30 Artists to Watch in 2016

Cousin Stizz

cousin stizz

Just like Dave B, Cousin Stizz, A.K.A. “Stizzy” landed on our Top Albums of 2015 list with their debut project. Stizz earned his way onto that list with a stoic yet smooth project of songs, that endow how Cousin Stizz too has a style of his own. His confident, slow approach to rhyming works perfectly for him and most importantly, Suffolk County is slathered with crispy beats that fit Stizz’s style. It’s not only me that feels this way, he’s amassed millions of listens in total on Soundcloud and other platforms. “Fresh Prince” was also included in a viral video in 2015, which led to the song going somewhat viral with a mass of people loading the comments asking “What’s the song?”. – Trixx



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Masego

masego

Masego raps, he sings, he plays saxophone and there’s probably other instruments he plays that I’m just not knowledgable enough to know. The point of the former sentence is that this Virginia kid is very talented. His closest thing to a formal project was his EP with producer Medasin titled Pink Polo EP but to those who don’t keep their ear to Soundcloud, they don’t know about Masego. Those “They’s”, are just unaware, they aren’t trying to keep him from eating breakfast like the “They’s” in DJ Khaled‘s Snapchats. But word is getting around. Masego recently appeared on GoldLink‘s new album And After That, We Didn’t Talk and 2016 is only set to be bigger than last year. – Trixx



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SABA

saba dope

I don’t have direct statistics or numbers to support me here but ever since his collaboration with Chance The Rapper in October on “Angels”, SABA‘s popularity has taken a big jump. He only did the hook on the song but it was an introduction to the more mainstream audience as to who Chicago’s SABA is. As of now, ComfortZone is his only project but he’s ready to add to his discography in 2016 and that’s reason to pay attention. – Trixx



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IshDARR

ishdarr

The whole midwest is kind of a hotbed of up and coming hip hop at the moment. Chicago, Milwaukee and the Twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have all been pumping out a lot of talented hip hop folk and next up is Milwaukee’s IshDARR. His 2015 project Old Soul, Young Spirit put him on a lot of people’s radars. It showcases IshDARR‘s rapping prowess over some pretty exquisite, jazzy production. And for the skeptical A&Rs, “Too Bad” is proof that IshDARR has hitmaking power and he followed that up this year with another absolute banger titled “Sugar” that he crafted with producer Medasin. Ish is on pace for a big 2016 with more music in the stove and a lot of anxious ears awaiting what’s next. – Trixx



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Kodak Black

kodak black

Kodak Black was blessed with an incidental Drake cosign in 2015 that allowed his regional tunes to hit the rest of the country. Led by his singles ‘SKRT’, ‘No Flockin’, & ‘Skrilla’, Kodak has hits to stand on and help expand his brand and become a new player in the crowded music scene. Kodak’s original sound allows him to be a few steps ahead of people in his lane that have buzzing tracks that are crying for a radio budget. Already responding to the demand for new music by dropping his Institution mixtape on Christmas Day, Kodak is giving fans what they want and that will allow him to secure a fanbase and expand outside of Florida. – malbin


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Goodbye Tomorrow

Goodbye Tomorrow A Journey Through the Mind of a Non Believer

Look Goodbye Tomorrow up on Google, Bing or Ask Jeeves (HA), and you wont get a biography or info on the group, you’ll be hindered with the word ‘mysterious’ and that’s part of the group’s makeup. The Chicago based group lets the music speak for itself and man, does it speak loudly and proficiently. The group’s currently signed to Rostrum Records, the independent label famous for being the home to Mac Miller for awhile and already they dropped their debut project A Journey Through the Mind of a Non Believer. They proved themselves by having a big year last year but their mysterious aesthetic hasn’t worn off and it’s keeping people on their toes for answers and more music. And actually, they’re not the only artist on this list keeping their identity hidden… – Trixx



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Appleby

appleby

“I hide my face. I release good music. Kidnapped my mother’s maiden identity.” That’s what you’ll find about Appleby on the internet outside of his music, but the music is the most important part about Appleby. The Chicago based R&B artist doesn’t need to hide behind aesthetics and cosigns when he can just put his music forward and let that shine. He only has eight solo songs out along with a handful of features in the Chicago scene, but he has a massive buzz around him led by the singles below. The music is hazy and dark while at the same time maintaining the ability to reach a wide audience with interesting songwriting direction about the normal topics covered in music. While his identity is being hidden, 2016 should allow Appleby‘s music to unravel into the hands of people who need to hear his music. – malbin



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SiR

SiR

SiR has been in the music game for a few years now, including doing work with Jill Scott, Melanie Fiona, LeToya Luckett, Robert Glasper, Anita Baker, & others behind the scenes. 2015 was SiR’s breakout year as a true solo artist, as he teamed up with Portland label Fresh Selects to release his debut album Seven Sundays. Consisting of 14 tracks that include older demos and freshly recorded tracks, it showcases SiR at his best with authentic, passionate tunes that are well produced. Those three factors are means for a successful career in music, without adding in SiR’s excellent songwriting ability. With all the pieces coming together in 2015, 2016 should allow the LA based artist to become a permanent fixture in R&B. – malbin



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RJ

RJ

RJ, a member of YG‘s Pu$haz Ink label, has taken up a role as DJ Mustard‘s newest protege in the Los Angeles area. While the rap-singing movement has become the rage across Toronto, RJ has managed to incorporate both facets into his music very smoothly. His mixtape O.M.M.I.O 2 dropped early in the year, and featured contributions from numerous fellow California artists, and numerous Mustard beats. “Get Rich”, featuring Choice and Iamsu!, one of the best songs off the mixtape, is also blowing up in and around the LA area. With a little more push, RJ could be the next rap-signer to blow up into the mainstream. – Mitcch



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Larry June

larry june

Larry June‘s ‘Glock 40’ is an absolute heat rock and that track helped him expand out from the Bay Area in 2015. Five projects, ranging from full length mixtapes and short EPs, were released in 2015 from Larry, all packed with catchy tracks that showed organic growth in Larry’s fanbase. He’s very blunt with his words and sometimes it appears as if he’s joking with the stuff he’s saying, he never lets his guard down. His production is always high quality and always has an edge to it which allows Larry to be Larry. With The Gloriam Group (OG Maco, OG Parker, Swag Hollywood) behind him with an approach that is focused more about a lifestyle then music, Larry just needs to stay consistent and he’ll be skipping steps to the top. Be sure to check Larry’s new mixtape Sock It To Me, produced by Sledgren, which dropped on the second day of 2016. – malbin



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