With 2019 around the corner, it's time to look forward and pay attention to some of the fresh names that are about to make a mark in the music industry. As a result, the team behind Blanguage has curated a list of artists we are paying attention to in the next 12 months. Ranging from a Soulful R&B singer repping South London to a former battle-rapper hailing from Baltimore, we've gone to lengths to make sure that this list has got you covered. We present to you our very first Ones To Watch 2019. Words by Cole Dennis.
1. TIANA MAJOR9
Some of us caught ear of the name ‘Tiana Major’ through Hackney lyricist SNE’s tribute to her over a Tweet sample. Many others have been following Tiana Major9’s career develop over the years as the East London songstress was already cooking up some fire for us all to melt over. Tiana Major9 has delivered 3 standalone singles over a one-year-span that show a promising and fruitful future ahead. Tiana’s 2018 release ‘Mr. Mysterious’ is a mature, sophisticated take on a R&B/Jazz fusion that leaves little to the imagination about what this future star is capable of.
2. CHE LINGO
Lyrical connoisseur, Che Lingo, is a rapper whose name has been on everyone’s lips this year and is growing a mass of fans across the country. Following on from his hit ‘Same Energy’ and EP release ‘Charisma’, Che has released noteworthy songs, alongside aesthetically pleasing visuals from ‘Circles’ to the Mike Jenkins collab ‘No Sidekicks’. With his ‘Sensitive’ EP dropping soon, featuring production from Kendrick Lamar collaborator Like, Che's got plenty in the works for the world to see.
3. KADEEM TYRELL
For those of us who developed our taste for future sounds from Soundcloud, you would know the name Kadeem Tyrell. This South London artist first appeared experimenting with sounds deriving from garage but quickly found his direction through R&B; and we are loving it. The contrasting difference between his 2016 collaboration EP with RYN ‘Fooled’ and his 2018 Future-R&B release ‘Feels’ show how much an artist can develop when they eat, sleep and live in the studio. 2019 is the year that the Kadeem Tyrell effect will reach us all.
4. SHAÈ UNIVERSE
2018 has been a fantastic year for the soulful r&b singer, Shaè. From appearing alongside Kojey Radical on his ‘Can I Speak’ tour, to racking up over 40k views for her ‘Melanin’ visuals, the growth is evident from when we interviewed Shaè on our podcast last year. An exciting talent with plenty of surprises up her sleeve, 2019 is looking bright for this sultry songstress…
5. BUTCH DAWSON
Butch! A buzzed name in his native Baltimore, Butch Dawson has been making waves this year that have placed him on the ladder to the big leagues. Growing up, Butch was influenced by the likes of N.E.R.D. and Kelis which is evident in some of his music from his 2018 release ‘Swamp Boy’; notably ‘Distances’ and ‘Division St. Blues’. This year has also seen Butch walk and perform for the Telfar Global SS2019 show. A standout track from his discography is ‘Feel Nobody’ which is hauntingly perfect; whilst an honorary mention goes out to his 2017 single ‘Set It Off’. If you haven’t already explored his music, we advise you do it now.
6. TIERRA WHACK
Tierra Whacks presence has stomped into the music scene with an unmatched style and flare giving us endless creativity and innovation. Her grammy nominated debut audio-visual album WhackWorld, serves as a series of one minute glimpses into her self proclaimed whacky mind and trust us, it’s a trip you wanna take. The scope of imagination in this audiovisual album is reminiscent of the feeling of reading your first fantasy novel as a child and its invigorating. Her original flow and witty bars have already gained her several nods from peers such as Meek Mill and Janelle Monae alike, showing her versatility and range as an artist. Excitement doesn't even begin to explain how we feel about what’s next for Tierra Whack.
Another addition to this list hailing from South London, Kadiata has had a steady workflow that has seen him raise his profile in 2018. Since the release of his EP ‘Don’t Tell Me Plz’ in 2017, the Angolan-born artist has developed his sound and set himself apart from the current cohort of UK Hip-Hop artists. His collaboration with Sam Wise, ‘When The Sun Comes Out’, has notes of Mr. Hudson’s signature sound mixed with a modern twist. You can definitely buss a cute two-step and a jiggy to this one. The future for Kadiata is bright and we’re looking forward to seeing what he achieves in 2019.
A popping artist hailing from North-West London, Knucks is a producer/rapper who has had an notable run so far. His popularity has grown over the years due to his unique ability to blend UK rap with a more US style of jazzy/soulful feel. His strong lyrical ability is ever present as well as being responsible for the majority of the beats he raps over he manages to truly bring a unique sound to the forefront.
South London stand up! Flohio, the 25 year old MC originally from Bermondsey has taken the UK scene by the reigns. After debuting in 2016 with her Nowhere Near EP - fast forward to December 2018 and she is supporting YG at his headline concert in London. Her snappy punchlines and battle rap demeanour keeps us at the edge of our seats wanting more and more. Let’s all bow our heads to UK royalty and let the lady speak.
