10 New Artists You Need to Know: September 2016 - Rolling Stone
Home Music Music Lists

10 New Artists You Need to Know: September 2016

Blackpink, Noname, Dua Lipa, Young M.A and more

10 New Artists You Need to Know: September

Dua Lipa and Serpentwithfeet are two artists you need to know in September.

Once again, we talked to 10 of the hottest artists who are climbing the charts, breaking the Internet or just dominating our office stereos. This month: Chance the Rapper cohort Noname, K-pop trap crew Blackpink, "Ooouuu" hitmaker Young M.A and more.

Young M.A

Guy Blelloch

Young M.A

Sounds Like: Strolling down a Brownsville sidewalk with your girl and your pet pit bull

For Fans of: Bobby Shmurda, French Montana, 50 Cent

Why You Should Pay Attention: With her New York anthem "Ooouuu" cracking the Billboard Hot 100, Young M.A has brought an astonishingly original image to the rap world. She's a street rapper who talks unapologetically about sexing the ladies, downing bottles of Hennessey and bringing enough lyrical skills to "body" any rapper – male or female – that opposes her. "Ooouuu" is the latest peak for an artist who has been uploading her freestyles and tracks to the Internet since she was in high school. After forming RedLyfe with some Brooklyn friends, she released a freestyle over the late Young Pappy's "Chiraq" that has earned 5 million YouTube views since 2014. Other viral hits followed like "Girlfriend" and "Karma Krys," where she raps about her relationships with women with tough love and sensitivity. But it's "Ooouuu" that has broken her out of the NYC rap ghetto, earned remixes from veterans like Jadakiss and Nicki Minaj, and major labels offers from Universal and Atlantic. "Beyoncé used the record on her Instagram video," she says appreciatively. "That's the one that got to me the most."

They Say: Before "Ooouuu" took off, Young M.A got an offer to join the cast of the TV soap opera Empire. "I actually turned it down. I just didn't want to be known as a character from Empire before I was known as Young M.A," she says. "They was trying to make me, um … some type of girl name in there, I think it's Freda Gatz? The initial name was Betty Bars. Everything they wrote, like, everything [rapper/actress Bre-Z] is playing in the scenes was written for me. That's why she's from Brooklyn in the show. But I turned it down, that's why they got someone else to do it. It just wasn't for me."

Hear it for Yourself: On "Summer Story," Young M.A celebrates the warm months over a loop from Audio Two's "Top Billin'." Mosi Reeves

New Artists to know September Mija

Ryan Farber


Sounds Like: Every room at a killer warehouse party, shaken and stirred

For Fans of: The actual spirit of PLUR taken to its musical conclusion: love for all genres

Why You Should Pay Attention: As electronic dance music continues to contract into more and more exclusive microgenres, Mija's ready to huff, puff and blow all those walls down. The Phoenix-raised, L.A.-based producer's ethos came across loud and clear on a popular mixtape, Fk a Genre, which has garnered some 132,000-plus spins on Soundcloud. It eventually birthed parties of the same name, dedicated to booking big names to play out of their comfort zones. Now, the Fk a Genre tour is hitting 12 cities this fall featuring acts like A-Trak, Lunice, Kill the Noise, Boogie, Joey Purp and Jack Beats

Mija's original material, too, happily skips across tight confines. A single track might draw on sounds from the drum'n'bass from her early raving days, the house on which she cut her DJing teeth and the new vibes she picked up in L.A.

She Says: "Moving to L.A., I got really into hip-hop and trap music and basically a lot of the sounds you would maybe normally see in a festival. For whatever reason, I was so involved in vinyl and house at the time, I didn't even know that I liked trap. [The expansion in musical taste was] probably the opposite for me that it is for most people.

"In the studio, like to start with just words, depending on how I'm feeling. I'm huge into poetry. I have so much poetry that I've written, so I love writing words down and figuring out melodies I can sing over them. Whether or not I use those vocals or not, it really helps build a foundation."

