24 ARTISTS WE RATE IN 2024
16 Jan 2024
By; Harvey Marwood, Joe Simpson, Jesse Williams, James Woodham, Plamedi, Tyrese King and Tom Dingley
IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER
When powerful vocal ranges are the topic of discussion Leicester-native Sekou has threw his hat into the ring this year. The rising star released debut track, “Better Man” in May and has a Glastonbury performance under his belt at the age of 18 showing that the industry is taking notice of his talent.
The singer cites Chaka Khan, Prince and Michael Jackson as inspirations however, he is able to bring a fresh sound to the table with his soulful range and heartfelt storytelling.
Signed at the age of 16 by Island Records we expect him to make good use of the facilities available to him by becoming one of the leading faces in British R&B next year and beyond.
Listen to: Time Will Tell
Still only 16 years of age, TS Lagga is undeniably one of the most exciting artists in the UK scene right now. Having already accumulated more than half a million streams across his music on Spotify alone, this year has been a consistently successful year for the teenager, releasing four brand new sets of visuals alongside festival debuts that notably include special performances such as the BBC Introducing stage at Reading & Leeds.
Set on projecting his youthful and charismatic energy to the scene, TS Lagga is no stranger to a showcase of dynamic lyricism, carefully thought through punchlines and immaculate yet icey flows – an injection of verve and enthusiasm that is tough to be matched by anyone of his age. 2024 is bound to be another hugely successful year for TS; with all his focus being solely on the music and creativity, we should all be excited for the continuation of his come up in the new year.
Listen to: Tally That
After his release of the Rush Hour EP in September with Rushy, Ashbeck has provided great music and visuals this year, and there will be much more to come next year. He is an artist on the verge of the underground and becoming an even larger and more prominent figure than he already is and is probably only one more project away from doing so. With a sound not dissimilar to Knucks and Sainte, he has a huge scope for his career to hit some incredible mainstream success, and I look forward to what he has to offer in 2024.
Listen to: Celly
In what felt like a relatively stagnant year in the Drill genre, K-Bandit will be on a mission to put the sound back on the map in 2024. The artist’s ability for fast flows and hard hitting lyricism has already been on display thanks to tracks such as ‘Essex Police’ parts 1 and 2, but it is clear that there is still so much more to come.
If K-Bandit can hone his craft and deliver his brand of gritty bars across a more refined instrumental sound, the future will look very bright. He has already shown enough promise in 2023, but next year can really see him take the next steps as he evolves as an artist.
Listen to: Next Up? (Freestyle)
Natayna introduced herself to the UK and the world with her debut tape Sorrow at Sunset a deep feeling and grounded project that despite only consisting of six tracks doesn’t release its hold on you. You hear the heartfelt and nostalgic essence of the 90s throughout as she explores heartache and the relatable growing pains, and the sense of loss felt when you leave adolescence.
‘Raining tomorrow’ is easiest my favourite track from the project. The faint bassline is played in the background, and the added dimension of the sounds of rain falling is immersive you into this intimate and sensuous world of hers. A further nod to 90s culture the accompanying music video explores cultural hotspots like the record store and the off licenses.
To round up this year, the East Londoner has also toured with female R&B group FLO and stunned the crowd with performance at the We Are Here Festival.
Looking forward the future is bright.
Listen to: Raining Tomorrow
In what seems to be a golden generation of female rappers within UK music at the moment, BXKS has the opportunity to take centre stage. In recent years she has collaborated with the likes of Bawo, Joe James, and P-rallel, but this year should see her thrive as a solo artist.
BXKS’ last two releases, ‘Cheque’, and ‘Back It Up’, are indicators of where her sound is going next. There is no doubt that her pen is a real strength, but this artist is also not afraid to put the music first, as demonstrated by the french hook on ‘Cheque’ and the innate feel good energy on ‘Back It Up’. BXKS is on a sensational run of form right not and is showing no signs of slowing down going into the new year.
