13 artists you need to know about in 2018

In no particular order.

January 09, 2018
13 artists you need to know about in 2018 Art by Sharon Gong.
1. 03 Greedo
13 artists you need to know about in 2018 03 Greedo   Photo by Deawnne Buckmire

Watts native 03 Greedo has a tendency to pack his projects full of material — in 2017, he released three albums, totaling 73 tracks — maybe as a way of demonstrating just how expansive his melodic approach to rapping can be. But songs like “Never Bend” and “Run For Yo Life” distill what he’s best at: making somber West Coast slaps about past Ls and future Ws. Greedo recently signed to Alamo Records/UMG (and recorded 10 songs in 24 hours…) so expect to hear a lot more from him in 2018. —BEN DANDRIDGE-LEMCO

2. Amara La Negra

Afro-Dominican queen Amara La Negra is Love & Hip Hop: Miami’s breakout star. Her first hit was 2013’s “AYY,” which made waves in D.R. and paved the way for her to develop her music career in both Latin American and U.S. markets. Billboard announced her multimillion dollar, multi-album deal last Tuesday, following her primetime television debut. —JULIANA PACHE

3. Virtual Self
13 artists you need to know about in 2018 Virtual Self EP art.

My favorite electronic music producer — and the only person that could ever make me go to Las VegasPorter Robinson unveiled a new project late last year called Virtual Self. What it actually is is a bit puzzle-like so far, but he appears to be producing tender-yet-hard neotrance for vocalists of his own creation, with names like Pathselector and technic-Angel. What that hopefully means, in concrete terms, is even more opportunities for a great sonic innovator to experiment with the "human" voice. —DUNCAN COOPER

4. Valee

A post shared by Valee' (@valee) on

If everything goes according to plan, Valee will be one of 2018’s biggest breakout stars. The Chicago rapper bars up as deftly about getting money as he does about being gassy — and he almost always does it with his puppy in tow. Look out for his next project, out any day now on G.O.O.D. Music. —RAWIYA KAMEIR

5. Saweetie

A post shared by @saweetie on

The 21-year-old rapper from the Bay made a huge splash in 2017 with the Khia-sampling "Icy Girl" and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for the world. With its super short run time, hooks for days, and lots of memorable lines, her first single shows that Saweetie already knows how to play the game like a pro. —MYLES TANZER

6. Palberta
13 artists you need to know about in 2018 Palberta   Photo by Jane "Pain" Chardiet

The songs that Palberta’s Lily Konigsberg, Nina Ryser, and Ani Ivry-Block make are sometimes twitchy and noisy, sometimes drawn out and hinged on funky sing-talk vocals, and sometimes it’s all weirdo sounds I don’t know what to make of. And sometimes they make a Bee Gees classic sound kooky crazy. They are not an easy band to listen to by any means, but they are really fucking good — they’ve got the existential, experimental, un-fuck-withable ethos of CAN and Yoko Ono. Already darlings of the N.Y.C. noise scene and gaining growing critical attention, Palberta’s poised to have a great 2018, a year in which we’ll surely be needing some chaotic escape. —LEAH MANDEL

7. Lido Pimienta
13 artists you need to know about in 2018 Lido Pimienta   Photo by Alejandro Santiago

Colombian-Canadian singer and producer Lido Pimienta won the Polaris Prize in 2017 for La Papessa, her record of rich, hip-shaking political songs. She also stirred up some right-wing drama by requesting her audiences make space in the front for women of color, and continued to be a champion for Indigenous rights. Lido’s got a raging fire inside her, a demand to be heard, and a giant sense of humor to boot. She's beyond a force to be reckoned with. In 2018, she’ll release her third album, Miss Colombia, which will confront racism in her home country. Look out world, seriously. —LEAH MANDEL

8. Key Glock

A post shared by GLOCK17🌹 (@keyglock) on

Much like Paper Route Empire foreman Young Dolph, Key Glock raps with an authoritative wisdom well beyond his age. The 20-year-old Memphis rapper’s urgent delivery and commanding voice shone on his stellar debut mixtape Glock Season, quickly amassing hundreds of thousands of streams on various platforms. Street anthems “On My Soul” and “Winning” show us the raw motivational prowess of the PRE-signee’s bars, and should hold listeners off ’till the release of his upcoming Glock17 tape. —ALI SULIMAN

9. Asian Doll

At 21-years-old, the gutsy "Queen of Teens" is super confident and focused on becoming the best. Her bright-colored style matches her bold personality. Whether she's approaching a track with her loaded bars or a melodic sang-rap flow, the Dallas, Texas powerhouse says everything with her chest — especially on tracks like her "Lame Niggaz" freestyle. Asian Doll's 2017 EP Outtaspace was a bop, and from the looks of her Instagram captions and studio videos, she has more new heat coming in 2018. When it comes to her name, it's unclear if the rapper is actually of Asian descent. (In an interview with DJ Vlad, she stated that her father has some Asian roots but she was unsure of what specific ethnicity.) —LAKIN STARLING

10. Eartheater
13 artists you need to know about in 2018 Eartheater   Photo by Zev Rector

New York experimental artist Eartheater never not rips. Since dropping her first two records of left-field pop in 2015, she's been touring hard, but still found time to lend screamo vocals to Show Me The Body's mixtape, and wield a chainsaw for a special Wolf Eyes show. Having signed to PAN, this year promises to bring new sounds and shapes from the acrobatic performer. —RUTH SAXELBY

11. Mahalia
13 artists you need to know about in 2018 Mahalia   Photo by Alice Fisher

If you're already a fan of soulful U.K. artists like NAO and Jorja Smith, then Mahalia will be your next obsession. The Leicester-based singer has a gentle rasp to her voice, color blocks her outfits like a pro, and sings each of her slice-of-life lyrics with warm, unhurried pleasure.— OWEN MYERS

12. Flash

At the moment, Flash has got just one song out, but I'm hoping this year's gonna be an exciting one for him. The 19-year-old Lagos artist has been quietly working under the guidance of Nigerian producer Sarz. With DJ Tunez, the three shared "Get Up" in December, a pulsing party starter on which Flash makes his debut. On the track, his electrifying voice is skillfully unleashed, then reigned in, at all the right times, making known every nook and cranny of the song's magic. It's an impressive feat for such a young talent. Since the turn of the new year, I've seen him in the studio a few times on Instagram Stories. I hope that means more Flash is on the way. —NAZUK KOCHHAR

13 artists you need to know about in 2018

Jean-Sebastian Audet, a.k.a. Un Blonde, makes intimate lo-fi recordings that carry the weight of secrets held for a lifetime, now escaping through his songs. But part of the magic in 2017's Good Will Come To You, Audet's best album, is that the Montreal-based artist sings about the mundane and overlooked with the same hushed passion. 2018 will almost certainly be another year of overstimulation. but with a new album on the way, Un Blonde could deliver the remedy. —JORDAN DARVILLE

13 artists you need to know about in 2018