Vevo unveiled its first set group of acts to keep an eye on for the 2019 Vevo DSCVR Artists To Watch series on Monday (Nov. 26), with cross-country rap collective YBN and English grime rapper Slowthai.
The Vevo series — which has helped launch the burgeoning careers of acclaimed artists such as Alessia Cara and Billie Eilish in previous years — begins its latest iteration by bringing in two of the strongest rising hip-hop forces from across the globe for two game-changing, in-house produced performances.
First comes YBN, the hip-hop collective started by Alabama rapper YBN Nahmir who first made waves with the 2017 single “Rubbin Off The Paint.” The group boasts an impressive 10-person roster including YBN Almighty Jay and YBN Cordae and has roots spread across the U.S., but they solidified their place as standouts with their first compilation release, YBN: The Mixtape, in September.
“2019 is going to be a big year for the YBN Crew,” Vevo head of music and talent Jordan Glickson tells Billboard in a statement. “This collective is not holding back and with support from Wiz Khalifa and Gucci Mane, I’m really excited to see what they will do next. As individuals each member is so talented; forming as a group meant they were a no-brainer for this list. The scene is ready for their sound and I’m expecting big things.”
Catch YBN Nahmir and YBN Almighty Jay performing “Nah For Real” from YBN: The Mixtape below.
From the U.K. side, Vevo brings in the enigmatic rapper Slowthai from Northampton. The young artist is the perfect signal for where the genre is headed with his combination of aggressive and confessional bars delivered with a gruff mumble, goth and emo aesthetics and signature English grime.
Vevo senior manager of music and talent Carl Young tells Billboard, “Slowthai is exactly the kind of artist that this list should be highlighting speaking out for a generation of young people, with his raw and unflinching vocal style. Over the last year we have seen some amazing releases from this U.K.-based rapper, and we are really excited to see what 2019 will bring.”
Check out Slowthai performing the standalone track “Rainbow” below.