To promote higher turn-out for the midterm elections, the often-reclusive superstar, Frank Ocean, surprised fans by airing three episodes of his show, “blonded RADIO,” on Beats 1 earlier this month. While the show is usually hosted by Vegyn and Roof Access, Ocean joined them to play some of his favorite songs of the moment and talk politics.
Some fans speculate that “blonded RADIO” was not only a great opportunity to support the midterm elections. Cryptically, Ocean teased at the beginning of the year, “If you liked 2017, you’ll love 2018,” via Tumblr. While he has released his heartbreaking remake of the Breakfast at Tiffany’s classic, “Moon River,” fans believe there is more left to his promise. Now that the year is nearly over, many wonder if “blonded RADIO” was a way to generate buzz for some forthcoming new music from Ocean.
Frank Ocean’s “blonded RADIO” show featured artists ranging from yesteryear pop juggernauts like Paul McCartney to unknown rising acts like ARTHUR, giving listeners a rare glance into Ocean’s influences. After listening to Ocean’s playlist, we have picked out five rising artists you do not want to miss.
A sort of Jack-of-all-trades, Mk.Gee is the songwriter, singer, guitarist, and producer behind all of his work. Blending psychedelia with surf rock and funk, Mk.Gee seemingly descended from artists like Mac Demarco and Tame Impala, yet has fostered his own distinct voice. The first artist featured on the “blonded RADIO” playlists, the former USC guitar major has certainly captured the attention of Ocean. With a new EP titled Fool and features on Spotify’s “Fresh Finds” and “All New Indie,” Mk.Gee is certainly an artist to watch.
Featured Song: “You”
Chicago rapper and poet, Noname is heralded by many tastemakers as one of the best rappers in the game. With a show stopping feature on Chance the Rapper’s breakout, Acid Rap, in 2013, the young artist did not release her own music until her debut album, Telefone, nearly three years later. It was an instant indie hit and proved that some things are worth the wait. Her quiet confidence and smooth delivery has defined her as an artist in a league of her own, blazing the trail for socially conscious jazz-rap.
Featured Song: “Window” [ft. Phoelix]
The smallest artist on our list, ARTHUR, is a diamond in the rough. Blending bedroom pop with glitch-y, experimental vocal effects, ARTHUR sounds like no one else. His work bleeds with a manic, untamed energy, searching for the right way to express himself. His most recent EP, Woof Woof, was written in a Bon Iver-esque period of self-imposed isolation. He lived in a cabin in the woods of Pennsylvania to focus his efforts solely on his craft. ARTHUR’s mantra is, “The best version of your reality is the one you create,” a sentiment which is certainly echoed across his work.
Featured Song: “Sweet Memory”
Tierra Whack is on fire. In 2018, she released her debut audio/visual album, Whack World, to widespread acclaim, opened for Ms. Lauryn Hill, and played a set at Tyler, the Creator’s popular festival, Camp Flog Gnaw. What makes this rapper/singer so compelling is that she is unafraid to take risks with her art. Her debut album features fifteen one-minute masterpieces with accompanying music videos, each song giving a small taste of her potential but leaves you wanting more. Tierra Whack’s whimsical, daring flow makes her one of hip-hop’s most captivating new stars.
Featured Song: “Hookers”
With a sound that been likened to Death Grips and early Childish Gambino, JPEGMAFIA is an artist who’s just getting started. Known for delivering captivating music videos and high energy raps, JPEGMAFIA is the project of Barrington Devaughn Hendricks, a veteran who began producing music during his military stay in Japan. After gaining local buzz in Tokyo with his first group, Ghostpop, he returned to the U.S. to start working as the solo artist, JPEGMAFIA. The artist has gained critical acclaim in 2018 for his poignant political raps and murky, lo-fi beats.
Featured Song: “DD Form 214″