A Drake reference can make you or ruin you. The pressure mounts as your name spreads like wildfire through social media. Earl Sweatshirt, he who doesn’t like shit and doesn’t go outside, becomes afraid for you. Drake’s done this before, he implies. He’s triggered a landslide, eventually taking over a person’s musical lane. Normally you’d be shook-daddy, wondering if things are going to be alright. But, then, you’re not Kodak Black. The Pompano Beach product caught a viral video, caught a charge and then caught a record deal in that order. It’s a rap tale if there ever was one and if Bryson Tiller is trap-soul then Kodak is soul-trap. The dude is boozy, dreary and irreverent, dropping lines like, “I’m healthy, I smoke broccoli” with the verve only someone that young could have. And while he may be, seemingly, a project with a huge upside, all signs to point to go for 2017
Fighting cancer and an attempted murder charge at the same damn time, Brose Royce is the son of late 1980s champion boxer Davey Moore. He gained attention after hitting over 1,000,000 YouTube hits on his most viral video to date, “Inauguration”. Brose can deliver in double-time, tell a tale that’ll leave an audience teary-eyed, and dissect social complexities. In 2015, Brose Royce released the single “Twisted” featuring YG through Empire Distribution and the same year he released the album Trillmatic. He had previously released songs including “100” with Mistah F.A.B and “Crank My Car” with Dorrough. With major talks of touring with Lil Uzi Vert, MADEINTYO, Kodak Black, D.R.A.M. and Lil Yachty things look promising for Brose Royce in 2017
A must nod to Atlanta’s Awful Records, and last year’s big Awful success story has to be Playboi Carti, whose ‘Broke Boi’ lit up clubs last fall. Carti’s already been spotted working with Frank Ocean and Skepta, and has reportedly inked a deal with A$AP Rocky – and we’re not surprised at all. ‘Broke Boi’ might have notched up some international attention for Carti, but check the eerie, Boards of Canada-sounding ‘FETTI’, or how he slow raps over the PS2 startup sound on the inspired ‘YUNGXANHOE’. Codeine rap never sounded so dystopian
Canadian rapper Ahmad Balshe already has his share of successes as a credited songwriter on The Weeknd’s multi-platinum hits “Earned It,” “The Hills” and “Often.” The R&B pop singer returned the favor by lending his voice to “Might Not,” a highlight of Belly’s underrated Up For Days mixtape from this past spring. Having signed with Roc Nation only last month, he saw the track released as a proper single in December 2015. In a little more than one week, “Might Not” had already accumulated over 830,000 Spotify plays and 1.4 million YouTube views of its corresponding music video. With that single clearly on its way to the Billboard Hot 100, Belly will see his profile rise exponentially in the first quarter of 2017
Given the blond dreadlocks, skater look, odd melodies and strangely lilting trap voice of Lil Uzi Vert, you might mistake him for another Atlanta iconoclast, but the 21-year-old hails from Philadelphia. “I enjoy down South music. When I was young, I listened to Ying Yang Twins and Mike Jones. But I also listened to [Philly] guys like Beanie Sigel, too,” he says. “So instead of just flexin’ when I rap, I also talk some grimy stuff.” A 2014 track, “U.Z.I.,” caught the attention of Atlanta DJ Don Cannon, and earned him a deal with Cannon and DJ Drama’s Generation Now imprint, which is distributed by Atlantic. He found mentors in Wiz Khalifa and A$AP Rocky, and scored a big EDM hit with his appearance on Carnage’s “WDYW.” Last October, his first major mixtape, Luv is Rage, logged over five million SoundCloud streams, and on April 15 he dropped a new mixtape, Lil Uzi Vert Vs. the World.