In the fast-paced, cutthroat music industry, you could be here today and gone tomorrow. These days, it doesn't take much but one song to become an online sensation as rappers such as Bobby Shmurda are proof that a viral video can lead to a major label deal. Unfortunately, not all virtual movements stand the test of time and not all breakout stars have what it takes to make it to the top.
But in the everlasting pool of rising talent, there are a certain set who showcase incomparable vocal skills, a unique sound and the potential to stick around for years to come. Of course Kanye West, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar and Tinashe are artists both old and new who have set the bar high for the next wave of hip-hop and R&B hopefuls vying for a respected spot in the game.
Artists like Post Malone and D.R.A.M. are already building a buzz when it comes to rap and if Little Simz and Lady Leshurr have it their way, a new Queen of Hip-Hop will be crowned soon. And just when you thought your craving for old school soulful R&B couldn't be fulfilled, Ro James, Alessia Cara and Connie Constance are here to offer their unique soothing sounds.
While there are plenty of big names already proving themselves, we dug deep to bring you 25 New Artists You Need to Listen to Right Now. Check out the list below to stay on the pulse of the music that will keep your soul satisfied and your playlist fresh. Don't sleep on their greatness.
Alessia Cara is only 19 years old, but she possesses a mature, refined sound that suggests she's already explored the world and knows the ups and downs of womanhood. Think Amy Winehouse meets Adele with the stage presence of Jhene Aiko. The Canadian-bred singer debuted her touching lyrics and soulful vocals with the five-track EP Four Pink Walls, which features her anti-party anthem "Here." Now that her fans have that project to keep them satisfied, the Def Jam signee is preparing to release her debut album, Know It All, this fall.
When you first heard Dr. Dre's Compton album, like us, you were probably wondering who the unfamiliar yet soothing voice was on "Talk About It" and "Deep Water." The artist is a triple threat named Justus, a Dallas-bred singer, songwriter and rapper. The 21-year-old musician actually helped write a majority of Dre's album, which was crafted in the spirit of the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton. Aiming to distance himself from the Eminem and Drake comparisons, Justus is currently working on a solid body of work. For now, fans can get familiar with the Moods-produced track "Don't You Wait."
The British music scene is gifting us with a star on the rise in the form of Connie Constance. The 20-year-old, who characterizes herself as an "organized hippie," won our hearts with her trance-inducing vocals on "Stars." The London native recently released her first EP, In the Grass, via Black Acre. She continues to be hard at work cultivating her sound, all while dancing to the beat of her heart. Be on the lookout for more from this rising talent as she strives to deliver "music for her generation that breathes escapism from the cuts and bruises of young British life, penning lyrics on buses and trains."
Drake and the Weekend aren't the only Canadians with powerhouse vocals and an affinity for blending singing and rhyming. Ontario native Tory Lanez, 23, has been building a name for himself with his "swavey" sound -- he describes it as fusing more than one genre together -- since he was discovered on YouTube and signed to Sean Kingston's label Time Is Money Entertainment. Besides helping write songs for Meek Mill, Akon and Travi$ Scott, Lanez dropped his Cruel Intentions EP in June. Now his catchy track "Say It," the first song from his debut album to be released via Mad Love Records and Interscope, is garnering the interest of old school R&B fans too thanks to the Brownstone sample.
London-born, Atlanta-bred Abra -- she writes her own music, sings and produces -- is a soulful R&B singer with a '90s flare. As a member of the Awful Records collective (home of Father's "Look at Wrist"), she's dropped a series of records that highlight her vintage meets innovative aesthetic. Her latest track, "Roses," from second LP, ROSE, showcases her love of dance music and R&B. "I'm dumb and I'll chase / I'm young and I'll waste you away," she sings. "If you leave me I'll flood out your fire."
