For the past eight years, FADER staffers have been writing prayerful emails to various non-denominational deities with subject lines like, “Why you playing us out like this?” and “Can I live?” Finally somebody checked their inbox. On January 20, we will have a new president—the one we voted for!—and we can’t help but feel like 2009 will usher in a total reboot of inspiration, creativity and ideation, not just in the United States but across the globe. Call it a renaissance of relief, or call it the hope we were betting on from jump with President Barack Obama. We always aspire to be better stewards of our country, better citizens of the world and now we believe we have a fighting chance to make things right again. It’s something like idealism, and we couldn’t be happier.
That’s why this issue is all about new beginnings. For our annual NOW issue, The FADER staff conjures our collective clairvoyance to feature the flaming hot heatseekers that will be emancipating our lives over the next year. While we’re always fainting-level excited about everything we cover, this issue has taken on special significance within the context. Things are all falling in place. Obama’s inauguration and Lost season premiere in the same week? BOOM! And just as synergistically, we realized all the artists we featured here are not just single entities working it out in the world, but are emblematic of the larger bubbling movements they exist within. Charles Hamilton’s fever pitch of quirky mixtapes, his likable casual flow and his copious ’90s baby references all exemplify both the rejuvenated Harlem and the ultra-creative way young rappers are evolving. Little Boots, aka Victoria Hesketh, is not only the singer/writer on the forefront of London’s burgeoning underground pop scene, she also acts as a fulcrum of remixes by several dance producers we are sweating right now—Fake Blood and Treasure Fingers among them. Electrik Red are our new idols (okay, mine), four self-motivated singer/dancers whose impressive pop&B reflects a new powerful woman movement (what up Michelle Obama!) and the interminable melodies of airwave-dominating songwriters The-Dream and Tricky Stewart. And what would the resurgence of the lo-fi world be without the semi-shrouded basement Bauhausisms of Blank Dogs? It’s all working out perfectly, and it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate or ridiculously awesome time.
JULIANNE ESCOBEDO SHEPHERD