Hear for Yourself: Mija's new track for OWSLA – where all the cool, genre-hopping L.A. kids are seemingly landing these days – sees her teaming up with labelmates Vindata for a chirping, stuttering slab of optimism that alternates between old-school jazz'n'bass breaks, major-key synths and sugar-rush vocal snippets. Arielle Castillo

Old Blood

Heather Fipps

Old Blood

Sounds Like: Amy Winehouse jamming with Kyuss at a desert LSD party

For Fans of: Black Sabbath, Blood Ceremony, Windhand

Why You Should Pay Attention: This Southern California-based doom-psych quintet has been garnering major raves from the metal blogosphere thanks to their newly released self-titled debut. The primal punch and serpentine swirl of the band's guitar-bass-organ-drum attack mesh beautifully with the commanding clean vocals of vocalist Feathers, whose jazz- and blues-influenced stylings soar above the crunch. And this is all before you attend their theatrical live show that includes smoke machines, psychedelic projections and a pair of corpse-painted dancers – the Rigormortettes – who perform ribbon and hula-hoop routines before ritually "killing" Feathers at the end of it.

They Say: "People have said our live shows are like being on a drug trip without any drugs actually being involved," laughs bassist and co-founder Octopus. "Audiences don't know what to expect, but they love it; we often leave them with their mouths hanging open. But it's been kind of interesting trying to book the band, because we're so different.

"We wanted to have that sense of a fourth wall, that sense of theater and mystery. There's no mystery with so many doom and stoner bands; it's like, 'That dude looks like the guy who works on your car!' Which is cool, and we respect that; but at the same time, we feel like some of the genre has become derivative, and we wanted to stake out some new territory. We absolutely are part of the stoner/doom world – but when you're stoned, sometimes you see things differently!"

Hear for Yourself: A fuzzed-out journey to the center of the psyche, "Glowplug" – from the band's self-titled debut – impressively showcases Old Blood's power and dexterity. Dan Epstein

New Artists to know September Sarah Potenza

Sarah Potenza

Sounds Like: A Janis Joplin-Aretha Franklin hybrid with a mic … but a Lucinda Williams-Bonnie Raitt hybrid with a pen

For Fans of: Alabama Shakes, B.B. King, Mavis Staples

Why You Should Pay Attention: After Potenza's spellbinding blind audition yielded a four-chair turn on NBC's The Voice, a visibly moved Pharrell Williams told her she was "giving this generation something they've never seen before." Potenza is to the blues what Adele is to pop: a colossal-voiced singer who merges her old-school influences with a modernistic sound. Her new album, Monster, solidifies endless Janis Joplin vocal comparisons but also colors between the lines of Memphis blues, Nashville Americana, New Orleans funk and L.A. punk. Its lyrics are personal and personally therapeutic, as she empowers herself through tunes denouncing industry naysayers and embracing her fuller-figured, boisterous self.

She Says: "It's hard for a size 16, 36-year-old woman," says Potenza of catching a break in the music industry. But she's come to realize those numbers actually work in her favor. "I've never opened a door with my looks. Because I've always relied on my personality and my talent, I've really flourished and feel strong and confident. I don't know how to get someone to buy me a drink in a bar, but I'll sing you a song!"

Hear for Yourself: "The Cost of Living" is like a powerful sermon delivered in a smoky blues club. Beville Dunkerley

New Artists to know September Sarah Potenza

Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa

Sounds Like: A sleek and trendy party without an exclusive invite list

For Fans of: Amy Winehouse, Nelly Furtado, Jessie Ware

Why You Should Pay Attention: "Hotter Than Hell" is a hit in the U.K. and the Warner Bros.-signed synth-popper will be touring with Troye Sivan soon. At 15 years old, Dua Lipa moved back to her hometown of London on her own after living with her family in her parents' hometown of Kosovo. "That was just when I really decided to take my fate into my own hands and was like, 'Okay, I'm actually going to try and do this,'" she recalls. Thanks to a manager she found through social media, Lipa spent five days a week in the studio in between a job as a restaurant hostess. Now, the 21-year-old is ready for the release of her self-titled debut album in February 2017. "[I remember] being like, 'I really want to get up on stage and perform these songs. Now I'm currently living that and actually doing what I always wanted to do."