When Sebastian Kole, 33 (who writes under the moniker Coleridge Tillman), teamed up with a friend to write a song, the Alabama native had no idea it would transform into Jennifer Lopez's Billboard No. 1 hit "Goin In" featuring Flo Rida and Lil Jon. It was featured on JLo's “Dance Again…The Hits” album and was the first of many moments for Kole as a songwriter. He's also worked with Alessia Cara to craft her forthcoming album and her latest single "Here." But Kole is a stellar singer in his own right. "Priceless" is a prime example of that. Listen to the Alabama native belt out high notes with ease and sing of a love that is beyond comparison to anything in this world.
The mystery of Maty Noyes has yet to be solved but her appearance on the Weeknd's sophomore album, Beauty Behind the Madness, has put us on to a voice that sounds as angelic as the song's title. Her passionate vocals are rightly heard on the last BBTM track, "Angels." According to a Facebook account, Noyes is from Corinth, Miss. and is signed to Lava/Republic Records (the Weeknd is also on the Republic roster). She also has her own pop-friendly fun in the sun single "Can't Tell Me Who to Love," which was released in August. With her cameo on the Weeknd's album, we can only conclude that Noyes is working on new material we will hear very soon.
Age ain't nothing but a number for 14-year-old singer Jovanie. He's already making waves in the music industry with an Atlantic Records deal and his Featherstones-produced single "Whip." The track finds the teen (and future heartthrob) setting the foundation for dance-inducing, high-energy sound. His major label debut, What's the Move Pt. II, is slated for an Oct. 30 release, according to iTunes. Not only is his voice amazing, he also has the moves and the potential to steal any young girl's heart.
Across the pond, hip-hop is just as big of a movement as it is here in the U.S. Lady Leshurr, 26, is breaking barriers and setting up shop in the states now that England is well aware of her movement. She has Erykah Badu in her corner as a result of her "Queen's Speech" series, songs featuring her speedy flow and endless punchlines. The fourth installment of her Queen's Speech series, "Queen's Speech Ep. 4" earned over 2.5 million views on YouTube within a month of its release. The third episode was even featured as Alexander Wang's catwalk soundtrack during New York Fashion Week this year. Look for Lady Leshurr in a city near you as she continues her tour and plans to release an album.
When 22-year-old Bryson Tiller stepped on the scene with the song "Don't" in 2014, who would've thought the track would secure over 24.7 million streams on SoundCloud and over 6 million plays on Spotify a year later. The Louisville, Ky. native has a mean pen game and his follow-up tracks "Been That Way," "Let Em Know" and "Breaking Bread" have garnered co-signs from the Drake and super-producer Timbaland. Tiller also delivered "Just Another Interlude," his take on Drake and Omarion's "Bria's Interlude," which features a more definitive rhyming and singing balance. Now fans can get a comprehensive look into his mind with his debut LP, TRAPSOUL, via RCA Records.
D.R.A.M. has come along way from his humble beginnings rhyming in a makeshift studio in Hampton, Va. in 2005. Ten years later, he's released his first project, #1EPICSUMMER and has a Super Mario Bros.-sampled song "Cha Cha" that even has Beyonce dancing to the beat. In addition to garnering attention from Queen Bey, he also has support from iconic producer Rick Rubin, who invited D.R.A.M. to a studio session. The 26-year-old indie rhymer -- he's hesitant to sign to a major label -- is currently on tour with Chance the Rapper.
Little Simz is not the "illest" just because Kendrick Lamar said so; the 21-year-old English rhymer has a jaw-dropping, rapid-paced flow and the conscious bars to prove it. Just listen to "Dead Body" or "Intervention." "Homeless; What'chu know about livin' on the street? / Cold nights; You know right? Nothin' to eat / Figured that you wouldn't give me money anyways, even though I hear the coins rattlin' in your jeans / I ain’t even beggin' no mo'/ F--- it! Maybe I’ll just beg a little mo'," she spits on "Dead Body." Those are just some of her latest offerings because after dropping nine projects, including four mixtapes since 2011, she now has a new body of work, A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons. After making noise in the U.K. and K.Dot giving her props, it's only a matter of time before she becomes a household name across the globe.
