Evan Dale // Mitch Dumler // Dec 29, 2019
As 2019 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, 2019 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.
From the Maryland-founded YBN crew, YBN Cordae has exploded into 2019 with a vibrant solo career. His debut album, The Lost Boy, has been one of the year’s most acclaimed rap projects. And his style of rap – lyrical, relatable, and high-energy – sets him apart not only from his young hip-hop compatriots, but equally from veterans in the game. And veterans have hopped on board. Chance the Rapper, Ty Dolla $ign, Pusha T, Arin Ray, and Meek Mill all make appearances on the album. And Anderson .Paak, whose own feature comes on the anthemic RNP, also released a video for the track this year. Quickly – in 2019 alone – YBN Cordae has established himself as one of the most talented rappers in all of hip-hop.
Read why YBN Cordae is our Best New Artist of 2019:
YBN Cordae's 2019:
Indiana by way of his Mexican roots, Omar Apollo’a wide-ranging foundation are indicative of his broad musical ability. There’s never really been a musician like the young star who frequently infuses Prince-reminiscent funk with bouts of Spanish lyricism, but in his wake, there are bound to be a wave of them. He is a living coalescence of culture and eras and has gone from being labelled an experimental bedroom pop up-and-comer to being an established, anthemic icon. On the heels of sophomore EP, Friends – which in and of itself covers pop, R&B, funk, hip-hop, and reggaeton-influenced experimentation – he’s poised to continue making fans across the musical spectrum.
Omar Apollo's 2019 by us:
Though there is no looking past the fact that Atlanta soulstress, Summer Walker’s start came in 2018, her blow-up came this year. Sophomore project, Over It saw her second Drake collaboration, sure. But it also saw features from Bryson Tiller, Usher, 6LACK, PARTYNEXTDOOR, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, and Jhené Aiko. With that many legends looking for a spot-on Walker’s album, there’s no doubt of her ability. And with tens of millions of streams pouring in on each and every track from Over It, Summer Walker is just getting started.
19-year-old modern reggae prodigy, Koffee has, over the course of the year, become one of the youngest, most explosive talents in all of music. With only one single releases predating 2019, she now boats a debut EP, Rapture, remixes from Mura Masa and Govana, collaborations with Chronixx and Gunna, and tens of millions of streams. And though she’s still working towards an eventual debut album, she’s done a remarkable job reintroducing reggae music to the younger generations through hip-hop and R&B collaborations, particularly a tour, a remix of Cyanide, and an accompanying video all with R&B overlord, Daniel Caesar.
Koffee's 2019 by us:
In 2019, Orlando-raised R&B producer, instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter, Devin Morrison brought us back to the 90’s. But, unlike most artists that draw inspiration from an era come-and-gone, Devin Morrison is fully invested in bringing it back true to form. His debut album, Bussin’ was one of the year’s most underrated projects, rivaling the vocal ability and raw instrumentation of any of his R&B compatriots. And even though his music is undeniably rooted in 90’s R&B, it’s crisp, modern, inventive, and experimental, yet simply further expansive of R&B in an era where the risk takers and boundary pushers are perhaps the most revered.
Our Thoughts on Devin Morrison's Debut Album: