2018 was a breakthrough year for some new and emerging voices within the music scene. Their years of efforts paid off, with their songs becoming staples for music fans, DJs and radio stations. The explosion of their songs happened online – on social media, before crossing over to the traditional media outlets.
With fans clamouring for their songs, event organisers recruiting them for shows and radio outlet using their music as both currency – for ratings and accentuate their “hipness”, these artists saw their long held dreams unravelling in real time.
As the year closes and a new dawn emerging, the candle light of hope and dreams of some of these artists continue to burn, even brighter. The taste of success, even if little, offers what potentially lies ahead for them if they are to keep focus and not lose their head off the back of this earlier success.
After keeping our noses to the grindstone of music throughout the year, and having watched the progress of some artists within 2018, we present a list of artist with an uncanny potential of seizing the goodwill that 2018 brought them and how they could fan it into 2019.
“Child Abuse” and “Proud Fuck Boys”. These two records changed the musical life, literally speaking, of Tulenkey. The young rapper’s dexterity and confidence, plus his ability to whip up interesting and exciting musical content makes him a top prospect for 2019. For those who took time to listen to his EP, 1/1- which ranked on our best EPs/Albums of 2018 List- would appreciate his talent as a rapper.
The instant goodwill he has cultivated off the back of his two crashing singles, the features and a name on some of the biggest musical events in the city this December, Tuley has all the qualities to push his career to the next level of visibility ,respectability and of course, success. His work is cut out for him.
RJZ had to take the unorthodox, yet efficient route to get noticed. Sometimes, that is necessary when you are in a group where one or two are considered the face of the group. The LaMeme Gang boy is a complete artist – songwriter, graphics designer, fashionista and producer. The tall and lanky, perioxide hair singer baited us with his controversial stunt – getting smoked for cheating, a ploy for attention towards his new single aptly titled ”Not Yours”.
RJZ doesn’t possess the best vocals but he uses them to good effect. Aside his own singles, his contributions to records has always brought out his importance on songs. Across the LaMeme tapes, he spread his warmth tone over some of their songs. On R2Bees’ “Boys Kasa”, RJZ’s delivery is one of the top tier performances. He is like the butter or the jam you spread on your bread to make it extra tasty. His laid back composure doesn’t make him such a vibrant figure and that trait simmers on his songs. In 2019, RJZ would blossom into his own self; and take his seat among the new crop of alte acts ready to impress with their talents.
The years when talents such as Yung Pabi’s were celebrated has become a memory. However, the glitz of his talent does overwhelm every eyes or ears that have seen him live on stage. From his stagecraft – always a thrilling watch – to his lyricism, Yung Pabi keeps proving why he’s worth a mention among the list of young acts that deserve attention.
It must be stated, emphatically that, legendary rapper, producer, M3NSA doesn’t work with just any artist. For him to not only produce but feature on Yung Pabi’s didactic hip hop tune, “BushMan” is an attestation to the talents of Pabi. To validate this point, I urge you to listen to “Who You Know”, “Wanui”, “Working” or watch any of his live performances.
When “Passionfruit Summers”, the sonically fluid, soulfully hip EP from Amaarae dropped in 2017, critics and fans alike agreed it was one of the best tapes released that year. Possessing a voice that’s distinctly falsetto, a very excellent songwriting skills, a musical malleability and a fashion sense that combines hipster traits with contemporary urban looks, Amaarae is everything diva-ish.
If 2017/18 was for building a growing fanbase – performing in small settings, hosting a concert, featuring on songs with Stonebwoy (Pepper Dem) and SDI (with M3NSA), Amaarae is being tipped by us to branch out into the limelight: enchant listeners with her music and fashion style and also, show off her mesmerising depth of talents. We can’t wait.
Temple (Pata Camp)
If you don’t know who Temple (of Pata Camp) is, then you should, first, check out “Everything Is Pata”, his Lyrical Wars Cypher videos, “Chuck Norris”. Temple’s rapping abilities hasn’t been in doubt. Respected by his peers within the hip-hop space, he, along with Yaw P produced “Acropolis”, a nine track album that showcases the depth of their musical influences.
The two produced an award winning documentary inspired by their album. In 2019, I expect Temple to be more visible and be counted among the best rap talents we do have. His mentality as a battle rapper and ear for music could prove potent attributes in this regard. And Temple, if you’re reading this, take 2019 by its balls.
“Chapter Red” ranks as one of the best EP’s released in 2018. It was a short, soothing and satisfying listen. On both the music charts – Apple Music – and in many people’s books – mostly online fans- Maayaa put out an amazing body of work. However, the question still remains if she could push a bit further into 2019 towards establishing herself as one of the new voices within the music space.
Maayaa is a curious case: her musical destiny is in her own hands. That is, she has to decide how far she wants to push her limits. If she decides to push her music further towards mainstream, she’d be greeted with profound acceptance. And in 2019, we expect her to do just that. Her talent is too precious to be confined to the remit of her own circle.
“Mensah” was among the biggest records of 2018, and marked the dread-locked Kofi Mole’s break. Kofi Mole can rap, not doubt about it- features and GroundUp Chale freestyle sessions are evidence to this claim. Possessing an obvious presence on records, good lyrical skills and strong appreciation from fans who love rap, Kofi is better placed to capitalize on the wave his single stirred and 2019 looks like the year he’d do so.
Quamina Mp locked down 2018 with his massive hits “Ewiase” (Y3 D3). The afropop- rap tune, with its resonating lyrics about enjoying life before death knocks are its selling points. The highlife feel of the song hands it an irresistible groove and also, Kwesi Arthur’s verse adds to the lustre of the song. Unlike some of his colleagues who most often fail to follow up on their big hit, Quamina MP recruited Kwesi Arthur and Kofi Kinaata for “Party”, another feel good record which didn’t peak high like “Ewiase” did. That notwithstanding, Quamina has 2019 to lose.
This member of LaMeme Gang gave us “Digits”, “Dit Moi”, “Ikechukwu” among others. He also was prominent of the features front – individually or as part of LaMeme Gang. $pacely has presence, both off and on records. He brings a certain level of vigour to records. His deep voice aside, he can switch between rapping and dancehall styles with ease. For now, his fans are mostly online and it’s incumbent he captures the imagination of the many who aren’t online. With a talent like his, 2019 should be the year he breaks to the mainstream.
You’ll be forgiven if this name doesn’t ring a bell. This young lady has been taking her music seriously, building a following and releasing freestyles and singles. This month – December, she released her LP “Harvest Season”. Abena Rockstar’s rawness, grit and fearlessness makes her such a delight to listen. The rap space is a male dominated arena and it’s gratifying to see a young rapper like Abena Rockstar’s desire to hold a spot within that space. It may be tough, but her fearlessness would serve her good.
Here are some artists with the right talent to take over 2019.
Size The Truth: Last year was a good year for him. Videos, shows and music.
Nana Benyin: He returned to making music once again, releasing “Happy Place”, an album which we picked as one of our best for 2018. 2019 should be a good year for him.
Narah: This songbird courted attention with her cover of Daasebre Dwamena’s classic soulful ballad “Wo Da Enda”. She built on the attention by dropping “Lost”, a lovely ballad about a lost love. With news of an impending project in 2019, we think she’s about to be heard even louder.
Boyd: His performance on E.L’s “Dare To Dream” was outstanding. He dropped a short, albeit good six track EP titled “Blues of Us”. Small gains in 2018 could be carried into 2019.