Let’s face it – 2021’s going to be every bit as much of a minefield as 2020. At least, though, there’s a fresh crop of amazing new talent set to create music to help us get through it. Our ‘Ones To Watch’ list comprises 6 artists that we discovered over the course of the last year, and whom we’re looking forward to hearing more from in the coming year. That’s it.
Get introduced below – or don’t – we’re going to be shouting about them so loud either way you’ll hear them sooner or later.
Our first introduction to Enny was May 2020’s ‘He’s Not Into You,’ and we’ve been obsessed ever since. Six months later came ‘Peng Black Girls‘ featuring Amia Brave, which attracted the attention of Jorja Smith, who hopped on a remix. Her laid-back but dextrous rhymes have got us completely hooked.
Pa Salieu’s debut LP ‘Send Them To Coventry‘ made the number four spot on our Top 10 Albums of 2020 thanks to his unique sound that pays as much homage to his Gambian heritage as it does his upbringing in Coventry. “We didn’t choose the cards we were given… so we pick our own cards and stay defiant,” he says, reflecting on the past year. “I know this ain’t been the best of years for everyone but the amount of education you should get out of this year… I’m telling you will define who you are.. if you took nothing out of it I dunno whaam fi you!! 2021 let’s go.” Hear hear.
If you’ve not come across IVD in 2020 – where have you been!? Her incendiary Daily Duppy back in October followed a prolific run of form in singles ‘Rumours,’ ‘Body Bag’ and ‘Bezerk,’ after which came her latest track ‘Clout.’ Style, charisma, and bars for days – Ivorian Doll seems to have the lot.
Regrettably, KwolleM’s 2017 EP ‘Mellow’ flew under our radar, but he caught our attention this year with the sublime ‘C2C‘ EP. A conceptual project that follows the coast-to-coast (C2C) train route from Essex to East London, its brand of ‘Mellow Grime’ is something we NEED more of in 2020.
Shaybo’s ‘Dobale‘ has soundtracked our Q4. The self-professed ‘Queen of the South’ delivers bars in both English and Yoruba, and exudes an empowered confidence at every turn. She’s yet to deliver a full length project, and we’ve got everything crossed that we get one in 2021.
Enigmatic, bally-clad MC SL’s work rate in 2020 has been quite incredible; a stream of singles including ‘Hit The Block’ ft. Pa Salieu, a collaborative EP with Kenny Beats, and a 10 track mixtape entitled ‘Different Dude.’ Now with a label deal coming through Universal, ‘Mic Cheque Ltd,’ it looks like he’s well-placed to continue to deliver this year.
Berwyn Du Bois released his debut mixtape ‘DEMO TAPE / VEGA’ this year, showcasing his ability to merge intelligent lyricism with an emotive yet filmic narrative, defying genre as he goes, Following the mixtape, Berwyn finished off the year with the quietly superb ‘VINYL,’ a hint at things to come.