Sounds Like: A manifesto on millennial femininity that includes genre agnosticism as one of its key tenets
For Fans of: Tori Amos, late-career Charlotte Church, Simone de Beauvoir
Why You Should Pay Attention: Discovered by Kanye West when she was a member of the dance troupe backing him up on his Yeezus tour, Arizona native Kacy Hill first made waves with the 2015 EP Bloo. Her just-released debut LP Like a Woman, which West executive produced, is a dizzying ride through early-20s womanhood that has arena-ready choruses and minimalist electro, confessional poetry and resolute kiss-offs. Production comes courtesy of DJ Mustard, synth-popper Stuart Price and more. She's planning a tour, but she's already thinking about where her art might take her next: "I just want to keep putting out as much stuff as possible," she says. "Ideally, I would like to have another body of work – even just a smaller body of work – out in at least a few months."
Sounds Like: Catcher in the Rye-level alienation (with a slim window of hope) set in a pulsing hip-hop/EDM landscape
For Fans of: Awolnation, Barns Courtney, Imagine Dragons
Why You Should Pay Attention: Earlier this year, Missio's angst-ridden "Middle Fingers" shook SiriusXM's Alt Nation, cracked Billboard's Alternative Songs Top 10 and stoked anticipation for their RCA Records debut, Loner. The Austin-based band have since landed on festival bills and some opening slots on Muse's tour with 30 Seconds to Mars.
"If you look on the surface, we'd seem like a really black sheep," Missio instrumentalist-producer David Butler says. "Our story is not, 'We played local clubs and blew up.' We're more of an Internet success story. That's how we got our start."
Over the past three years, Butler and vocalist-producer Matthew Brue morphed Missio's sound from ambient roots – an inventive Lana Del Rey cover lurks among earlier tracks on YouTube – to its current booming, razor-sharp state. Loaded with bruising bass, icy synths and dark imagery, Loner is an exploration of Brue's winding road to sobriety. "If we can have one thing out of this record," he says, "it's just to let people know that they're not alone."
Sounds Like: An R&B casanova intent on returning his genre to the early-2000s
For Fans of: Avant, Lloyd, Ne-Yo
Why You Should Pay Attention: "B.E.D." recently hit the Top 20 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart and Ty Dolla $ign and Quavo added extra lather to the remix. The track can be found on his 2016 Mood mixtape, a succinct collection full of trickling beats and libidinous entreaties. A similar meld animates Fuck a Friend Zone, an album-length duet project with Dej Loaf, and Since You Playin', both of which arrived in January.
Jacquees hit the studio for the first time when he was 12, and by age 20, he had a deal with Cash Money Records. He started singing hooks next to rising rappers Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan – "they're like my brothers," Jacquees says – and his barbed falsetto perked ears: it's springy but tart, with some of the liquid grace that propelled Lloyd in the mid-2000s.