Counting down the artists who stole the music scene in one year has never sounded more interesting. From a mixture of rap trio’s to rock/hip-hop underdogs, to what the music marketers would call the Cash Cows of this generation who will undoubtedly earn success no matter what, e.g. the Queen B herself. Cash cows will generate profit no matter how generic or risky they become. And sometimes, no matter how much we may love their song, we somehow become sick of its constant radio play and it popping up on every music channel we flick through, even sneaking its way into our YouTube auto-playlist! Here are the 6 hottest rising, relevant, and returning artists of 2017.
6. Cardi B
Cardi B is breaking rules and strutting her way through the charts with sass. Her hit Bodak Yellow broke a record not seen since 1998, by being the longest-running #1 song by a solo female rapper on the charts, lasting three weeks. Lauryn Hill’s Doo Wop was #1 for two weeks running in 1998, and since the digital landscape has immensely changed since then, Bodak Yellow received over 47.6 million U.S streams alone! With features like No Limit and MotorSport to her name, and emerging tracks like La Modelo with Ozuna, and Bartier Cardi with 21 Savage, 2018 is looking up for this Bronx rapper. In my books, Cardi B is the breakthrough female rapper to watch out for.
Migos have reached unanticipated success with their Metro Boomin hit Bad and Boujee early this year. Since then, their album Culture soared to #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts. The now distinguishable act featured the likes of Travis Scott, DJ Khaled, and Gucci Mane on the album, and are set to release the sequel Culture II in January 2018. In an interview this year, Migos claimed that they have changed the hip-hop game and set the standards where many artists are now copying their style. Whether that statement is true or not, one thing still stands, Migos stamped their feet right in the middle of the music scene this year. From featuring 1/3 of Migos on multiple successful tracks to attending A-List fashion shows, I have a feeling 2017 was just the beginning for the trio and their album Culture II is surely going to equal or even beat the success of their last.
4. Comeback Season
This year saw two iconic comebacks, after three whole years, the big Cash Cows Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran were back with albums that seemed to easily break records. While sheering the charts swiftly (Get it?), the sixteen tracks on Ed Sheeran’s Divide seemed to simultaneously get comfortable in the Australian Top 40 charts. In a similar way, Taylor Swift’s Reputation also broke streaming and sales records, being the first woman of 2017 to top the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Her album even stole Ed Sheeran’s album’s crown by overtaking the biggest selling album of 2017!
3. Post Malone
Post Malone has reached immense success over the past year and a half. Despite his album Stoney not receiving much praise in 2016, 2017 took a whole new turn for him. His hip-hop single Rockstar battled the UK charts with Camila’s Havana on a weekly basis, he dominated the charts in the latter part of the year. And emerging songs from his 2016 album are popping up on the charts also! To end his year on a high, Post Malone also became the most listened to artist on Spotify in December, a massive achievement in a world of music streaming. After hits like White Iverson and Congratulations, there is certainly more fire to come from Austin Richard Post.The world’s obsession with Rockstar confirmed that the rap genre is ready to take over chart success in 2018. The achievements from the likes of Kendrick Lamar’s album and Lil Uzi Vert’s XO Tour Llif3 this year roared triumph and victory that the world is beginning to appreciate the rap and hip-hop genres.
2. Camila Cabello
Camila has had an exceptional year as a solo artist. After her exit from Fifth Harmony, she and Machine Gun Kelly bagged a double platinum record by the RIAA. Followed by her single Crying In The Club, which bagged a Gold certification, shortly proceeded by the unprecedented success of her single Havana which also got a double Platinum certification. Havana has made its impact in the world despite being almost declined by her record label. This year, Camila has broken records without an album even out yet! She became the second most listened to artist on Spotify after Post Malone and Havana reached #1 on iTunes in over 38 countries and is still hanging on in some. Her next single Never Be The Same has already gained radio play before its actual radio debut and has gained the top place for Billboard’s top debut. After a busy year of award shows and supporting Bruno Mars on his world tour, she is sure to begin 2018 continuing the high. Her debut album ‘Camila’, which Benny Blanco, Ryan Tedder, and Pharrell Williams worked on with her, is expected to do well on the charts and it would be no surprise at all. January 12th here we come.
1. Ariana Grande
After her world tour came to an end in September, her music made an impact on the world in 2017. Giving the tragic and upsetting circumstances that further allowed this to happen, Ariana Grande showed the impact of music in an abstruse way that brought the world of music together. Following the sad bombing at her Manchester concert, Ariana fought back with the one thing that connects us all responding to the victims of the attack in an extraordinary way. By organising the One Love Manchester concert in the city where the attack happened, various artists performed to show their support and love. Ariana managed to raise almost £10 million in donations and ticket sales. 50,000 people took centre news headlines as they sung Don’t Look Back In Anger, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Ahead of the concert, Ariana re-released her 2015 single One Last Time and donated all sales to the We Love Manchester Emergency Funds. A truly inspiring artist created a pinnacle musical moment for a generation since Bob Geldof’s Band Aid concert in 1985.
Amongst the shining stars, there are artists who have worked tirelessly this year. To name a few, the acclaimed Little Mix toured the world and joined Ariana Grande for part of her US tour. They also released a Platinum edition of their successful Glory Days album. Also having finished his world tour is the eminent Shawn Mendes. His raspy and powerful vocals had us all hooked this year, and his hit single There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back was a worldwide success.
Big 2017 comebacks include Selena Gomez, a small but energizing dose of Rihanna in Wild Thoughts ruled the summer. Frank Ocean returned, and after a tumultuous few years, Kesha made her comeback and slayed those vocals like we’ve never heard before. But 2017 was undoubtedly the year of Nicki Minaj features, over the year she has featured on tracks by Future, Jason Derulo, Migos, Katy Perry, Yo Gotti & Lil Uzi Vert, and the list can go on. But we cannot forget the solo risings of the biggest boyband in the world One Direction, and how Harry, Niall, Louis, and Liam each completed their own solo projects. We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings for these four boys and for all the artists mentioned!