Listen to: Cheque
Out of Westbrook Road, Thornton Heath comes Proph. He had a huge year in 2023 with the release of his Lost In Translation EP – a completely self-produced masterpiece which is so hard to do so young. He has received praise from Wretch 32 as well as opening for Avelino and is due to open for Mist on his tour later in 2024.
He also appeared on the UK BET cypher alongside Ghetts to celebrate 50 years of Hip-Hop. He is one of the most versatile talents to hit the scene. His raps can be hard hitting like they are in The Calm, but then can also go melodic in other songs like Regardless. There is a lot to unpack, but so much more to look forward to in the new year. I’m looking forward to seeing more performances and see how the trajectory he is on will help him grow further as an artist.
Song to listen to: Far From Home
North West rapper and artist cityboymoe caught attention this year thanks to his track, ‘skyblue’. He has since followed this up with a new full-length project, ‘NO BALL GAMES’. Coming from Somali heritage, the artist grew up in Wembley and transitioned to making music from writing poetry after being inspired by the likes of Drake and The Weeknd.
His music is instantly recognisable, combining scaled back lo-fi, often acoustic guitar driven instrumentals with pitched-up vocals that cover the artist’s relationships with his city and those around him. Having an already established sound at this stage of his career is already impressive, and as he continues to progress this year there is a real opportunity for him to translate to a larger audience.
Listen to: Pop Out
Chill lo-fi and British drill, there’s one artist that seamlessly blends the two and that is SamRecks. Another South London native displaying the areas dominance in all things hip-hop and rap. The artist has established himself in the underground/alternative scene with tracks ‘Situationship 2’ and ‘SUMO’.
Despite this, his crown jewel is undoubtedly “Love and Affection” which claimed TikTok virality due to his crafty penmanship and jazz-inspired instrumentals.
SamRecks is as polished as some of the scenes most established emcees, and his evolution is sure to turn him into a household name.
Listen to: SUMO
21-year-old Brixton native Cristale has seriously had one of those years. The multifaceted rapper, storyteller, and poet has routinely displayed her creative prowess this year.
Cristale made her mark with viral freestyles and hit singles, including her debut EP “What It’s Like to Be Young” back in 2022. With her Caribbean roots shining through on Bashment fusion track ‘Bong Bing,’ a collaboration with Jamaican artist Laa Lee, marking a pivotal moment in her trajectory.
However, her involvement in Top Boy earlier this year significantly elevated her career, notably with the track “Roadents,” featuring in the show garnering substantial acclaim and attention. But don’t get it twisted her success is attributed to her talent. Notably, her electrifying performance on “Plugged In” showcased her undeniable talent and stage presence.
Listen to: Roadents
Expressing his artistry over an experimental styled, laid-back beat selection, dialE is without a doubt one of the most refreshing and unique artists to have been put on our radars this year. Drawing inspiration from multiple genres including alternative RnB, hip-hop, lofi and jazz, dialE’s distinctive cadence blends effortlessly with dreamy melodies, punchy kicks and crispy percussions throughout his discography, which seeks to offer us an understanding into difficulties and emotions he has faced as a young black teenager in London. Having sold out his first headline show at the Servant Jazz Quarters next February, there’s little doubt that 2024 is going to be a huge year for dialE, a rise with momentum that I can fully support and get behind.
Listen to: AOT
Hailing from Greenwich, DC has been on the scene for a while, yet every year he is one to watch. Often working alongside the talented Emil, he brings hard-hitting bars with a relaxing cadence over some of the most interesting beat selections in the scene. From a flipped version of Fat Joe’s What’s Luv, in 2018 on his song No Manners, it has been evident that his sound will always be reminiscent of memorable music, and that is why his sound is so individualistic when compared to other rappers across the country. He recently dropped his single Mains alongside some very picturesque visuals. I look forward to more of this in the coming year, and to see more of the exciting videos he has to offer.
