Only a true narcisst would claim they're solely responsible for an artist's success. An almost impossibly complex web of talent, hard work, connections, outright luck and experiences, sometimes stretching back decades to those early piano lessons their mom made them take, all have to conspire for an artist to even make their first song, let alone build a sustainable career.
We're no narcissists. We're well aware that, at best, DJBooth can be a brick in the skyscraper that is an artist's career. But we won't be falsely humble either. As fun as it is to post that new Jay Z song, the true reason we chain ourselves to these keyboards and headphones year after year is the pure joy that comes from discovering new artists and helping them get their music into the world. From Kendrick Lamar to Big K.R.I.T. and many more, we've now got a deep history of not just posting an artist's work early, but openly championing them, turning our digital spotlight their way and saying, this is who you should pay attention to. It's a history we're frankly proud of, and a legacy we're determined to continue.
And that's what "Top Prospects" is really all about. Following an inaugural edition we couldn't be prouder of, we're back to announce the next round of artists. But first, a quick reminder of what being a DJBooth Prospect means.
Noun: an apparent probability of advancement. Anticipation; expectation; a looking forward
Verb: to search or explore
It's certainly no guarantee that an artist is going to "blow up." One, because we're really not sure what "blowing up" actually means. And two, because we know there are no guarantees, especially in the music business. Children are born, labels come and go, an artist meets Kanye outside the radio station and it changes their life. An artist gets to the radio station ten minutes after Kanye leaves and nothing happens. Accurately predicting who's going to sell a platinum album in three years is an impossible talk, and who would want it? That would turn into a far less interesting exercise in deciphering the music industry, figuring out what the new trends are, who's got a well-connected manager, etc.
Which brings us to what being a DJBooth Prospect does mean. First, we want to focus on newer artists. It's an admittedly subjective and hazy term, there's no literal point at which someone goes from unknown to famous, especially in the age of the internet, but we're highlighting artists the average music fan likely doesn't know (yet). Second, and more importantly, it means they're making music that deserves your attention. Will they ever land in a Sprite commercial? We don't know, and we don't particularly care. But we do know they give us that aforementioned hard-to-describe mix of joy and excitement that comes when you hear a dope artist for the first time and feel, in your musical marrow, like they're capable of excellence.
We want to give you that same feeling, and that's why we're giving you Top Prospects. Every three months or so we'll name four new artists that have come onto our radar, publish in-depth profiles on them, and then drop an EP featuring exclusive music from those artists. You may not love them all - no one is loved by everyone - but they do need to be on your radar too.
And so, without further ado, drum roll please.....here is our new group of Prospects:
Over the course of the next month keep an eye out for in-depth profiles and exclusive music from these artists, and if you can click any of the names above to get a taste of their music right now. Let's go...
[Nathan S. is the managing editor of The DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. He also occasionally talks in podcast form and appears on RevoltTV. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]