Meet The 5 UK Artists That Should be on Your Radar
In the mid-60s, a musical phenomenon later coined the British Invasion struck the States with a power-packed punch of pop and rock music. The frenzy came without warning and has left a Union Jack embossed footprint in American culture. Flash forward to 2017, and a new type of invasion is occurring that goes beyond the realms of pop and rock. Sultry R&B and heady hip hop from both mainstream and burgeoning UK acts are coming at us from across the pond, and by the looks of it, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
Long before Drake decided it was cool to partner with UK-based artists for his latest release, More Life, there have been talented Brits who have captured our soul. So, who’s next? We compiled our A-list of artists hailing from the UK that are worthy of your attention; peep the full roster below.
Little SimzAt the ripe age of 23, Little Simz has managed to hit milestones in her career that have taken most artists decades to achieve. She’s dropped a total of 11 releases, consisting of mixes, EPs, and two full-length albums. Simz recently performed as the opener for the legendary Lauryn Hill’s tour (!) and has collaborated with singer-songwriter Kehlani. Plus, the amazing lyricist has garnered support from artists of the likes of Andre 3000 and Kendrick Lamar.
On A CURIOUS TALE OF TRIALS + PERSONS (the debut album she released on her own AGE 101: Music label) and her latest release, Stillness in Wonderland, you can hear the raw emotion and rhythmic flow that sets her apart from other rappers in the game. “Little Simz, she might be the illest doing right now,” Lamar tells MistaJam in a past interview via BBC Radio 1. We couldn’t agree more.
CadenzaOliver Rodigan, AKA Cadenza, combines hip hop with dancehall alongside electronic synths to seamlessly create a confectionary treat akin to no one else. In a sea full of DJ-producer sound-a-likes, Cadenza stands out with his dash of dancehall stylings onto contemporary pieces. Though “Hacienda” was released last year, it still feels every bit of relevant and fresh in the current electronic dance music scene.
Black SaintCollaborating their skills cohesively as DJs, producers, and songwriters, Black Saint unleashes a sound that takes you from a road trip to the dance floor. They fuse fresh house and garage production with that of R&B, trap, and hip hop. Their debut tune, “Could You Love Me”, serves as the proper intro to the trio’s heat. In response to the decline of London’s club culture, Black Saint claps back with a series of live streamed “guerilla-style” events in the form of house parties.
Ray BLKRita Ekwere, better known as Ray BLK, brings on the nostalgia of the ‘90s R&B with her soulful, harmonious vocals that will give you the feels. The songbird’s ability to hitch her potent vocals into equally powerful lyrics is next level superhuman. It’s no wonder she’s been deemed the winner of BBC’s Sound Of 2017…and you can bet we’re on the edge of our seat waiting on what’s next from this artist.
SamphaSampha isn’t precisely hip hop, but his collabs with some of the genre’s finest (here’s looking at you, Drake), has had us mesmerized by the UK crooner’s sharp hooks since day one. Sampha’s debut Process album, released in February 2017, is a beautiful collection of heart-wrenching tracks that feel relatable on every emotional level. We especially appreciate Sampha’s combination of vulnerability and strength displayed on the classic SBTRKT tune, “Hold On”.
Images via Mass Appeal, LargeUp, Data Transmission, The Cocoa Diaries, and Spin
Stay tuned to Milk for more rising stars across the pond.