DOPE SAINT JUDE

Described by industry insiders as the South African M.I.A, Saint Jude is flying the flag for female rappers in her country. The scatty, unpredictable production of tunes like ‘Grrrl Like’ is an instant vibe, and hones her Cape Town swagger perfectly. After two EPs last year, we can only hope that there is more to come this annum; she would also slip so naturally onto a Major Lazer hit. Diplo, what are you waiting for?

LISTEN: Liddy



BLUEROOMMAFIA

Much like the cultural diversity Birmingham offers, its music is rich in variety. The midlands scene has given us some true originals, whether that is the urban poetry of Mike Skinner, the luscious voice of Jorja Smith, or the self-indulgent bars of Jaykae, there is an artist for everyone in brummy. Next to take the step up, are the Blue Room Mafia, who’s abrasive blends of drill, HipHop and trap has been making waves for a good few years now. Their 2017 EP ‘Blue inc’ mixes Lauren Ralph’s borderline psychedelic production, see ‘Bad B’, with the effortless flows of Kojay, Qam, Pshay, Ninioh and H1. They embody everything that is so admirable about UK music at the moment, meaning they could be set for a big year.

LISTEN: Tokyo



KOJAQUE

Ireland is the place to be a musician right now, the artistic bounce back from their 20th century recession has instigated the creation of some incredible new punk and grime. ‘KOJAQUE’ however, could easily follow in the footsteps of rappers in the calibre of Rejjie Snow, if he carries on making the lofi sensual hits that ‘Deli Daydreams’ was packed with. Unlike other artists, (real name) Kevin Smith prides himself in his experimental stance, switching between synth and acoustic sounds in a beatiful manor. He’s off to SXSW later this year; an absolute breeding ground for new talent, so get in on Ireland’s next biggest act before he blows. 

LISTEN: Last Pint


M.I.C

‘Master of Inane Convention’ said in an interview with NME that he wanted to be the ‘Kate Bush of grime’; he has a long way to go, but his ambition is sure to take him somewhere. His 2018 release ‘Heaven is Black’ relished in attempting to modernise trap, addressing race and sexuality in a positive way. 'Afropunk Atlanta' is definitely a stand out cut of his, harnessing a blistering beat to his deep flow.

LISTEN: Virgil


ORACLE SISTERS

With the likes of Mac Demarco, Pond and Tame Impala creating a strong scene of psychedelia, it is only natural that new acts will start to disperse into the mainstream. This duo provided some of 2018s most laidback cuts; I never thought I could enjoy the duet of an ex-Mathematician and Painter, but the quivering vocals and twangy riffs are too much to handle.



TARIQ DISU

With his debut LP coming out later this month, the enigmatic Londoner has developed his raw, psychedelic hip hop completely on his own accord. Tunes like ‘M.G.H.O.T’ have a distinctive tone of 90s Tricky; the Bristol scene influence injecting that extra dynamic to Disu’s music that differentiates him from his peers. With vocals not too dissimilar to Ghost Poet, but more industrial, restless beats than the fellow Londoner, his music matches the tones of artists like ‘Gaika’, but more distinctively urban.

LISTEN: VEGETA



P-RALLEL

A frequent collaborator of Finn Foxell, P-rallel’s house infused hip hop tampers with spacey electronic loops and soothing rap. He lays in the middle of a spectrum with Disclosure at one end and JD. Reid at the other; the sheer variation in immaculate beats this producer conjures up is phenomenal. He’s making a name for himself with his Parallel Theory show on NTS too, proving his ability as a DJ is as admirable as his beat making; this is someone you should definitely keep an eye on in 2019.

LISTEN: SAY NOW


PULLEN

This producer had a very successful 2018, guesting on a whole host of tunes in the underground rap scene, whilst releasing some well received mixes on NTS radio. His ability to nurture elements of old school hip hop and weave it into his modernised rap makes him frighteningly versatile. On his Harlem Spartans rework, he sees himself embedding the drill group in an illustrious list of instrumentation, completely flipping their sound on its head. Hopefully he will have the chance to work with some fairly prestigious names in the game next year, in an attempt to broaden his sound even further and rival some of the most established of producers.

LISTEN: Banter on me flip


JADU HEART

A meld of everything from deep house, to R&B and avant gard hiphop, Jadu Heart have found a unique voice within a highly saturated electronic scene. The enigma surrounding their masks and music makes them all the more fascinating, as well as the appraisal from big names like Mura Masa. They could be set for a big year if they continue the high standards of singles like ‘U Never Call Me’ and ‘I’m A Kid’, both funky synth pop belters in their own right.

LISTEN: I'm a kid


LOU PHELPS

Brother of Kaytranada, do I really need to say anymore to entice you?, the Canadian vocalist killed 2018 with his single releases. Obvious parallels could be made with him and artists like Goldlink and bLaCk PaRtY, but he offers a groovier sound - one that would slip straight into the 80s. If a pair of Farah flares was a song, it would be his Kaytranada edited ‘Come Inside’, which prides itself in the deep, funky house vibes it produces. Vibrant tones and scintillating rhymes simply sum up Phelps and his tunes, have a listen below.

LISTEN: SQUEEZE