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10 Underrated Artists to Add to Your Summer Playlist

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Tierra Whack was nominated for Best Music Video at this year’s Grammy Awards for her song “Mumbo Jumbo.” / Steve Granitz/WireImage

The summer is hot and so are the artists featured on this list. Now that we’ve revealed our midyear list of 37 best songs of 2019 so far, gifted you with 15 perfect rap lyrics for your next Instagram caption and rounded up the 10 best music biopics you should watch, it’s time to fill you in on the underrated artists you need to know. Maybe you’ve heard of some of them, maybe you know them all or maybe, just maybe, they haven’t made it onto your playlist yet. Ranging from pop to contemporary rap, every musician listed here is arguably underrated—but won’t be for much longer. 

 

1. Ari Lennox  

 

Signed to Dreamville Records, J. Cole’s record label, Ari Lennox is a neo-R&B singer hailing from Washington, D.C. She has a soul wave sound similar to Erykah Badu and SZA. Lennox released her debut studio album, Shea Butter Baby, in May 2019, with a track featuring J. Cole himself. If you’re looking for soulful tunes for chilling out at the pool or on your rooftop, Ari is it. 

 

🎧 Start with: “Whipped Cream” and “Shea Butter Baby” 

2. Serpentwithfeet

 

Based in Brooklyn, New York, Serpentwithfeet is an experimental musician known for his theatrical and ever-changing tracks. His voice is one of a kind, but his sound can be slightly compared to FKA Twigs and his storytelling style is as dramatic as Kate Bush. No two Serpentwithfeet songs sound alike. 

 

🎧 Start with: “Four Ethers” and “Bless Ur Heart”

3. Mogli

 

Mogli is an indie-pop singer from Germany, best known for her song “Wanderer.” Her soft yet intense vocals are chilling and cinematic. Her songs surround the themes of transition and exploration, making great ballads for dealing with upheaval. If you’re a fan of Lorde, Bon Iver or Ben Howard, you’re bound to love Mogli. 

 

🎧 Start with: “Patience” and “Wanderer”

4. Boogie

 

Boogie’s sound can be described as the perfect mix between Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper. The Compton rapper released his first full-length album, Everything’s for Sale, this year. Most of his music explores the hardships of failed relationships and gang life. Deep and somewhat melancholy, Boogie’s music is authentic and offers a view into overcoming a challenging lifestyle and succeeding. 

 

🎧 Start with: “Silent Ride” and “Time”

5. Tkay Maidza

 

Tkay Maidza is a singer, songwriter and rapper from Australia. Her music dabbles in hip-hop, synth-pop and electronic. She’s opened for other big-time pop artists like Charli XCX and Troye Sivan, and she is making a name for herself with a sound similar to Santigold and Azealia Banks. If you’re looking for feel-good music or something to go all out to on a hot summer day, Maidza is your girl. 

 

🎧 Start with: “White Rose” and “Simulation”

6. Lil Keed

 

With strong influences from Young Thug, Lil Keed’s Atlanta twang and versatile flows prove Thugger’s influence on new rappers is strong. The 21-year-old rapper released his highly anticipated mixtape, Long Live Mexico, in June. With features from Young Thug, Gunna, Lil Uzi Vert and Roddy Ricch, the mixtape soared to No. 26 on Billboard 200. We highly doubt Lil Keed will be underrated for too much longer. 

 

🎧 Start with: “Ride the Wave” and “Pull Up”

7. Shaed

 

Electro-pop trio Shaed consists of Chelsea Lee and twin brothers Max and Spencer Ernst. After moving into a house together, the three started production and recording for Melt, their most popular EP yet. Their breakthrough single “Trampoline” was featured in an Apple commercial for the new Macbook Air. I once saw Shaed at a listening party and haven’t turned them off since. 

 

🎧 Start with: “Trampoline” and “Silver Knife”

8. Tierra Whack

 

If you’re a Lauryn Hill fan, you’ll love Tierra Whack. Her theatrical and unique take on contemporary hip-hop has led to a sound that cannot be mimicked. With frequent vocal changes and varying beat styles, every Tierra Whack track sounds different from the next. She was surprised to be nominated at this year’s Grammy Awards for Best Music Video for her “Mumbo Jumbo” video, which was up against videos from Childish Gambino, the Carters, Joyner Lucas and Janelle Monáe.

 

🎧 Start with: “Hungry Hippo” and “Only Child”

9. Caroline Polachek

 

You might recognize Caroline Polachek as the previous lead singer of Chairlift or the woman who wrote and produced Beyoncé’s “No Angel.” Polachek has been solo for a while but for the first time is crediting her music to her real name. With a sound that is like a mix of Imogen Heap and Marina and the Diamonds, the indie pop artist already started the summer with a solo song release (“Door”) in June.

 

🎧 Start with: “Door” and “In the Crew of Tea Time”

10. Qveen Herby

 

Previously known as half of the duo Karmin, Qveen Herby has reinvented herself and her sound with hip-hop and R&B influences. She just released 6, a five-track EP, in May. She says her music is inspiring and made for the modern-day boss bitch.

 

🎧 Start with:“Sade in the 90s” and “BDE”

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