The New Jersey club scene was reinvigorated when Dougie F. dropped his bass-heavy, bounce-inducing track "Back Up On It" in 2014. His sound and flare for rump-shaking contemporary club beats even earned him a spot on Diplo's Mad Decent imprint. But the 25-year-old rapper is doing more than just making that ass drop. A year later, he's focused on getting to the "Billions." Dougie is keeping the turn-up going with his project Block Party, (inspired by Friday nights in the 108 Projects of Orange, N.J). The effort is a combination of trap music on "Wilson Place" and kush-led slow jams like "Diamonds Dancing." If you are ready for one hell of a Friday night, check out this East Coast rising star.
You may not know how Leikeli47 looks because whenever she's in public she rocks a ski mask, but her sound speaks volumes. The New York MC, who has never revealed her birth name nor her age, has talent that even Jay Z is feeling (they rep the same borough too). Her new song "F--- the Summer Up" was handpicked by Hov to be featured on his Tidal Playlist. With even more eyes in her direction thanks to Jigga, the self-proclaimed rock star and RCA signee is likely banking more sales of her self-titled album, which was released in April. Summer may be over but Leikeli47 is still making noise we want to hear well into the winter and beyond.
Summer is over but Sonya Teclai is bringing the Heatwave with her new EP. The Eritrean-Egyptian artist (she sings and raps) sounds like a hypnotic blend of Jhene Aiko and Erykah Badu. She offers a sultry approach to poetic verse with loopy lullabies. Her eight-track EP features the lovelorn ode "Far Away" and the vicious "Guns & Roses." This New York City-based artist is doing her part to bring R&B back and we love everything she stands for.
Like many of the talented artists on this list, 27-year-old Guordan Banks got his start in the music business working behind the scenes alongside big names such as 50 Cent, Kanye West, John Legend and K. Michelle. The singer has stepped into the spotlight with his debut project, A Song For Everyone, released through his own label, Bank On It Entertainment. The lead single, "Keep You in Mind," sets the tone of a gentleman who puts his lady first. His first effort demonstrates versatility in his lyrical content and production and lives up to its title of catering to well, everyone. Even Chris Brown is paying attention to his movement. That's surely a sign of a good thing.
Atlanta may have the trap music scene on lock, but 19-year-old Malachiae Warren is looking to get out of the "bando" and back to the slow grinding R&B days. The newcomer teamed up with Migos on "Thank Yo Momma," his debut single, an ode to the woman who gave birth to his ladylove. With veteran producer and songwriter Dallas Austin as his mentor coupled with his strong, soothing vocals, the NNTME/Motown signee has a promising future.
Amir Obe is the latest talent to emerge out of Brooklyn by way of Detroit. The rapper emerged from behind the scenes in 2014, with his Detrooklyn mixtape. The tape got the attention of Atlantic Records, but his deal was short lived. With writing credits on Drake's No.1 album If You're Reading This It's Too Late then later hitting the road with PARTYNEXTDOOR, Obe is certainly on the rise to being one of hip-hop and R&B's favorites. He and PND just released their latest collaboration, the NYLZ and Wondagurl-produced "I'm Good." He's making waves from the East Coast to Toronto and already hit major cities across the U.S. opening up for PND on tour earlier this year.
Her dad may be former Saturday Night Live funny man Rob Schneider, but Elle King is serious when it comes to her music. The 25-year-old singer showcases a raspy voice perfect for soulful rock or pop-flavored R&B. She even plays the banjo. Elle certainly is a breathe of fresh air in the music biz. Her debut album, Love Stuff, recently propelled to the Top 40 slot thanks to her first No. 1 single (on the alternative charts) "Ex's & Oh's." The RCA Records signee has come a long way from her 2012 intro, the four-track The Elle King EP. This stunner is just getting started.
