Every week of Pride month, we've used our tech to uncover some of the most exciting up-and-coming LGBTQI+ artists making waves right now. This week, we're bringing you five of the hottest hip-hop/R&B artists, including some familiar faces for those who keep up with our artist alerts.
Tazanian-American R&B singer-songwriter Kezia brings sexuality to the forefront of her hip-hop tinged R&B, with rap verses giving way to melodic choruses and trap drums layered underneath bright guitars. Fresh off the release of new EP ‘Claire’, Kezia has seen playlist support from Spotify in Fresh Finds: The Wave, as well as XL Recordings and Ministry of Sound. ‘Claire’ features the singles ‘south!’ and ‘megan fox’, which has amassed half a million streams since its release in October 2020.
Qhairo’s latest single ‘Glitter’, a lovelorn slice of neo R&B for fans of Anderson .paak and Duckwrth, has seen a tidal wave of editorial support since its release in May of this year. In addition to featuring in New Music Friday and Fresh Finds, Qhairo’s tracks sit in Pride Playlists including Black, Queer & Proud, Pride: UK & Ireland, and Work It, Own It. ‘Glitter’ also features in multiple Particle Detector playlists, including The Edge of Indie R&B and The Pulse of LGBTQ+ Hip Hop, suggesting that the Spotify algorithm has identified Qhairo one to watch within these genres.
Tia Carys’ single ‘Intro’ tells the story of the first time the rapper developed feelings for another woman, instantly providing a welcome new perspective atop familiar hip hop beats. This fresh viewpoint has attracted the attention of Ministry of Sound, as well as Spotify, who feature ‘Intro’ in the Galdem - Queens playlist. Despite releasing no new music in 2021 so far, Carys has managed to grow her Spotify following by 60% and finds her tracks in playlists with over 600k cumulative followers.
With his newer tracks pivoting from groovy R&B to a more indie-infused sound, singer-songwriter Reece is shaking things up in 2021. This shift in sound has seen Reece added to influential Spotify playlists such as Bedroom Pop - which features Boyish from our previous Pride round-up - Alternative Pride, and Evening Chill. Reece’s track ‘Last Time’ has racked-up millions of plays on YouTube, where it features on big channels like Taj Tracks and Mr Shades.
We first covered THE BLOSSOM when they sustained a 10 day hot streak off the back of debut EP ‘97 BLOSSOM’. Since then, THE BLOSSOM’s Spotify following has continued to climb, growing by a further 43%, alongside 11% growth on Instagram and tens of thousands of views on YouTube. Following the release of ‘97 BLOSSOM’, their Instrumental Ix Score - our measure of social and streaming performance - skyrocketed by 25 points from 31 to 56 and has continued to grow, currently sitting at 61.
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