7 Outstanding Rappers To Watch Out For In 2017

By Anton Constantinou

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Christmas is behind us, and what awaits in 2017 is a year filled to the brim with new songs, artists and performances from the world of hip hop.

Talk is already circulating about Nicki Minaj’s big return, and the long awaited drop of Shine by Washington rapper, Wale, is also on the cards. Drake was down to round-off 2016 with the release of playlist project, More Life, but seeing as it’s been pushed back, he’ll inevitably keep the Views momentum going. Elsewhere, Jay Z is rumoured to have a new solo effort in the making, and Big Sean’s I Decided is schedule to drop February 3rd.

Interestingly, none of the names we mentioned in our 2016 breakthrough feature have made the watchlist for next year, which goes to show just how much talent there is out there at the moment. From North West London to the deep ravines of Toronto, here are seven rappers to keep on your radar, come January:

1.) Aminé

Rising to fame with the tune, Caroline, in May, a certain Portland rapper has plenty to look forward to. His bouncy Outkast esque single has garnered more than 95 million streams on Spotify, along with 64 million views on Youtube, thanks, in part, to an eye catching music video. Trina recently went to the effort of remixing the song and the end result is pretty dope.

Also in circulation is his cheery tune, Baba, which features a unique blend of rapping and singing. Here’s hoping an album follows.

2.) Dave East

2016 saw former basketball player, David Brewster Jr. launch his 10th mixtape, Kairi Chanel, as well as sign a multi-billion pound deal with Def Jam. Now on tour, he’ll be making pit stops in Virginia and North Carolina, and is said to have Nas on board to executive produce his yet unnamed official album – currently slated for a 2017 release. Here is talking Japan and religion:

3.) Jazz Cartier

Still without a record deal, Jazz Cartier has made impressive headway in online merchandise sales, and building a fan base for himself. Last year he apparently made $85,000 in merchandise revenue off the back of Post Malone’s Hollywood Dreams tour. His 2016 singles Ring, WasteJust in Case and Pree reveal a man hard at work on an album, which looks to be his new project, Fleurever. See what you think of Pree (below) – we’re definitely feeling the sinister artwork and beat!

4.) Russ

Labelled one of the “fastest growing artists of 2016”, Russ has gone from strength to strength, having bagged more than 40 million listens on his Souncloud page. In 2016 he signed to Colombia records and released seven singles, including the spacey vibe, What They Want (below). As a testament to his worth, the rapper and record producer is supposedly charging $20,000 per show and is odds on to appear at a number of festivals next year.

5.) Saba

With the release of his debut studio album, Bucket List Project, in October, Saba offered a thought provoking glimpse into how we spend our time and seek self fulfilment. Topics range finding your other half and taking life for granted, to more personal matters of drug addiction and family loss. Bucket lists are hugely popular among among adventure hungry millennials, and Saba has shown great vision in being able to channel the concept in rap form.

Further exposure shouldn’t prove too difficult for the 22 year Chicago emcee, who’s  so far accumulated 32,000 followers on Twitter and a further 17,900 on Instagram. Church/Liquor Store (below) is especially pleasing on the ears:

6.) Knucks

Mixing jazz and trap is no easy feat, unless your name is Knucks that is. Against Britain’s grime scene, The North West London rapper sounds positively soulful, with his laid back flow and nonchalant rhyming. Sade and Anita Baker aren’t obvious inspiration choices for a rapper, but they’re what make Knucks so refreshing to listen to. 21 Candles, Turnover and From Rome With Love are just a few of his latest tracks and a further project is said to be on the way next year. Told You (below) is a definite bedroom banger.

7.) Berna

Back in July, a certain East London emcee made waves in a seven minute BL@CKBOX freestyle session (below), now he’s hoping to forge a career for himself. His inspiration? The loss of his brother, Champion, who was shot numerous times in broad daylight and subsequently died. Having only got back into music last January, Berna has lots of legwork to do. Expect a mixtape or two next year, and a possible collaboration with fellow freestyler, Abra Cadabra.



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