Updated: Jan 1, 2021
Happy New Year! Finally the earth had made its rotation around what was perhaps the most hellish year ever. As we enter this new year of unsureness and concern, there’s at least one thing that actually grants us some solace—knowing that more music is coming from Detroit in the new year. We have some artists who we’ve been waiting to drop and we have at least a decent amount of proof that we may see them releasing in 2021. Here’s our watchlist for this new year, in no particular order.
15. Reginald Hawkins
Reginald Hawkins had perhaps one of the most commanding house records this year in “Fresh”, a fuckin fantabolous night-scene groove that pushed forward Detroit’s constant conversation with house music forward. In December, Reginald dropped in to say that a project is almost completed, so it’s a safe bet that it’s coming in 2021.
Check out "FRESH" below;
We’re always going to enter a new year anticipating more music from Supercoolwicked. Wicked‘s music is commanding and has perhaps some of the most legs out of anyone in the city. High Gloss is still a frequent in our rotation and Supercoolwicked really featured on some awesome projects this year such as RAPS, Soil to Sky, and From Millie With Love. Plus, we’ve still got the music video for “Juliet” to be excited for in the new year.
Check out "Juliet" below:
Dawg, we just love what Asante does. “Lotion” was one of our favorite records we posted this year, and we already have confirmation from Asante himself that more music is coming in 2021. Afrobeats continues to grow with each year, and seeing it emerge from Detroit is such an awesome feeling and testament to the city’s diaspora/community. Here’s to hoping we see an EP/album in 2021!
Check out "Lotion" below!
It seems like we’ve been waiting on an extended project from Coastwilde for years now. But we now know DIE BAD is set for release in 2021. We are also lucky to say that we’ve heard much of the project already, and can say that it’s everything people love about Coastwilde. Comfortably melancholy on slower records but also flagrantly rager on uptempo tracks, we think that this upcoming project is the perfect package presentation of the Coastwilde value proposition. We’re pumped for everyone else to hear it.
Check out "$unny" below:
We previously covered djroxxandra's record "Functioning" here on Altnubian and we were super curious if more music was coming from Roxx in the new year. And surely, the Gods heard us, because a new collaborative project with Swoozydolphin dubbed Shadows is set for release in 2021. Given that we're pass the turn of the year, we're guessing we're gonna hear Shadows a lot more like in January.
Check out "Functioning" below:
10. Nova Blu
Nova Blu has spent the past two years asserting himself . In 2019, Blu contributed to Rob Apollo’s album Whore, an album that certainly made formidable waves in the St. Louis music scene. Furthermore, Blu contributed to Let the Sun Talk, the breakout project of rapper MAVI— an absolute indie staple at this point. And iIn 2020, Blu once again teamed up with Rob Apollo on Accords, and formed a powerful allegiance with rapper Messiah that’s spanned over a weekly series of incredible hip-hop records on SoundCloud. Looking at Blu’s productivity this past year and his allyship with he east coast, we have the absolute best to expect in 2021. Perhaps a beat tape or production tape. We’d have ears for it.
Derrick Shorter poked out his chest in 2020. Shorter continued to improve in his DAW and even snagged placements for Dej Loaf, Dave Hill, and Baby Mark. Shorter has already hinted that more rap music from him is coming in 2021 and we’re geeked to hear him continue to expand both his sound but also his base in the new year.
Look y’all, it wouldn’t be a list of what we’re looking forward to without mention of Caz Aglets. We do this every year To be quite honest, because Caz continues to walk around with good skin and smiling but no new album, and we are SICK OF IT! Jokes aside, 2020 was honestly quite the busy year for Caz, as he made appearances on albums from Swoozydolphin, Ziggy Waters, and Assemble Sound. While we don‘t have tangible proof that either singles or a project are set for release in 2021, we really hope they are. We respect Caz’s perfectionism and we’re sure that once we hear what he’s been working on, its impact will be hefty.
We got to hear a bit of Assemble Sound resident UribÍ on recent Assemble ensemble tape Soil To Sky: A Resident Mixtape. With a dreamy voice and a versatile palette on “Standards” and “Ponds” certainly impressed. We have not yet seen an extended project from UribÍ but, we really hope that we‘re able to hear one in 2021.
Swoozydolphin was undoubtedly the most productive producer in 2020. Swoozy collected placements like infinity stones and quite frankly, all signs point to that being the case in 2021. With the release of RAPS deluxe expected in the new year as well as Shadows, as mentioned earlier, we already have some music from Swoozy to be excited about.
While it seems like Mykel Andre has had a quiet year, he has actually been working on a decent amount for the new year. Outside of the consistent multimedia and merch powerhouse that is DVD City, Andre has also been teasing releases for the new year. We’re hoping that this amounts to an album or EP of sorts, but we’re open to anything else Andre has to share in the new year.
Check out "BURGUNDY" below:
Kynzi shared two hard hitting singles this past year in “Changes” and “Siren”. Both records displayed Kynzi’s ever-expanding sound, something that we think also shined through on her contributions to the Assemble Sound mixtape. Kynzi has really been catching her stride as both a songwriter but also as a creative, focusing even more on visuals in 2020. We’re not 100% sure of when Kynzi will release her EP that she’s posted about, but we’re crossing our fingers for a release sometime in 2021.
Check out "Call My Line" below:
3. Asaka The Renegade
It's safe to say that if you're not familiar with Asaka by now, you likely haven't been paying much attention to music from the region. But, if that's the case for you, consider this your introduction. Asaka is a melodic rapper who's poetic delivery has really thrusted him to the forefront of emcees here. Asaka's album Euphoria was one of our favorites in 2018 and since then, he's dropped hard-hitting singles and an EP that have really spoken to us. Additionally, Asaka recently announced that his next album Duality is set for release January 24th. Check out Asaka's heartfelt story behind this upcoming body of work and what we can expect from him on it.
Check out “No More” below:
Milfie is on top of the world right now. 2020 saw the release of two magnificent EPs in Milfie’s Shop of Horrors and From Millie, With Love. When it comes to emcees from the city, Millie is always in the conversation for best here, and it’s for good reason. Comfy with galaxy-big braggadocios and forays into dance music, Millie is both musically insatiable and versatile. Millie has never been one to bite her tongue, so we don’t expect such in 2021. And hopefully, that amounts to even more awesome music in the new year. From Milife, With Love explored some awesome new more melodic sounds in its two tracks that we‘d be interested in hearing more of.
Check out “Ain’t Got Time” below:
Check out "Ain't Got Time" below:
1. Cullen Emadrey
Cullen released conservatively this year with beautiful records like "Chimera" and "Pullin' Up Wassup" with Lando Ameen, but we're inclined to believe we're gonna see an album sometime in 2021. It's been about 2 years since Cullen's debut body of work Unfold and a recent tweet from Cullen hinted at an album being closer than ever.
Check out "Chimera" on Spotify
Other Worthy Mentions: Here are some other artists that we love and will be watching in 2021. We've made sure to link all of their Instagrams so that you can start your year off with new music!