Top Of The Year: Okayplayer's Top 16 Artists To Watch For 2016!
Knxlwedge, sharing some wisdom for the new year.
2016 came in like a lion–okay, a lion with one wounded paw–and is now proceeding to rampage drunkenly through January. With an absurd presidential race underway and tensions at an all-time high both home and abroad, it feels like an anything-could-happen type of year. Every new day it feels as though the world is falling apart in ways inevitable and unexpected, and at the same time it feels as though people are speaking their minds and expressing their truest selves in an unprecedented moment of change. As wiser people than us have noted, weird times have often made for great art, so add this to the mix of confusion, frustration and expression that’s attended the new year so far: a whole swarm of could-be-life-changing musical releases, amassing just over the horizon.
If 2015 was a year of big statements, a return to revolution and a renewed commitment to art’s power to change the world, then the class of 2016 feels like it might be a more individualistic bunch, representing a multiplicity of ways to speak your clout, claim your own space and combat fuckery in your own secret language. You could call 2016’s new musical shots counter-microagressions. The artists on this list have gotten our attention with cameos and quiet releases, early-warning signs of greatness that have us watching their Soundcloud pages and e-mail lists eagerly, whether they are trusted musical friends (Knxwledge, Anna Wise) about to make their solo step or completely, utterly brand new new-comers (Kelsey Lu, Abra, Kadjha Bonet and more).
The 2016 watch list is too diverse, too innovative, too fierce to box into a “sound of 2016,” just yet. But then again there are common strains—soulful, dissonant, restless—that unite them all. With these artists acting as beacons and trailblazers, we predict 2016 may be the year that everybody forges their own path. But then again, it’s only January and if there’s one solid prediction that can be made about this end-of-an-era year…?
Anything can happen.
Read on for 16 disruptors talents that are ringing in the future sound of everywhere…