peep…

But on 17th January out of the blue an Instagram post popped up beginning with animated tweet notifications saying “where is Johnny Gunz” and “what’s Johnny doing right now?” fading into his famed freestyle with Sneakbo (currently still on Youtube) and a snippet of a drake interview (referencing that he listened to Johnny Gunz when he wanted to learn about UK rap) –fading into his new track release “Don’t Get Got”.

A good track (even if the notable “laa la la” adlibs are missing), Johnny is back to take on the drill scene he arguably helped to popularise.

With this I hope he is here to stay.

11. Jgrrey

Born Jennifer Clarke, Jgrrey has before said that she discovered her talent accidently when playfully singing with friends. The original South Londoner who moved to Edgware at age 6, use to write songs for fun which has served as a solid foundation for her career being that it was good practise to something she does with ease now. Jgrrey’s recognition came with her incredible COLORS Berlin session performance of “Don’t Fade” which to date has over 2 million Views and counting.

The Neo Soul talent has followed this up with the serene chilled track “Growing” which is hard not to kick back to and enjoy which she released a video for on her own Youtube Chanel.

What’s so beautiful about her voice other than the harmonious fluidity – is the fact that you can hear raw British twang with her pronunciation of some lyrics. Other than her other uploads such as stand out track “Ready to Die” Partially filmed in East End café ‘Pelliccis’ (famed for being the the favourite eatery of Notorious Gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray) we recommend you check out her EP ‘Grreydaze’ released last year.

I predict that this will be a good year for the soul songstress with more live performances which she is so use to as she toured and opened up for the superstar Billie Eilish.

12. M24

The Brixton hill artist was consistently releasing drill songs last year and doing shows with no sign of slowing up. With songs like “Luke Cage” on constant rotation and gaining over 3 million views; M24 has become a name many comment and proclaim to be in the top 10 best drill artists in the UK currently.

Last summer we saw the release of “Verbal” which captivated the drill market; produced by SJ Beats the simple but effective production of the 4 chord looming piano beat backed by deep bass is driven by M24 keeping simple rhyming pattern allowing him to perform as he’s known for.

The popular outing “Riding” which the rapper recently was interviewed on Capital Xtra explaining his lyrics to Classical music expert “Classical Kyle” which serves as great entertainment and juxtaposition shows he is willing to give a go at the mainstream market which he hope he finds easier as time progresses.

With a new track “London” featuring Tion Wayne, M24 seems to be cooking with the formula for success which I can see being on the horizon for 2020 if he keeps it up!

13. M1llionz

Its hard not to get captivated by the hypnotic fluid flow of M1llionz when he raps regardless of what he’s saying on each track. Laid back yet slick, his punch-lines surprise like a peekaboo right hook as he does on “North West”:

“…Usain wouldn’t be happy… see man in their vids that aint done a thing and their wearing bally’s, that don’t make sense: like Jamaican grannies…”

The North West Birmingham artist has been making noise with this song putting on for his part of town, which he followed up with “HDC” in January of this year replicating the same formula. M1llionz has big plans in the music industry – when asked in an interview (with Tapped magazine) which artists he would like to collaborate with in future he sighted names such as Ed Sheeran because of his flow, Roddy Rich and Vybz Kartel.

With a Kenny Allstar Voice of The Streets Freestyle picking up traction, M1llionz is heading in the right direction in a sea saturated of drill artists, I favour him because his style of delivery is unmistakable meaning he will not be overlooked.

I predict by the end of the year he will firmly have his foot in the door of the industry and be on the way to those dream features aforementioned.

14. Joy Crookes

The 20 years young soulful spirit that is Joy Crookes has been tipped by many including MTV this year to have a great year and it is not hard to see why.

If you close your eyes, its hard to believe that an ardent old soul voice protrudes from the lips of what you see in front of you.

Her soft yet husky vocals compliment the gentle guitars on renditions such as “Don’t Let Me Down” where she performs with six arms moving in sync behind hers like the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi – simple concept but powerful all the same much like Joy.

Joy has built a fan base with 87k subscribers to her Youtube channel, and deservedly with superb renditions like her version of Kendrick Lamar’s “Element, / Yah” (highly recommended!) But speaking of recognition – has it been mentioned that her COLORS Berlin session is where she has picked up a lot of traction with her performance of “May I Sleep With Danger” which has at over 8 Million views.

To add to her list of accomplishments – Joy has also established her own cooking series via her youtube channel called “Cooking with Crooksie” where she introduces herself as the brown Nigella Lawson. 2020 has to be her year with all this talent!

15. Bandokay & Double Lz

In a saturated market of drill artists – The Tottenham duo have made their voices clear and heard with much to prove. As members of the younger “OFB” music collective (which includes star player Headie One) they heavily represent and command a loyal fan base which has quickly and steadily seen views from tracks as individuals or when performing in a collective soar with ease; 6.5 million views on Mixtape Madness Next up Series, 1.5 Million views on their Fire in the booth Episode, and on their official youtube channel for “YO” Bandokay has gained over 4 Million views all in the space of under 7 days!

Harsh with lyricism, yet full of passion these young rises have taken a stance in creating a legitimate career that has seen older leaders propel to respect and wealth such as aforementioned Headie One and Abra Kadabra – with the right moulding and direction I can smell a record deal coming their way this 2020 leading to domination and more touring (having already performed at Stormzy’s Merky Fest and supporting Headie One’s recent outings).

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