She Says: Lipa's music fuses together everything from soul to EDM but there is one genre that has always had her heart. "I've always been such a fan of pop music," she says. "The first album I was given when I was quite young was the Whoa, Nelly! album by Nelly Furtado. After, I also got the Missundaztood album by Pink. That's when I was like, 'Oh my god, I want to be just like them!' I love the way Pink has especially grown in her career. I admire her a lot. I feel like whatever they do or put out, I'm a fan of. I'll always listen to it. I think because I loved them when I was so young, that has left such an imprint that really inspired me in what I do right now."

Hear for Yourself: "Blow Your Mind (Mwah)" is a sassy kiss-off. Brittany Spanos

YP Jim


Sounds Like: Swooning falsetto, leftfield R&B and dark electronic drama

For Fans of: Björk, Anohni, Arca

Why You Should Pay Attention: Brooklyn-based Josiah Wise is a unique personality living in the worlds of both future-soul R&B and post-club electronic music. For his commanding EP, Blisters, he teamed with the Haxan Cloak – the artist/producer known for booming ambient doom as well as studio work with Björk – and Tri Angle Records, the hip label behind crinkling, creeping music by Evian Christ, Lotic and Rabit. Wise also tips his cap to R&B star Brandy and the legacy of gospel – not the first points of reference one might imagine for an artist with a pentagram and the word "suicide" tattooed on his head.

He Says: On the moniker: "The name is my passport, my license, my permission to be the most seductive being that I can be. People ask what pronouns I use – I typically use "he" for myself – but that conversation is not that interesting to me, even though I think it's important. To me it's important to see how I can be seductive as a person. It's not about gender, politics or sexuality. When I think about snakes and serpents, I think about fluidity and resourcefulness – this agility to move through spaces in a powerful way."

Hear for Yourself: Earthy piano sounds commune with alien electronics in "Flickering," a song in which Serpentwithfeet's sweet but venomous voice unfurls. Andy Battaglia

Pure Disgust

Angela Owens

Pure Disgust

Sounds Like: A "Hulk smash" to white supremacy

For Fans of: Fucked Up, Negative Approach, Bad Brains

Why You Should Pay Attention: There is a new wave of D.C. hardcore – referred to as NWODCHC, which NPR confirms is a real acronym – and Pure Disgust is at the helm. Formed by a group of teens in 2013, the band's self-titled debut offers a crash course in Eighties hardcore, from the gnarly buildups of British punks like Blitz to the boot-stomping righteousness of Dischord's founders. Yet, whereas Minor Threat's Ian MacKaye wrote "Guilty of Being White" from his experience in majority-black D.C. schools, frontman Rob Watson writes of being black at those same schools in "Pipeline": "School to prison/Raised to fail/How do you escape/The poverty that you're in?" Although Watson asserts his songs are driven more by personal experience than political protest, he speaks uncompromisingly, through gritted teeth, to the harrowing position of being a hyper-criminalized black youth in the United States. Perhaps in homage to their D.C. punk predecessors, Bad Brains, the cover of Pure Disgust's new album illustrates bombs raining down on the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. 

They Say: Regarding D.C. punk legends who got their starts in the 1980s, "They're mythologized to the outsiders of the city," says 23-year-old Watson. "Like, Alec MacKaye [of the Faith] comes to shows semi-regularly and it's no big deal for us. We all try really hard to be as inclusive as possible. The bands that are coming up and are a part of the [New Wave] are amazing and spectacular. … Stand Off, Red Death, Protester, Kombat, Guilt Parade, Genocide Pact, Stuck Pigs, and every other project that's about to come out. I'm excited to be a part of that."

Hear for Yourself: Guitarist Ace Mendoza slinks into "White Silence" with some tidy, retro licks before stirring up a gyre of thrashy mayhem corralled by drummer Robin Zeijlon. Suzy Exposito

Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.