5 Most Underrated Musicians of Our Time
Check out these artists and #appreciate
In January 2016, singer-songwriter Anderson .Paak released his second album Malibu, marking the beginning of a commercial breakthrough. His sound epitomizes neo-soul, merging together blues, hip-hop and funk. In a short span of time, he's worked his way up the music industry through collaborations with Dr. Dre on his 2015 album Compton, as well as with Schoolboy Q, 9th Wonder and Snakehips. He's been featured on A Tribe Called Quest's most recent album with the song Movin' Backwards and co-wrote Mac Miller's hit song Dang.
Anderson .Paak's sound echoes his quintessentially Californian roots—laid back and languid. Despite this, his lyrics drip with darkness as he remembers his misfortunes. He recounts how his estranged father attacked his mother, as well as how he became homeless after being fired from a marijuana farm in Santa Barbara, right after his son's birth. Regardless, he paints these stories skillfully through well-written rhymes. Malibu is a classic old-school RnB album, with Anderson .Paak's voice warming each track. He converses with his listeners with the wisdom of a Baptist minister, reflective of his own life and genuine all the while.
Canadian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Mac DeMarco makes music that echoes his personality: weird. His sound is described as "blue wave," "slacker rock," or how he himself quips, "jizz jazz"—a genre name reflective of his own silly personality he transmits into his songs. He's no stranger to the music scene and has released four albums, most notably Salad Days (2014) and Another One (2015). Despite his many releases, he still resides in the underground and indie scene.
His ironic lyrics and slowed-down vocals reflect his slacker vibe of cruising through life. The man has a penchant for cigarettes and oddness, resorting to strange shenanigans and cross-dressing in his music videos. Though his gap-toothed smile brims with mischief that seems to explain all his motivations, Mac is a true artist, relatable in the sense that he's the weird little kid in every adult. His music is perfect for sitting back in a hammock, letting his wobbly melodies sway you into a daydream.
FKJ (French Kiwi Juice)
FKJ (French Kiwi Juice), known as Vince Fenton to friends, has risen via Soundcloud to become a crusader of New French House. A self-taught DJ and musician, he is known as a master at improvisation in his live sets. Live videos of him are proof of this as he jumps from instrument to instrument. He loops his melodies as he plays the saxophone, piano and guitar—with skill.
The artist has risen in the indie scene worldwide, and has visited the Philippines twice for the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival in Puerto Galera. His shoulder-length dreadlocks and calm demeanor are a staple to his sets. FKJ spins groovy loops with classic hip-hop rhythms and shoulder-popping bass lines. His experiments with synths are bright and poppy, wrapping up his songs with a smooth and funky feel. French Kiwi Juice's tunes are perfect for bouncing to a new beat.
Chilean-American composer Nicolas Jaar has taken modern electronic music to strange and experimental depths. His most notable works include Space is Only Noise (2011) Pomegranates (2015) and his most recent and more political album Sirens (2016). Jaar entered the music scene via spinning 12" EPs in the New York club world. But he made all the difference by his unique artistic sensibilities and knack for improvisation.
His work often holds much political weight, like MiMujer and El Bandido sung in his native Spanish as a message to the exploitative sampling of Hispanic culture by white European DJs. Sirens, his most recent album, is packed with political messages addressing Hispanic racism and the threat of Donald Trump. There is a melancholy to his music that makes it more than just a dance track. He often plays slow and honeyed beats that are dark and obscure. What Nicolas Jaar is able to achieve is adding a whole new depth to electronic music. He is able to meld the robotic aspect of house with the warmth of the soul.
At the slightly-ripe age of forty, Erlend Øye is a Norweigan artist that knows the ins and outs of the music scene. He is the other half of the indie folk duo Kings of Convenience, as well as the ex-leader of The Whitest Boy Alive. Through his long musical journey, he has moved from electronic to folk to indie pop.
His folk project Kings of Convenience gushes with graceful guitar plucking. Erlend and his partner overlay this guitar with serene voices perfect for a rainy day or lazing at the beach. Meanwhile, The Whitest Boy Alive is more of a mixture between electronic dance and rock, but still with sensitive lyrics and minimalist tunes. His sound and lyrics range depending on what musical group he's playing with. But a standard trend in all his work is a sense of calm.