Ones To Watch May MOBO

New Artist Tips for 2016 | Jay Wrighter selects his Ones To Watch [Part 5]

2016 is looking to be an amazing year in music. Not just for commercial releases from the likes of Drake, Skepta, Big Sean and Jhene Aiko, the return of Craig David and more, but it's also an exciting time for up and coming artists. We might be disappointed that Skepta didn't feature on Drake's new album, VIEWS, but we did get a surprising remix of a funky house classic, Crazy Cousinz & Kyla's ‘Do You Mind’. 

But before all the above names were the hot topic of conversation, they all started from the bottom (excuse the pun) just like the 10 names I'm about to introduce you to, who I'm almost certain will be just as big within the next year or two.


In my eyes, one of the most underrated underground artists in the UK right now, South London's Proton is yet another name on the list of talent seeping out of Croydon. With his triple threat talent; he raps, sings and produces music that isn't just turn't up, but also allows you to take in his lyricism and subject matter in equal measures. You can expect nothing less than a palette of varied styles and sounds when it comes to Proton. From grime to laid back rap and, even more commercially sounding sounds viable for pop ears, Proton makes easy work of anything he touches. A true artist, he may, from first impressions, seem like an unassuming character but you would be right to expect otherwise as this is soon dismissed once he has a mic in his hand. There's never a dull performance with bags of energy and flows to match.



When it comes to UK underground music, London generally dominates whilst other cities find it hard to even get a whisper. The odd few names like Midlands collective StayFresh or Bugzy Malone have managed to grow a fanbase outside their region, though, and the introduction of Young T and Bugsey seems set to be no different. Representing Nottingham, it might be easy to quickly class them as just another rap duo but they're everything more than that. Not another gimmick or two guys trying to be the next Krept Konan, T and Bugsey have an exciting chemistry that allows them to formulate energetic music with infectious hooks and flows such as the anthem ‘Glistenin', a tune that keeps you coming back for more. Not only that but the two sound like they improve with each release, showing the development of their skills and growth in a span as short as 9 months. With continued consistency, I can see their names becoming regular mentions in the rap world and placing themselves and Nottingham firmly on the map as a city for hot new music. 



Once again, an act from Canada makes their way onto my list for a consecutive 5th time in a row. Now based in the Bay Area, ODIE, who describes himself as a hip-hop artist seeking to innovate and diversify the current musical landscape, does exactly that. Owning the varied style, with influences of his Nigerian upbringing, Gospel and Afrobeats play a key role in his sound.

It’s his calm and slightly raspy voice that grabs me but it's the types of unconventional melodies ODIE pulls out the bag that keeps you hooked; clashing his colourful background with hints of alternative, neo-soul atmospheres backed by hip-hop cadences and instrumentals to create his own unique hybrid style.  He seems to have found his own lane and mastered it creating vibes which couldn’t be naturally replicated by other artists.



Bringing a fresh sound to grime, Jevon see's no boundaries in his talent. A self-produced MC, Jevon, who has lived between London and Coventry, shows a versatility in his style of grime that you won't find in many others. With an ability to story tell and, also go bar for bar, he has something to offer for both types of fans; the Eskimo front row skankers and the more mellow lyrically favourable listeners. Still early in his career, Jevon has an impressive CV under his belt, including being supported by Annie Mac on her BBC Radio show. He has a catchy and impressive flow, reminiscent of old school grime but somehow still with a fresh aura.  


Ashton McCreight

LA-based Ashton McCreight first came to my attention just over a year ago with a collection of soothing but slightly up-tempo productions that pay ode to the glorious days of 90's R&B. Ashton infuses these classic sounds with 21st-century vibes, sometimes incorporating elements of trap and future beats into the mix. When he's not remixing and sampling, Ashton likes to opt for smooth stripped back R&B style productions but introduces new life to them with his signature thumps and bumps of snares, kicks, and high hats moulded in with bouncy bass lines. Ashton has worked with a number of artists and collectives over time, with one of the most recent projects seeing him create an official remix for M.O.


Jay Jay Musika

Born in Hackney to Filipino parents, Jay Jay Musika has already racked up 8 years’ worth of producing, honing his skills and perfecting his craft. With influences from all sides of the musical spectrum, he quotes the likes of Ryan LeslieSnarky, and Coldplay as some of his favourites. It's no surprise then that Jay Jay's offerings expand past just one genre as he is likely to go from producing an R&B beat to grime. Musika's varied sounds and elements show off a collaboration of diversified beats that many ears would be pleased to hear. With an already impressive CV, working with the likes of BonkazMs. Banks, and Shezar, expect to hear the name Jay Jay Musika a lot more in 2016. 


Last Night In Paris

A south London collective consisting of rappers, vocalists, painters, videographers, producers and a poet. Bursting onto the scene roughly 2 years ago, they were hard-hitting and hard to miss. Surprisingly, even with their early impact, they seem to have slipped under the radars of many. They also have what seems to be a healthy fan base around Europe, having been booked in cities across the continent for personal appearances and festivals. Having gone silent recently, following a steady flow of SoundCloud releases, it would seem as though the clique is resuming again to hit us with their artistic visuals worthy of the big screen. 


A US artist born and raised in Washington DC, Kelela gives a unique angle to her style of R&B; infusing dark, gritty urban sounds reminiscent of garage and grime over silky tones. A combination that at first doesn't seem like it would work on paper but with wise choices in the producers she works with, many being based in the UK, Kelela's formula seems to work every time. Whilst listening to her music it’s easy to almost find yourself skanking whilst zoning out to her vibes and storytelling.There's definitely something here that makes me wonder why Kelela star isn't bigger but with the forward-thinking direction of her sound, she may just be way ahead of her time but I’m almost certain it's only a matter of time before the rest of the world knows.



Singer/songwriter and rapper Tish, as she's more commonly known or Tish Hyman, grew up in the Bronx, New York before moving to LA where she would earn herself a publishing deal. As a battle rapper in her early days, lyrics have no doubt always been her strong point. Listening to her songs you discover the talent of her pen as she manages to arrive at the conclusion of a story with emotion and thought-provoking lines which, yet with their simplicity, still manage to get a full story across. Tish's amazing voice adds to the passion evoked from her lyrics. With similarities to the likes of Lauryn Hill, Tish has also written for names such as Kanye West, Kelly Rowland, and Diddy.

Catch up on our April list here and be sure to keep an eye out for our June edition. 


Jay Wrighter (@jaywrighter)