There are just a few weeks left until 2022, and it has been nothing short of a remarkable year. As someone always on the hunt for new music and rising stars, I have unearthed my fair share of independent artist and musician gems in 2021. In no particular order, here are my top ten underrated indies (of multiple genres) that you need to hear in 2021. Happy Listening!
Dane Richards (@danerichardsofficial)
You already know him as the energy guy, a New Yorker lovingly screaming toxic love comedy to all of his adoring followers (the #BatteryPack). What many of you don’t yet know about him is that Dane is an entertainer in the music space as well. With a few tracks up on his SoundCloud, you can predict with that energy invested into his craft singing and rapping, Dane will be blowing up in 2022 in the music scene with his quick-witted freestyle and lyricism. Stay locked in for his first official single release this Thanksgiving!
You already know how I feel about .Jxck. I wrote a piece on his Beautiful Day release earlier this year, and I have been hooked since. .Jxck is another New York artist who quickly became a 2021 favorite. His sound is groovy, catchy, and has a certain lightness about it even when he touches on heavier subject matter. Escapists, check him out. He is an auditory vacation.
917 Rackz (@917racks)
917 Rackz exploded in 2021, turning Paramore’s “Still Into You” into an addictive drill beat, high energy vibes, and bars that you wouldn’t expect from the 16-year-old Sheepshead Bay native. If you had a chance to listen to “ Still Onto You” before it was stricken for copyright, I already know you started chanting Rackz, Rackz, Rackz…. He’s been putting music out for about a year, and there is no sign of him slowing down or stopping.
Ashley Skerritt (@askerrittmusic)
You guessed it. Another New York artist! Ashley Skerritt is an R&B, Pop, and Reggae singer and songwriter. Her latest release, “Fill Me Up” is a chill vibe that makes you want to sway. Her catalog is full of similarly sexy island and R&B sounds. She has a small following, but that’s about to change once you listen to what she is putting out.
Yrs Gee (@biggz.g_)
His flow is bananas, and I am obsessed with his latest releases, Quarantine Freestyle and Big Dawg. Yrs Gee has a bounce and rhythm, clever lyrics, and the energy we need here in Jersey.
Qveen Herby (@qveenherby)
It is hard to believe she is not signed to a major label, but if you tap into her musical catalog you can understand why. She doesn’t need a major; she is major. Qveen Herby is insanely talented, quick-witted, lyrically astonishing, and on top of her stunning vocals, she possesses an energetic take on positive vibes and a visually appealing brand. My favorite discovery from Qveen Herby is Balenciaga Dreams from her 2021 album, A Woman. Her latest project, Halloqveen was an immediate smash with Abracadabra being my favorite on the album.
Hazzy Foreign (@HazzyForeign)
New Jersey-based artist, Hazzy Foreign, is no newbie. He has been producing content, freestyling, and blowing up social media for a few years now. This man is one of the most talented rappers and writers I have ever encountered. His bars are flawless, impactful, comedic, reflect his personal story, and are laden with pop culture references. My favorite track is Pink Lemonade, but his latest single Trust Me is a soulful rap masterpiece worth mentioning.
This Chicago-based artist brings something you’ve never heard before. His new-age melodic hip-hop sound is soothing and fresh and the content of his music is sometimes surprising. My favorite from Kansch, Billy & Mandy, literally takes you on a trip, and he continues to grow and improve with every new release.
21 Grams (@21gramsmusic)
Monapoly and AJ make up the rap duo from Greenburgh, New York, and despite their modest following on streaming platforms, they have a lot to offer in sound. If you haven’t heard their latest work, check out their 2019 album, Forecast, and favorite track from that project, Money Talks. Their 2020 project, House Money, has also gained some traction in the past year with 40 Degrees in the Summer becoming a fast fan favorite and pulling in over 35,000 views on YouTube to date. They have a smooth old-school sound with some new-school nuances that you are going to vibe with.
Belle popped into my life at precisely the right time. Her TikTok video singing her verse to Doja Cat’s “Woman” caught my attention right away. Her voice is like warm honey, soothing and sexy, a perfect match for the R&B genre where her sound resides. This singer/songwriter is one to watch. With only two projects widely distributed, she is a standout in terms of the quality of her voice, overall sound, and command of social media, where she is certain to gain widespread attention. Listen to her latest project, “Addiction” You won’t be disappointed.
There are too many incredible artists to name them all, so stay tuned for my future rundowns and upcoming radio interviews. If you know an independent artist or musician who deserves their flowers, comment and point me in their direction and they might just land a spot on Season 3 of the Friday Night Frequency Show on Photobombshell Radio.