Wavy UK hip-hop duo, 808ink, are dominating the UK scene with their bass-filled songs and super suave flow. The group, which consists of South East Londoners, rapper Mumblez and producer 808Charmer, have had a stellar year, having freshly signed a record deal with Island Records. After recently releasing their new album, ‘When I’m About, You’ll Know Pt. 2”, which received an abundance of positive reviews, 808ink took to the stage in November for their UK tour, travelling from Bristol to Brighton. This brilliant pair are heading for greatness…
11. CHANNEL TRES
From Compton to Lynwood, Channel Tres swapped EDM for a Detroit house music influence and some deep vocals. His minimal style separates him from the competition and keeps him one step ahead of the race - not that he’s in one. After signing to GODMODE and releasing his latest project ‘Controller’, which has been well received across the globe, who knows where it’s going to stop for the young Compton artist.
Good music still exists. We know this because of the ethereal, yet jazzy, hip-hop they delivered on their 2018 project ‘Butter’. The South London trio explore themes in their music ranging from relationships, standing out amongst their peers, growing up in South London and many more themes that are refreshing to hear in this climate. Following in the musical footsteps of Slum Village, Diggable Planets and Jazz Liberatorz, we are excited to see what 2019 has in store for them.
JJ, formerly known as Jesse James Solomon, is a talent bubbling over in South East London. JJ is in-tune and, to be quite frank, a future super power. Particularly noting his recent record ‘Strata’ as his coming of age, truth telling, account of life in the gritty city. As a UK Rapper, JJ has a bright future ahead in the rap scene with probably more sparkling collaborations and features. If you, the listener, wants to experience a little bit of the south east then find your streaming service and punch into JJ.
An eclectic r&b singer/songwriter, based in LA, and originally hailing from London, Taliwhoah is making some serious transatlantic waves. After releasing her EP ‘New Wave Order’ in 2017, Taliwhoah has followed through this year with some great songs such as ‘Soul Food’, which featured Arin Ray, to her most recent singles, ‘Run Along’ and ‘Love Cycle’. With an album on its way, we can expect to see power moves from Taliwhoah in 2019.
15. HOUSE OF PHARAOHS
House of Pharaohs are really the collective of the moment. They’re making moves in the scene with their energetic performances and alternative London sound. House of Pharoahs are proving that staying true to your art can pay off after recently signing a record deal. Unlike many rap artists out at the moment the House of Pharaohs provide a different experience to the listener. It is refreshing to see young, black homegrown talent that’s not rapping about dipping “opps” or “Pagans” but, instead, providing the scene pure energy.
Hailing from Paris’ 19th Arrondissement, MHD is already a recognisable name in his home country and mainland Europe. But his stamp on the French hip-hop and unique Afro-trap is what landed him on this list. His Afro Trap series was made for a homegrown audience but saw his name being whispered amongst niche audiences in the UK and US. However we believe that with his latest project ’19’, we are about to see a new face on the global Hip-Hop & Afrobeats scenes respectively. If you haven’t heard him already, we recommend giving ‘Afro Trap Pt. 10 (feat. Moula Gang) a spin.
Another Philadelphia-native (alongside Tierra Whack), Chynna caught our attention doing our regular rounds on Soundcloud. Chynna’s 2018 singles ‘Asia Black Market’ and ‘Leo Season’ hone some of the best flows we’ve heard this year. Hauntingly riding the beat like a pro, Chynna’s music covers themes in her music from depression, trust and authenticity. However, the way in which she delivers her verses, you could easily miss the secret gems she drops in her music. It is her effortless flow, star quality and rising profile that has landed Chynna on this list. Listen up… Chynna has a lot to say!
18. CHE ECRU
After the Boston native stepped onto the scene via Selection Radio’s front man Joe Kay playing some of his recent cuts, Che Ecru has been hard to un-hear! The 21 year old producer, singer, writer & more captures his listeners with a future bounce/R&B sound that lingers. Che Ecru has gone from strength to strength with releases such as ‘2AM’, ‘Before I Die’ & ‘Good’. There’s going to be much more Che before we die. Lock in now and warm your ears up for more future sounds.
Jevon is an extremely talented and diverse UK artist that raps, sings and produces. Jevon stands out as he manages to combine of over-your-head lyricism with a powerful singing voice as well as varied production. With all his diverse talents he has all the potential to be a future star within the scene.
Jevon is definitely building his own unique sound even though its relatively early in his journey. He has the potential to dominate as a UK rapper as he has already proven he can make dope solo tracks as well as compete with other up and coming UK artists.
20. RAGZ ORIGINALE
Ragz Originale is a London native who we would definitely call a visionary. He has already created a buzz around his name for being a hot producer, responsible for ‘Shutdown’ and obtaining production credits for Solange’s ‘A Seat At The Table’. Ragz dropped his long-awaited EP, ‘Nature’, towards the end of the year, which we’re sure now has people on their toes wondering what he has up his sleeve for 2019. Only good things, we predict…
What do you think of the selection? Who's on your Ones To Watch list for 2019? Sound out below!