It’s safe to say Los Angeles had an incredible 2018. Artists in the city are hungrier than ever as the wins are starting to roll in, and as a result we’ve been blessed with treasure troves of new music at every turn. Whether they were high-energy cuts for the function, or breezier sounds perfect for California sunshine, there was always something out there for you to sink your teeth into, and now co-signs from artists like Drake and Meek Mill are putting even more eyes on the city heading into 2019.
That being said, it’s time to look back on the past 12 months and separate the best from the best, as well as acknowledge the artists about to go for the gold in 2019. Without further ado, here are the ten names we’re most excited for as we approach the new year.
KB Devaughn in a short time has carved a lane for himself in the LA underground, with co-signs from established Compton artists like Boogie and Buddy. His gravely, rumbling voice is the perfect conduit for his hard and varied style; he can do the street shit, the lyrical shit, while still throwing in melodies that stick in your head.
KB’s the type of artist that convinces you in the first couple bars of what he has going for him. His talent is apparent, and pushed to the forefront of his tracks as he lucidly tells stories of his life. His beat selection reveals that he cares not just about his bars but also the textures in which they’re wrapped, with celestial vocal samples and horns layered in reverb. Everything he does is soulful.
What’s really gonna take him to new heights in 2019 is his consistency, with his features proving just as powerful as his solo tracks. His name on a track is already a guarantee, and truthfully, that’s what an artist needs.
MyCrazyRo is relatively sparse with his releases compared to the rest of the city, which is probably the main reason he hasn’t truly taken off yet. His most recent release “Freak On” has racked up almost half a million SoundCloud streams in the five months since its release, and it’s easy to see why with it’s gliding hook and icy temperature that sets a chilling yet comfortable atmosphere. Head over to his instagram to see how much love his fans show him on every post; as soon as the amount of music catches up to the amount of comments, MyCrazyRo might be the next one to launch himself into wider recognition outside of the city.
HeyDeon is in his own lane, and it’s a good one to be in. The Long Beach native gifted us with and alternative gem in Long Story Short, filled with bright sonics and a soothing warmth that instantly distinguishes him from the pack. On songs like “UrName,” he’s pushing you to be at your most confident self, while on “Worry,” he wants you to feel loved as he pours out his heart with passionate, endearing vocals. Place it next to his album Found from earlier this year and it’s easy to see his vision, and to get excited for everything else he has in store. If 2018 was the year that Deon formally introduced himself, we have a feeling that 2019 will be the year people truly take notice.
Money Comes First for Westside $tew, and he’s sure to let you know on Fidel Cashflow Vol. 2. The impressive mixtape shows $tew’s ability to slide his snarling flow over a diverse beat selection, keeping the spotlight with his unflinching delivery and rabid ad-libs. “Can’t smoke no paper to this,” he announces at the start of “Death Before Dishonor,” and he’s not wrong; the luxurious production is much too elegant for anything less than the best.
Huey Briss has a style that feels at odds with a lot of today’s music. It’s reminiscent of the overly-nostalgic, boom-bap backpack feeling, although the difference though is Huey can spark such an energy without sounding corny. A large reason for this is his words are fully captivating, as he speaks from a place of scorn and rebellion that feels as authentically anti-establishment as anything we hear from contemporary music. His voice and his perspective are very rooted in our modern struggles, with cutting lines like “Hollywood so fake, at least I’m good in the ghetto” expressing this point. Huey has been hardened by the shit he’s experienced, and it shows in his music.
The strength and popularity of his Black Wax turned his conscious words onto a larger platform, and for that, we’re confident 2019 will be big for him, as his perspective becomes ever more vital in an increasingly mindless cultural moment.
The Princess of Compton has a knack for how to make hits, with her sparkling melodic delivery adding new layers to her songs. In 2018, she released several singles such as “Time For It” that speak to her focus on her own journey, and doing everything necessary to ensure she gets what she wants out of life. She followed it up in November with “Spotlight,” a more upbeat cut that sees her channeling Ludacris on the hook and repurposing it for the LA sunshine. Expect more from her in 2019, as she looks to build on her momentum and build her numbers sooner rather than later.
Trap Des is hard as fuck, and we’re not just being biased because he dropped a track about us. The man is dope, and like he said himself, “pop off at the mouth, and I’mma launch the missile.” After he delivered more heat on his recent project The Legend, we’re waiting patiently for him to blow up in 2019.
It’s summer 2018, and I’m sitting at home kind of sick when I get a phone call from a friend. Through the speaker, he yells out “Bruh, you hear this? You hear this bruh?” All I can hear is Rozay Royce exclaiming “bitch I’m from Figueroa,” and when I ask where he is, he told me, “We in Sam’s bruh, they’ve played this shit like 5 times! Rozay about to blow!”
My friend isn’t wrong; after a good string of releases in 2018 and several viral freestyle videos, 2019 is set to be a big year for Rozay Royce.
Johnny Rose kept himself busy in 2018, dropping NSA America earlier this summer and following it up with a barrage of singles in the months since. His hard-hitting, no-nonsense tracks rarely waste time in getting to the point, staying true to the city’s sound in both the production and the flow. Johnny Rose has found his formula, and it seems to be working -- now, we’re just waiting for even more.
AFN Peso lets the music speak for him, and there’s plenty of people who are listening. You won’t find a single post on his instagram or even his account on twitter, but on each of his 2018 releases you’ll hear the stories of his life told through his resolved, confident delivery. Co-signed with features from Shoreline Mafia and an EP produced entirely by Ron-Ron, Peso’s positioned himself next to some of the biggest artists in the city, and it shouldn’t be long before his own name is ratcheting upward as well.