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The Hot List 2017: The People and Trends We’re Talking About the Most

From Cardi B to future A-list actors to the thinkers and creators who could save the world, here’s who and what made Rolling Stone’s annual list

The Hot List 2017: The People and Trends We're Talking About the Most

Welcome to our annual Hot List – our tour of the most exciting corners of pop culture, where the weirdest and freshest ideas are coming from. We check out the voices that are giving us reason to get excited about the future – the musicians, the filmmakers, the activists. If anyone sums up the state of hotness in 2017, it’s our cover heroine Cardi B – as the great woman herself would say in “Bodak Yellow,” only the real can relate.

But Cardi is our Hot Issue cover girl because she’s a lot more than just the year’s most thrilling pop rebel. She’s a philosopher who understands that in a year like 2017, a year jam-packed with dread and terror and minute-by-minute insanity, a year that keeps bombarding you with reasons to give up and hide away and tune out, realness is resistance. The stars of our Hot Issue tap into that realness – it’s there in the beats of Latin trap, it’s there in the hard-ass comedy of Tiffany Haddish, it’s there in the deceptively smooth Swedish grooves of Northern Electronics. It means young musicians like Lukas Nelson or Portugal. The Man looking for innovative ways to build on the past. It means hearing new resonance in elder voices from back in the day, whether that means Michael McDonald or Freddie Mercury or the indestructible Britney Spears. In 2017, hotness is not just a matter of how you sound or how you move or what you build. It’s about how you envision the future. And as Cardi would say, it means walking boldly into that future, even if that means walking in bloody shoes. Walk on. 

Rolling Stone Hot Issue List 2017 Read

George Nebieridze

Hot Scandinavian Scene: Northern Electronics

Stockholm label Northern Electronics has developed a windfall of intriguing, moody and harsh electronic music: industrial dance (Varg), dubby bass (CA2+), snow-crunched ambient (Isorinne), deep techno (Acronym, Korridor) and noise (Vit Fana). “We don’t consider all these different parts. It’s the same vibe,” says Anthony Linnell, who runs the label along with Jonas Rönnberg, the man behind Varg. “It’s kind of boring here,” says Rönnberg, adding that Stockholm’s long, dark winters and short, bright summers drive creativity. “I tried to make an R&B album,” he recalls. “It doesn’t sound like one at all. It’s the same with Northern Electronics. No matter what you try to do, it’s more of a mindset than actual genres.” C.R.W.

Rolling Stone Hot Issue List 2017 Read

Illustration by John Ritter

Hot TV Revival: Literally Everything

Today’s rerun is the reboot. With 500-plus
original scripted series scattered across a chaotic landscape of channels and
streaming services, television producers have learned the wrong lessons from
the film industry and are running for the safety of established franchises. New
versions of old shows either on-air or in development include Will &
Grace, American Idol, S.W.A.T., Dynasty, Miami Vice, TRL, MacGyver, The
Munsters, Full House, Star Trek, Duck Tales, Charmed, Queer Eye for the
Straight Guy, The Jetsons, The Gong Show, Love Connection
and Fear
. Sure, Twin Peaks was bracingly weird, and no, a new Sabrina
the Teenage Witch
set in the next town over from Riverdale isn’t exactly
going to hurt anyone. But at some point, we have to ask: What groundbreaking
original work might we be missing out on because a generation’s best
storytellers are essentially becoming cover bands? Not all nostalgia is
harmless, as the phrase “Make America Great Again” demonstrates.
Sometimes, to make room for something better, you’ve got to throw out the
trash. L.H.

Robert Beatty

Hot Album Artist: Robert Beatty

People like to tell Robert Beatty that his cover art
for Tame Impala’s Currents reminds them of specific experiences – usually involving DMT. “It’s weird,” says the in-demand Kentucky-based graphic designer. “I love psychedelic art, but I’ve never taken psychedelic drugs.” His digitally airbrushed style, inspired by experimental animation and advertising’s neon-cool absorption of psychedelia in the Seventies, is making album art epic again. Kesha recruited him to give Rainbow its otherworldly look. “I was trying not to make it too Boston or ELO,” he says. “But it’s kinda hard to put a spaceship on a record cover and not have it reference that.” C.R.W.

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