So, it’s that time of year again, although slightly later than usual, the shortlist for BBC Sound of 2017.Just like the previous year it is a pretty RnB heavy list, but without further ado let’s start…
5. Nadia Rose
23 year old, Nadia Rose from South London is trying to take the world by storm with her “hard hitting” lyrics and raps. When I heard her my first reaction was that she reminded me of a black version of Lady Sovereign. I am afraid that isn’t a compliment, I can’t stand Lady Sovereign.
I get that some people like rap music and songs about gangs and “real life” which supposedly has to be full of swear words, but it just doesn’t do it for me. The “song” I first listened to was called “Skwod” (yes she really spells it like that) and the poorly spelled title pretty much summed up the track.
But, I gave her another chance, and the next one “D.F.W.T” was just as bad. For a start she has to abbreviate the title because the actual title is “Don’t f*** with them” which is clearly not going to work on the radio considering how many edits it would need to take out all the profanities. I’m sorry Nadia Rose, I will not be listening to anymore. Those two songs are 7 minutes of my life I will not get back!
In case you want to listen to it and see for yourself you can listen to “Skwod” below. Warning, it is unedited and so is not suitable for younger ears. I mean seriously I would just have to correct the CD cases, who spells squad like that??
4. Jorja Smith
This next one I was pretty curious about as they brand her music as conscious soul and vintage RnB which sounded interesting. But, I am afraid that’s as far as that interest spanned. The first track I listened to was “Where did I go?” and the first thing I thought is “her voice is so annoying” she has a grating, high pitched whiny tone which has obviously been edited a bit to sound like that but is still not enjoyable. The song is a typical, what is happening with my life, my life is on hold which has been done to death.
The second track I listened to is called “blue lights” about someone who has clearly done something illegal and is involved in drugs and violence and running from the police. Although her voice was a little bit less grating she is the sort of singer who insists in singing while exaggerating her London accent. Lily Allen and Kate Nash did that before you Jorga Smith and they did a much better job!
I won’t torture your ears with Where did I go but if you are curious as to what conscious soul and vintage RnB supposedly sound like have a listen to Blue Lights below:
At 18 years old, RAYE is the youngest singer on the shortlist this year. The first track I listened to is “I,U,US” again I know, the spelling of the songs bug me so much but I have to spell it how they do, even if they can’t spell. The track was a bit more upbeat than the previous tracks on this list but was another one which just didn’t stand out. I can imagine it is a big hit in the clubs but it didn’t do anything for me.
If there is one thing that stands out most about RAYE is she really likes to repeat words. I listened to another song called “Shhh” and it was exactly the same. It feels like she runs out of things to say so she just repeats the word to finish that line. Again, not a singer I would really listen to in my spare time.
But, if you are into the repetitive, dance songs then you can listen to I,U, US below:
2. Rag N Bone Man
Finally, a decent artist on this short list. Rag N Bone man aka Rory Graham is a breath of fresh air among the typical RnB and rap songs on this list.
I heard his track “Human” before I looked at this list and it is everything a good chart topper should be, it’s catchy without being annoyingly so, it has a good singer whose voice doesn’t make you want to kill yourself and a good bass line.
You have probably already heard it if you listen to the radio but if you haven’t or you just want to listen to it again (which I do) then have a listen below:
So that is almost all of the shortlist of BBC Sound of 2017, all that is left is number one. Drum roll please….
- Ray BLK
What? This is number 1?? Hang on, let me check…… yeah sorry people, this is BBC Sound of 2017’s number 1! According to her blog on the BBC website BLK stands for Building Living Knowing, her values in life. So her name is Ray Building Living Knowing, seriously?
Anyway, Ray BLK is a 23 year old, RnB singer from South London and to be honest, there is nothing unique about this artist. She is your typical black RnB artist singing about “the hood” and using words like nigger trying to sound tough and hard hitting. I tried to like her because there must be a reason she is number one but considering the first song I listened to was called “My Hood” she was kinda doomed from the start, a sure sign I probably wasn’t going to enjoy this. I then gave her another chance with her track “5050” but it was just annoying and whiny with lyrics like “Don’t make me beg”
If you want to have a listen for yourself, I have added the video to My hood below:
So, that’s it, the top 5 BBC Sound of 2017 and I must admit I am pretty disappointed. Usually there are at least two semi decent artists. But, this year, there was one I actually enjoyed and would listen to again; Rag n Bone Man. 4 out of the 5 acts this year were from South London and not so surprisingly Rag N Bone Man was the odd one out as he is from Uckfield, East Sussex.
A bit of advice BBC? Maybe look further afield from London, you might find a bit more talent than the generic RnB artists that have populated this year’s list.
Fingers crossed for a better list for 2018!!!
What did you think of this year’s shortlist? Let me know in the comments below.