20It's no secret Chicago is oozing with musical talent. While Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Chief Keef and Common are already household names, newcomer Saba is coming for their spot. The 20-year-old MC, who's down with the Pivot Gang, got on hip-hop's radar in 2012, after he dropped his project, GetComfortable. The following year he appeared on “Everybody's Something” off of Chance the Rapper’s acclaimed mixtape, Acid Rap. Already riding the wave to notoriety, Saba dropped ComfortZone in 2014, an autobiographical effort that showcased his writing and production skills. In an effort to illustrate his rise to fame, he tapped another one of Chi-Town's emerging talents, Tink, for his 2015 summer slow jam, "Temporary." Friends and relationships may come and go as the two emphasize on the track, however, Saba is here to stay. 21
A southern guy like Ta'East (he was born in Kentucky) found his way to the West Coast (he's now an L.A. transplant after living in San Diego) and has already worked with big names like Travi$ Scott, Hit-Boy and BJ the Chicago Kid. His breakout single "WithTheS---," produced by Cairo Mayeson is a bold display of his lyrical talents over hard 808s and sweeping strings. While the track was first debuted across the pond, Ta'East is sure to have heads nodding to his sound all over the globe.
With more than 8 million YouTube views of the video for his song "White Iverson," one thing has become obvious: Post Malone is on his way to being MVP. After learning how to play the guitar from Guitar Hero 3, the rapper (who also sings and produces) decided to take his music talents seriously. He wrote the viral hit "White Iverson" just two days before he recorded what would be his breakout single. The Dallas native just signed a deal with Republic Records last month, and he's securing a pretty nice collaboration list for himself. During New York Fashion week, Kanye West showcased his Yeezy Season 2 collection and debuted his new song "Fade" featuring Post and Ty Dolla $ign. Sounds like the rhymer is "saucin' and ballin'" his way into hip-hop's elite. But let's be clear, he's not 100 percent set on only rapping. Post Malone wants to be country singer when he hits 40.
From NYU to writing rhymes, that's a storyline we've heard before (think Rick Rubin). But this time around it's Nigerian-born, Atlanta-bred musician Daye Jack who is making his way up the music ladder of success. While studying programming at the prestigious university in 2014, Daye dropped Hello World, a self-produced eclectic mix of neo-soul sounds and conscious rap. The effort earned enough buzz to catch the attention of Warner Bros. Records. A year later in June, he returned with Soul Glitch, which features the contemporary labor union anthem "Easy." At just 19, Daye certainly has the skills and potential to make it big.
Louisiana rhymer Toyko Vanity is an internet sensation. She was already posting YouTube videos way before she went viral with her infectious hit "Go Best Friend." In the visual for the track, Vanity and her girls kick it in tutus all in the name of sister-friends. “Go best friend! That’s my best friend! That’s my best friend!” she sings on the hook. Thanks to her humorous video, the catchy lyrics became the caption for BFF usies all over Instagram. According to Toyko, "Go Best Friend" was so influential that it inspired Young Thug to jack her style for his Slime Season song "Best Friend." She threatened that she could sue Thugga if she wanted to and revealed how she declined to be in his video. It looks like Tokyo Vanity is focused on surpassing the viral one hit wonder stereotype and building her own musical empire.
R&B crooner Ro James' voice makes you want to unwind and relax with a glass of wine or a combination of coke and Jack, like the title of his first two projects, aptly titled Coke and Jack. When listening to James, the influence of D'Angelo and Lenny Kravitz is there plus some gospel music and a dash of Johnny Cash. Inspired by heartbreak at the hand of his first love, James delivered a three-part EP, Coke, Jack & Cadillacs each featuring an eclectic mix of R&B and soul. He flexed his ability to transition from tenor right into falsetto on "Pledge Allegiance," and "Indiana Jones" finds him delivering an ode to his home state of, you guessed it, Indiana and on "XIX," his storytelling abilities shine. If you love R&B, Ro James deserves to be added to your playlist right now.