By Cameron Lee
February 25, 2020
Every week new artists seem to pop up in the city’s blossoming music scene. As local venues continue to showcase emerging talent, even dedicated fans who are in the scene can discover new music that may have been under the radar. From producers linking with singers and rappers to videographers fusing creative ideas with artists, there’s a quiet harmony building in Charlotte. This month we’re highlighting R&B, neo-soul, and hip-hop artists making moves you’re sure to hear about soon.
R&B singer-songwriter Autumn Milner, better known as Autumn Rainwater, released the follow up to her 2017 debut Leaf, with the EP, Raincheck, on February 3. Flexing a future-beat sound over her soothing vocals and laid-back disposition, Rainwater packs a range of modern sounds and stinging lyrics in songs like “Don’t I.” With a stylish production and backdrop of spaced out hip-hop, Rainwater gives us a glimpse of her developing artistry.
Born and raised in Charlotte, Andrew Gray (A.G), has the lyrical proficiency of a professional battle rapper. With his quick-hitting barrage of bars packed into his 2018 EP, #NoSelfDoubt, he hardly misses a beat, squeezing in some rewind-worthy lines that stack over animated instrumentation. The tropical vibes on his single “B.W.Y.A” show his range in melody while the track “Peace” displays his introspective songwriting capabilities. The most impressive song of his young catalog is “Preach,” a track that utilizes the infamous Sunday Service tribal choir chants as a sample on a contentious sequence of piercing lyrics.
Emmanuel Rodriguez, a North Meck grad with West Indian roots, has a natural musical vibration that doesn’t take long to get you fully hooked. Under his new moniker, TERRA GRATA, the music has a somber but healing sound with an underlying mission to help others cope with depression. TERRA GRATA has packed three highly-impressive emotionally dynamic compositions into a new EP called Photosynthesis (released on February 7). With a lo-fi atmospheric sound and hip-hop spirit, his music also has highly appealing pop sensibility.
Seventeen-year-old rapper Elijah Pacheco, best known as Young Prophit, has already garnered some career accomplishments that many rap veterans may be envious of. From spitting a freestyle on Shade45 with the legendary DJ Kay Slay to trading bars with Styles P on the track “Alright,” Young Prophit’s trajectory is loaded up for a skyrocketing rap career. Mixing a street-wise demeanor with a smooth R&B radio-friendly sound, Pacheco released an eight-song project, Prophit Season, back in November that fully showcases his ability to breakthrough as an ascending young star.
Kenion Sherrill, a.k.a. Cuzo Key, has the easy-going sound of the double cup clouded rap reminiscent of Houston legends UGK. On his latest project Nionek 2, he shows range working with Simon Smthng on the track “Stoned Himalayas,” contrasting his southern-fried style with a jazzy backdrop. He plays with a more melodic flow on the song “All We Do,” produced by FLLS, rounding out a project that is unabashedly southern with strokes of modern experimental sounds.
Currently a Biology major at UNCC, Adama Cham, better known as GTB Adama, was born in Charlotte but raised in Gambia, West Africa. Showing promise with just four songs currently streaming on the major platforms, he boasts a playful rap-singing style of pop-rap bops. While his music isn’t serious in subject matter, the songs are structured to catch fire in the contemporary streaming landscape. Adama’s music is refreshingly uncomplicated and lively, setting the mood for any college party.