Listen to: Tears, Sweat, Blood
As one of the pioneers of alté in the UK, Odeal has been no stranger to playlists and dances across the country. For the last few years, he has been consistently dropping, and notably every November. This year we saw the release of “Thoughts I Never Said”. A soulful EP which perfectly complements the cold winter we’ve been experiencing in these last few weeks. Before this release, he had a sold-out reception at Outernet for his headline show, and one of the most charismatic COLORS performances of the year for “All that it takes” which also appears on the new EP.
He takes his sound from a childhood spanning Nigeria, Spain, and Germany, where he was able to hear the vast differences in music all over which would later help him hone his sound into something so broad. From Mr Workerman to Bedroom Weather, it is so evident how wide his skillset goes. I look forward to his tour in May where he will be performing at Manchester Gorilla and London 02 Forum Kentish Town; and after the last show, and other events put together by the OVMBR team, it will not be one to miss.
Listen to – Fine By Myself
TOM DID IT
Having already worked with the likes of Nafe Smallz, Chip, Sigala, Imanbek and many more, 20-year-old rising star Tom Did It seems like a no-brainer when it comes to 2024 ones to watch list. Hailing from Hertfordshire, the multi-talented artist and producer provided us with the first instalment of his refined, unique and diversified sound that creates a fusion between rap and indie pop. Having signed with Since ’93 and Big Smoke Records half way through 2023 and with only one track unveiled so far since his deal, there’s no doubt that Tom Did It is bound for greatness in 2024.
Listen to: Stupid Love
Offering an alternative sound to the majority of ones to watch on our list, Seafood Sam is an artist I’m keeping a very close eye on in 2024. A product of Long Beach, the very place that has given us artists such as Snoop Dogg and Warren G, Seafood Sam is a ‘futuristic artefact’ known for evoking nostalgic feelings over old-school-inspired hip-hop productions consisting of jazz-infused melodies and refreshingly mellow drum patterns. One of few artists still carrying the torch for authentic American hip-hop music, this year saw Seafood Sam release the 7 track EP ‘Afros In The Wind’ – a perfect representation of his sound delivered in a great body of work. Should the new year allow Seafood Sam to provide some consistency, I’d back the refreshing talent to find his way onto many more radars this year.
Listen to: ’86 Carolina West
North London-based artist, JayO has steadily climbed the ranks of the British R&B scene utilising the smooth rhythmic allure of Afrobeat’s showcasing pride in his Nigerian heritage.
You cannot cover JayO’s 2023 without talking about ‘22’. The track undoubtedly thrust the artist into virality due to its catchy nature and infectious melodies. However, JayO didn’t crumble under the pressure of attempting to repeat 22’s success. Instead, he continued to go from strength-to-strength releasing ‘Back’ and ‘Often’ in the tail-end of the year.
The North London native displayed his talents at Stormzy’s ‘This Is What We Mean Day’ in Victoria Park, a significant cosign that sets him up well for 2023. JayO has gained momentum this year, leading to growing anticipation for his debut project. Excitingly, JayO teased the release of a new tape on his TikTok in early November.
Listen to: Back
Next, we cast are eyes upon South London-based rapper, Strandz who has undoubtedly set the music scene ablaze this year. Making it absolutely no surprise that he features on our lists for artists to look out for in 2024.
“Us Against the World” propelled Strandz onto the forefront of Spotify playlists and TikTok For you pages across the globe. However, it is Strandz’ subsequent tracks ‘J’adore’ and the Lancey Foux supported ‘Feeling Alive’ have solidified his position as a consistent hit maker. The artist clearly takes inspiration from one of his idols 50 Cent with his beat selection. But he is no means a gimmick.
Strandz’ tracks possess the romantic content of an early 2000s R&B tracks, but his execution sets him apart from any other UK artist this year.
We anticipate Strandz to maintain this upward trajectory in 2024, and the prospect of an entire EP from the South London native is absolutely welcomed. There is no doubt Strandz is on track to establish himself as one of UK rap’s rising stars.
