As January comes to a close, I must admit, within this first month of the new year, there are some albums that need some attention, love, and recognition. From the new age, sultry R&B to the gritty, New York hip-hop sound, some of the best up-and-coming artists have started the year out with a bang; giving music lovers hot albums that you can party to, get in your feelings with, and listen to from beginning to end. Craving their own land and setting grounds, these new artists are raising the bar in an industry that seems to be reemerging in creativity. 2017 has a promising year for music, and by the looks of these artists, 2018 might be the same way, even more. These are the four albums you need to know before the month is over.
Dave East, P2
Dave East started his career in the early 2010’s and has been a rising force in hip-hop. The Harlem rapper released Paranoia 2, aka P2, on January 16th. On this album, the rapper displays a confidence and style of fellow Harlem rapper, A$AP Rocky, but also delivers a storytelling approach in a sense of Nas and Big L. If there’s any doubt in New York hip-hop, P2 shuts down any hesitation about the state of the East coast rap scene.
As part of the TDE crew, I would have to say SiR is the male equivalent to SZA, but with a little more soul. I discovered SiR while randomly listening to music on Apple Music, and I was amazed at this album. November has the musicianship and production comparable to Raphael Saadiq, with smooth vocals in the same realm as The Weeknd, Musiq Soulchild, and D’Angelo. Play this late at night when you want to get in your feelings or when you want to go on a good night drive.
Burna Boy, Outside
For those who have been living under a rock in 2017, the popularity of afrobeats, and African culture is on the rise. 2018 sees no sign of it slowing down. Nigerian singer and songwriter Burna Boy is bringing a blend of afrobeats, hip-hop, and dancehall that works for his vocals and the vibes in his lyrics. We may still be in winter, but Outside will get you ready for spring break and the summer of 2018.
Stefflon Don, Hurtin’ Me-EP
We haven’t heard from a female dancehall artist in a while, but English rapper Stefflon Don might be one to be modern face of women in dancehall. Showing off her Jamaican heritage, Hurtin’ Me-EP showcases the dancehall resurgence and the popularity of afrobeats, but Stefflon Don also was able to convey the sexual confidence of American female rappers such as Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, and Azealia Banks. Stefflon Don holds her own as a female British rapper and her latest EP proves her crossover appeal.