BBC Radio 1Xtra’s “Hot for 2016” has just been announced, and among the formidable list of up and coming artists tipped for a big year to come is none other than AKA.
South African Kiernan “AKA” Forbes finds himself in the company of not only the UK’s most likely to blow homegrown talent, but also the new American acts whom global industry insiders say hold the most promise for 2016, including R&B new-comers Kehlani and Bryson Tiller.
The revelation comes hot on the heels of a banner previous year for AKA which began with BBC 1Xtra DJ Edu’s prediction citing him as one of five African artists to watch. Touring Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania and Europe in 2015 led to a slew of high profile awards and nominations throughout that year for AKA: MOBO, AFRIMMA and BET International are just a few.
Adding weight to the accolades, AKA’s gold-selling Sony Music released sophomore album LEVELS yielded All Eyes on Me featuring Nigerian Burna Boy and South Africans Da L.E.S and JR. It was the first of the album’s two singles to receive A-list rotation on BBC1 Radio 1Xtra, followed a few months later after by Baddest on which Burna Boy, Khuli Chana and Yanga appear.
“Since its inception, the BBC Radio 1Xtra “Hot For…” list has not only predicted those artists that would be big on the underground but also those scenes, trends and artists that will completely dominate popular culture over the next 12 months, making it THE barometer music fans need to tell them the artists that will own 2016,” says 1Xtra’s leading urban music tastemaker Mistajam.
The announcement marks the first time an Africa-based artist makes the prestigious annual list, which counts Drake (2010), Frank Ocean (2012), The Weeknd (2013), Sam Smith (2014) as previous alumni.
Speaking with MistaJam on his Radio1 and 1Xtra simulcast show AKA said this of his uniquely South African take on Hip-hop: “Every time I make music my point of reference is obviously different (from the West) cos I am South African. But also when it comes to my inspiration, I am influenced by what comes out of the States or Europe as much as I am heavily influenced by Afriocentric sounds – be it Afrobeats or reggae. It’s just nice to know that I stand out and my music is different from what people normally hear.”
The Cape Town-born, Joburg-based rapper looks set to secure yet another stellar 12 months not just in the eyes of his fans on the continent but an inevitable legion of supporters worldwide.
Listen to AKA’s interview with Mistajam here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/bbc_1xtra
Follow @1Xtra and the hashtag #hotfor2016 on Twitter