The NME 100: Essential new music for 2018

Rex Orange County

From: Surrey

Sounds like: Joyful love songs that’ll make up your next Valentine’s Day mixtape.


For fans of: Frank Ocean, Damon Albarn

Need to know: Teenager Alex O’Connor has already collaborated with Tyler, The Creator and Skepta, as well as releasing the utterly gorgeous 2017 mixtape ‘Apricot Princess’.

Essential track: ‘Loving Is Easy’

Gotts Street Park

From: Leeds

Sounds like: Sprawling production collective who favour jazz, soul and R&B.


For fans of: BadBadNotGood, Frank Ocean

Need to know: Their first mixtape ‘Volume One’ proved the group can work with anyone to create soulful slow-jams for when the lights go out. Bigger names are now in the pipeline.

Essential track: ‘Love In Bad Company’


From: London

Sounds like: Drake-influenced hip-hop with a trippy twist

For fans of: Frank Ocean, Miguel

Need to know: Col3trane is already mixing with art’s elite – the blissful video for ‘Penelope’ was shot by Nicole Nodland, former personal photographer for Prince.

Essential track: ‘Language’



From: Manchester

Sounds like: The sound of now: funk, rap and grime entering brave new territory.

For fans of: Loyle Carner, Little Simz

Need to know: One of Manchester’s most touted prospects, Diana DeBrito released latest project ‘Hoodrich Volume 3’ to high-acclaim last year. Its trappy highlight, ‘Shade’, has now put
IAMDDB in the picture as one of the nation’s most complex and unique new artists.

Essential track: ‘Shade’


From: New York City, USA

Sounds like: Murky hip-hop that could be played in hotel lobbies.

For fans of: Tyler, The Creator, J Dilla

Need to know: The 18-year-old’s debut EP ‘By The Water’ clocks in at a brisk 11 minutes but is all the better for it. Laid-back beats clash with jazzy sax riffs, making for a conflicting
mix that will captivate listeners for its duration.

Essential track: ‘God’s With Me’


From: London

Sounds like: Of-the-moment hip-hop, rap and grime from the nation’s most exciting new MC.

For fans of: Drake, Kano

Need to know: The 19-year-old first snuck into the mainstream when Drake remixed his track ‘Wanna Know’ in 2016, but his latest EP ‘Game Over’ proved that the MC can do politics as well
as playful bangers.

Essential track: ‘Question Time’

Belly Squad

From: London

Sounds like: Pop-ready hooks with liquid flow from each member

For fans of: Yungen, Drake

Need to know: Their breakout hit, ‘Banana’ started out as a beat on video service Vine, before being turned into the pop-tinged banger we know now.

Essential track: ‘Lifestyle’

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