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Sounds that will shape next year...

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, December 19, 2005
So 2005 was a mixed year for all concerned within the scene, but there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful and look forward to 2006. Here is a selection of albums to look forward to, people who will be big next year and some up and comers to keep an eye out for.

Ne-Yo - One of Jay-Z’s first signings to Def Jam was the man who wrote Mario’s Let Me Love You and is in demand to work with others looking for a hit. Next year will see his first album and if the singles Stay With Me and I’m Sick are anything to go by then the likes of Bobby Valention, Mario and Omarion will have to watch out.

Pharrell – In My Mind Album – This shouldn’t be on this list but for the record company putting the release date back to next year to see if Skateboard P can be a success as a solo artist. One disc is Hip-Hop and already you will have heard Can I Have It Like That, while the other is made up of R’n’B with Angel the likely next single.

Mpho Skeef – With her blend of catchy lyrics and neo-soul Mpho Skeef has done enough this year to wet the appetite for her debut LP with work for Ty and Baby J, while her track Hide From Us is one of the years little gems. Expect more live performances as well after pleasing on various support duties this year.

Nathan – One of the things about music journalism is that any new artists will always find themselves compared to someone already grabbing the attention. Case in point with Nathan who has been likened to the UK version of Usher. Both of the singles we’ve heard from him this year didn’t receive much backing but were up there with the best of American product flooding the airwaves. A record company needs to take the plunge and support this project, as the man really deserves to be a success.

Sa-Ra – These American funksters have been snapped up by Kanye West for his Good label and will be making headway next year with their debut set and working with some of Hip-Hop and Souls big names. If you can’t wait till then hunt down their excellent EP Second Time Around, which includes appearances from J Dilla and Pharoah Monch.

Rell- After years of guest appearances and tracks that don’t see the light of day Rell is finally getting the push his talent deserves. If he wasn’t on the Rap label Roc-A-Fella he would have almost certainly released a couple of albums by now. But with the choosing of sides by their artists in the split between Jay-Z and Dame Dash, Rell will be one of the first to release an album through The Dame Dash Music Group. Scott Storch produced a monster R’n’B hit for Mario and in Last Ride has done the same for Rell that has this LP down as one of the hotly anticipated for next year.

Ryhmefest – Has been causing a stir over here after a recent promo visit after what he alleged were misquotes in a HHC magazine interview where he stuck it too Diplomats affiliates S.A.S. His debut single Brand New has been ticking all the right boxes though with fellow Chicago pal Kanye West returning the favour for working on the Grammy nominated Jesus Walks by providing the hot sample that runs through the track. Plus with the backing of Mark Ronson’s new imprint behind him another star from Chicago is going to shine.

Grime – The sound isn’t so underground after the year it’s had yet didn’t make the moves it may have expected with album releases from Kano, Roll Deep and Lethal B selling respectably but not quite catching on with people not familiar with the scene. Still the offspring of UK Garage and Hip-Hop is one the most exciting things this country have produced, even catching the attraction from the US and beyond. Next year Dizzie Rascal will be releasing his third album, Maths and English while Wiley will be coming with his second – both should move the scene forward. It will be years before the scene can sell the big numbers but 2006 should see the scene further develop. People aren’t waiting for fat business minded men with no understanding of the scene to approach and are self-financing mix-tapes and their own Guerrilla marketing. With the various street DVD’s the scene is being documented and reaching people from outside of London and having people get onto the net to download pirate radio sets. There is still a lot of work to put in and there is a lot to be pleased about this year, but 2006 is massive for the scene to move forward. Finally, can we have more nights put on, it seems events are popping up everywhere from Belguim to France to the US, yet there is less and less over here.

Baby Blue – With her two mixtapes Out Of The Blue dropping in 05 Baby Blue has gone from promising newcomer too fully fledged star with her full long player set to follow. Whether it was dropping knowledge over a Hip-Hop beat or switching up to Grime little Rachel is one of the nicest females on the mic and can also hold her own with the males as witnessed on her guest work this year.

Sway – If this were GQ then Sway would get the man of year award. Leaving the others behind with his professionalism and work ethic, Sway is a name on everyone’s lips after the singles Flo Flashion and Up Your Speed from his two This Is My Promo mix CD’s – which were later put together as one complete package and into the stores of HMV and Virgin. This Is My Demo is out February 6th and promises a lot, Sway has the potential and mentality to become a breakout star for the scene and with the right support should go on to sell more than Skinnyman’s Council Estate Of Mind.

Lady Soveriegn – You either lover her or hate her but she will no doubt make a big impact next year with her debut expected and input from Jay-Z who signed her early this year.

Busta Rhymes – The last couple of albums have always promised so much from Busta but he’s always let us down. 2006 is looking likely to be the year we get that complete great album with a new energy after signing with Aftermath, a hot new single from Swizz Beats that sounds like nothing you’ve heard before and even a new hairdo with the trademarks dreads being chopped after 17 years!

Klashnekoff – The collection of singles (Sagas Of…) and the DJ Skully mixtape (Focus Mode) have been spreading the word but Klashnekoff could eclipse Blak Twang and Skinnyman’s previous successes with his first proper album seeing the light of day in 2006.


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