Spice up your playlist this weekend with Billboard‘s weekly roundup of tracks from the Billboard + Twitter Emerging Artists chart. For artists to qualify, they must meet three qualifications: have fewer than 100,000 followers on Twitter, have yet to place an album in the top half of the Billboard 200, and have not appeared in the top 50 positions of the Hot 100 as a lead artist. After giving them a listen, make sure to check back next week for a new set of selections to discover the latest music.
“Stevie World” – Joey FATTS
Following the sudden death of A$AP Yams on Jan. 18, protégé Joey Fatts crafted “Stevie World” as a tribute to his mentor, whose real name is Steven Rodriguez. The young MC directly addresses his track to Yams, recounting their initial meeting and the belief Yams had in Fatts’ ability: “I was sleeping in my car / You came and got me out / Gave me a card and moved me up inside a rocky house when times got hard.” Fatts arranges his track above a sample of Deniece Williams‘ “Black Butterfly,” borrowing the bittersweet lines, “Now you’re free / And the world has come to see / How far and beautiful you are” in praise of the fallen rapper. The homage resonated with fans, who streamed the song 46,000 times since its premiere on Jan. 20, spurring a No. 10 debut for “Stevie World” on the Billboard + Twitter Emerging Artists chart.
“Unguarded” – Rae Morris
English singer-songwriter Rae Morris arrives with her debut album, Unguarded, via Atlantic Records U.K. On the set’s title track, the 21-year-old pines for the day when she and her lover can shed their current dissatisfaction and live “unguarded,” “Put the pain of the present aside / I have a future in mind for us / Where will we be unguarded together / Unguarded in love.” Morris blankets the soft drums and piano with a smoky vocal performance, and flashes of angst in her delivery have drawn favorable comparisons to Lorde. “Unguarded” also received a boost from iTunes, who named the track its free single of the week in the U.K. in the final week of 2014. Another honor quickly followed: iTunes named the album its “Editor’s Choice” pick this past week. The resulting publicity helps “Unguarded” arrive on the Billboard + Twitter Emerging Artists chart at No. 49. Morris’ debut album of the same name was released on Jan. 26 in the U.K.
“Flags of the Old Regime” – Pete Doherty
In between work with his bands The Libertines and Babyshambles, British musician Pete Doherty recorded “Flags of the Old Regime” as a tribute to his friend Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011. Aided by a somber, orchestral melody, Doherty reflects on the strength Winehouse displayed in shouldering the burdens of her fame. At the same time, he acknowledges the incessant strains that may have contributed to her early death: “The fame they stoned you in / Your tiny shoulders soldiered it / And you made your fortune but you —- broke inside.” Doherty’s appreciation of the late songstress echoed with listeners, who have viewed the official YouTube clip more than 145,000 times since its arrival on Jan. 22. Thanks to resulting Twitter mentions, “Flags” flies to a No. 34 entry on the Emerging Artists chart. Doherty’s track will be released on Mar. 9, and all proceeds from the single’s profits will be donated to the Amy Winehouse Youth Foundation.