Listen to: An Idea Was Born
Having grown up singing in her church choir, Jaz Kari has managed to hone her craft since the age of seven. The south London singer-songwriter has been steadily dropping songs since 2017, but now it feels as if she is starting to find and develop her own unique sound.
Always blessed with a unique, emotive vocal ability, Karis has touched upon a multitude of genres within her burgeoning career. From Jazz, to Soul, all the way through to R&B and Garage, this is an artist who has demonstrated her ability to do it all. 2024 should see Jaz break through without compromising her sound for a mainstream audience.
Listen to: Little Blue Moon
Libianca has already had one of the songs of this year, thanks to her global smash hit, ‘People’. This track is demonstrative of this artist’s talents, combining powerful melodies with hard-hitting lyrics across an Afrobeat-inspired sound. It is no surprise then that Omah Lay, famed for his genre of ‘Afro-Depression’ hopped on the remix alongside Ayra Starr.
Born in Cameroon but based in Minnesota, Libianca has grown up with a melange of influences, from Makossa and Afrobeat to the more westernised sounds of R&B and Gospel. The success of ‘People’ has shown that this powerful mix of both cultures and sounds translates to a global audience, and it is up to the artist to prove that she can deliver again in 2024.
Listen to: People
Representing West London, 23-year-old KiLLOWEN is one of the up-and-coming talents to keep your eyes on next year. Off the back of performing at SXSW Sydney, his sound is a beautiful fusion of UK Garage, Rap, Dance and Soul. With capabilities as a rapper, songwriter, producer and instrumentalist, KiLLOWEN regularly showcases his range of musical talents through his music. His lyrics are relatable, his delivery is smooth and nonchalant, and his production quality is brilliant. KiLLOWEN is a name to remember for 2024, watch this space.
One song that I think people should listen to from KiLLOWEN is ‘One Thing’. The sample is instantly recognisable, the energy and the tempo of the tune are just a vibe and I think it is a great introduction to KiLLOWEN as an all round artist.
Listen To: Sober
Born and raised in Hertfordshire, mustbejohn is firmly rooted on our ones-to-watch list for 2024. Exploring a soundscape that sits between the dance/electronic and rap fields, the natural poet and lyricist takes influence from 90s bands such as Blur, Gorillaz and the Arctic Monkeys whilst also drawing inspiration from the best in alternative hip-hop and rap. This year saw the young talent release his ‘Losing Balance EP’ as well as seeing his track ‘I Just Wanna Dance’ in the new EA24 game – a great combination for promotion in this calendar year. I’m predicting a big 2024 for mustbejohn, and he’s certainly an artist I’d like to personally support and push in the new year.
Listen to: Buzz
Tay Jordan is particularly exciting because of how different his whole music style is. The rapper is now on his South London Vice journey, where he blends the aesthetics of LA in the 80’s, the sonics of Miami South Beach together with a distinctive South London flair. During a time where UK rap is begging for a refresh his music is that breath of fresh air but
still gives you those home comforts. If you’re looking for where to start with Tay Jordan, “Self Made” and ‘Treason” are where I would start. Be on the lookout for his South London Vice tape which should be coming at some point in 2024.
Listen to: Tay Jordan x Vercetti James – Treason
One of the stars of our Next Up? Cypher Shakes is set to have a big 2024. You can tell even at his tender age that he is a real student of the game. The biggest compliment I can pay him is that on any beat, at any tempo, on any vibe he can hang and still project his own personal flavour. From a human side, Shakes seems like a kid with his head screwed on too. A great level of self-awareness and a desire to achieve greatness, the sky really is the limit and 2024 should be the year people really start to take notice.
Listen to: Give It A Rest
Coming out of South West London is up-and-coming wordsmith Ceebo. Continuing the lineage of established UK acts such as Knucks & Dave, he combines witty punchlines & vivid storytelling with smooth jazz-induced rap beats & live instrumentation.
Listen to: Puff Puff