Evan Dale // Mitch Dumler // Kellen Fredrickson // Eric Laufer // Dec 28, 2018 

As 2018 draws to a close, it's time to take a look at the new artists that made the biggest waves. A year of innovation and invention, 2018 was marked by a huge collection of emerging talent that changed the direction of music forever. As we move forward, keep an eye and an ear out for these artists as they hold the future of music in their hands and are sure to continue the explosive beginnings to their stories. 

As far as quick starts are concerned, no one did what Brooklyn's SAINt JHN was able to in 2018's calendar year. As 2017 came to a close, SAINt JHN left himself in a prime position to explode onto the scene And that's exactly what he's done. With the release of his debut album, Collection One, he ushered in a new age of high-energy, wide-ranging hip-hop guided by his own innovative hands. Following it up with his massive Not A Cult tour and a steady release of more heavily amplified singles, SAINt JHN became the spiritual leader of hip-hop's future. We've said it many times before and we'll keep saying it because it's true, the future of hip-hop music may very well lie in SAINt JHN's possession. And for those who love to turn up, that's good news. 

 Read why SAINt JHN is our Best New Artist of 2018: 

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 SAINt JHN's 2018 by us: 

Chicago's Tobi Lou made his way onto the scene with vibrant positivity, a fun-loving personality, and really good, enjoyable hip-hop. The young rapper and leader of the burgeoning positivist Bubble Rap movement released a smattering of short projects this year and pulled the world into his bubbly wake in the process. Between tobi lou and the Moon, tobi lou and the Loop, and tobi lou and the Juice, he was able to make a huge impact across hip-hop and music in general, scoring a hit collaboration with Smino and a number of successful music videos to boot. All in all, we're still waiting on that debut album, but looking forward, the happy-go-lucky rapper is primed to continue his rise and bring smiles to his listeners' faces.

 Tobi Lou's 2018 by us: 

Qveen Herby is shaping up to be one of the ultimate tales of reinvention of our time. The young artist with a knack for anthemic choruses, an incredible ability to drop bars at a pace rarely touched elsewhere in hip-hop, and a ferocity unparalleled by anyone else in music dropped a pair of EP's to equal up her 2017 total, and in doing so, absolutely exploded onto the mainstream. A powerful symbol of self-love and success, Queen Herby has developed her brand to encompass far more than just music. Celebrated for her music videos, her fashion, and her music alike, she's quickly turning into a dynamo whose music acts as the very soundtrack for her absurdly entertaining life. Be on the lookout for a proper album from her in the near future. 

Brooklyn's Cautious Clay has developed into a left-of-center experimentalist whose music drives positivity, love, and honesty into his quickly expanding fan base. With the releases of his debut EP, Blood Type which came to be eventually coupled with a remix edition, his sophomore EP, Resonance, a series of singles, acoustic cuts, and music videos, a guest spot with AlunaGeorge and a late collaboration with the revered Hudson Mohawke, 2018 was an obvious keystone year to his young career. Comparisons to Kid Cudi accompany Clay's every move and his dedicated audience is likewise coming to reflect that energy and cult status. One of the more diversely talented and one of the less definable artists in all of music, the future is insanely bright for Cautious Clay.

 Cautious Clay's 2018 by us: 

Though he's been making music for a couple years, the ever-talented Serious Klein really made a statement this year with the release of his appropriately-titled debut album, You Should've Known. The project - one of the more lyrical and artistically-inclined works of the year - became a favorite of hip-hop fans across the globe, and the sense of globalism that the Ghanaian-German brings in tow has had a huge impact on the international scene. There weren't many better, bolder projects to come out during the year, and that alone was enough to cement his place as one of the best new artists. Be on the lookout for much more to come from the young lyricist as global attention will lead to an explosion of releases and collaborations in the coming year.  

 Our Thoughts on Serious Klein's Debut Album: