It’s that time of year again where we look forward to the warm summer nights, day drinking and festival going. Lollapalooza scheduled August 2nd-4th, has a stacked line-up per usual but these are the five that we’ve chosen as our top must see acts this year.
This refreshingly upfront and ‘in your face’ Harlem raised, lady MC isn’t afraid to make the masses squirm. The 21 year old chants, “I guess that cunt getting’ eaten,” several times in her 2011 song, 212, which has sold over 135,000 copies since its release, and the accompanying video, which has had over 47 million hits. Since then, Azealia Banks has sky rocketed to stardom. Her unique style of 90’s dance music fused with silky R&B and candid rap lyrics make her stand out amongst the up and comers.
Even at at early age, Banks had the urge to perform, starring in off Broadway plays. Luckily, acting wasn’t enough for her, so she began to write rap and R&B. This led to her debut recording “Gimmie a Chance” onto the internet in 2008 under her then moniker, Miss Bank$. Fast forward to 2012, Banks released the mixtape, Fantasea, featuring work from O/W/W/W/L/S, Machinedrum, Diplo, Munchi, Eprom, Drums of Death, Ikonika, Hudson Mohawke, AraabMuzik, and Lunice, which received rave reviews from music critics. Early in 2013, she released, Yung Rapunxel, the first single from the album Broke with Expensive Taste. The video created a stir due to it’s symbolic illuminati images and comments of witch-hop. The second single to be released on the album, ATM Jam, features Pharell. With nothing to stop her, Azealia Banks’ talent and no bull shit attitude will take her to the top.
Raykeea Wilson, also known as Angel Haze, could pass as Aaliyah’s sister but as she starts to perform, she could pass as the female version of Eminem. The twenty-one year old’s rap style emotes a very strong, passionate voice, narrating a mini autobiography and brings light to her views on life.
One of her most notable songs, so far, is featured on the mix tape, Classick, which was released in 2012. Haze created reworks of popular anthems by Lupe Fiasco, Missy Elliot, Jay-Z, Erykah Badu, Lauren Hill and Eminem. It was her rendition of Eminem’s Cleaning Out my Closet, that opened listeners eyes and carried them through the unfortunately real journey of her sexual abuse as a young girl and how it scarred her for life. Angel Haze is a true lyrical poet, who’s words resonate powerfully, even without a musical backdrop.
Usually compared to Pendulum and The Prodigy, this UK band of four really have a unique style. Brothers Josh and Tony Friend make up the vocals and the DJ and Production, while Matthew Curtis bangs the drums and Nick Tsang strums the guitar.
The blend of rock, dubstep, drum and bass, and soulful male vocals have helped Modestep’s popularity since their start in 2010 out of London. Their debut album, Evolution Theory, was just released earlier this year and includes earlier singles Feel Good (If you watch the video for Feel Good, you’ll see that it’s the original Harlem Shake), Sunlight and To the Stars. This group stands out because of its rock star vibe and dubstep fanbase.
As an electronic artist hailing from Detroit you’d think Grant Kwiecinski, also known as GRiZ, would produce techno, deep house, or something a long those lines. However, once you listen to this twenty-three year old’s catchy concoction of electronic, soul, funk and dubstep, you’ll see that he defies the stereotype. His live gigs flash with lights, showcase his DJ skills and show his true musicianship as he plays the saxophone soulfully, accompanying the dub and synth beats.
His undoubted talent and allowing free downloads to all his music have helped GRiZ bloom and grow his fan base. Over the last couple years he has done collaborations and tours with artists such as Big Gigantic, Gramatik, Two Fresh, Kill Paris and Manic Focus. With more original music, concerts and festivals on the horizon, Griz will become one of the staples for creatively great music.
Who doesn’t know the Harlem Shake? Maybe you’re one of the many who made a video with your friends or coworkers and uploaded it onto YouTube. Harry Rodrigues aka Baauer’s song, is responsible for the phenomenon that won the internet and swept the Billboard charts. The twenty four year old isn’t just a one trick pony though, his tracks influenced by UK bass and southern hip-hop, keep his shows sold out and booties dancing.
This trap star’s songs, Yaow! and Harlem Shake, were featured on Mad Decent’s Jeffrees (a sub-imprint which signs singles) earlier in 2012. Some of his other work includes remixes for Flosstradamus, No Doubt, Nero and AlunaGeorge. Recently signed to Lucky Me records, the new EP will be out in mid 2013 with it’s first single, Dum Dum, out already. There are a select few who are able to make quality trap music and Baauer is at the top of the list.