DZI: The Voice‘s week long series highlighting below-the-radar music artists finishes with 5 more darlings of online fans and music magazine writers. This crop of semi-celebrated entertainers are sharing their soul, transcending labels, spreading good news, rocking out shows, & exceeding expectations. Take a look at the final chapter of “25 Music Acts You Need To Know”, and go back and review our earlier choices from Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, & Part 4.
description: The undisputed queen of underground R&B graduated from Howard University and then embarked on a career in music that saw her work with R&B stars like Usher, Brandy, and Eric Benet before eventually releasing her own albums that have carried the mantle for independent soul music over the last decade.
hometown: Los Angeles, California
connect: www.sysmith.com; @syberspace
key projects: Conflict album; Fast and Curious album
genre: New Wave Hip Hop
description: Originally from the isle of Trinidad, this burgeoning style icon, who draws inspiration from R. Stevie Moore, Leon Ware, & The Notorious B.I.G., is not only attempting to master music, but marketing as well. But before he takes over Madison Avenue, the new age bohemian is pushing boundaries in contemporary hip hop by equally embracing back beats, acoustic guitar, & synthesized piano.
hometown: Brooklyn, New York
connect: http://timezareweird.tumblr.com; @theophilusl
key projects: This Charming Mixtape mixtape; Timez Are Weird These Days album
genre: Christian Hip Hop
description: The man born William Lee Barefield III gave his first sermon at the age of 17 and days after graduating from high school released his debut album, a project that mixed a dirty south sound with clean gospel lyrics. The former youth group leader has also become a sought after speaker around the country and possibly the new voice of Christian youth.
hometown: Dallas, Texas
connect: www.myspace.com/triplee116.com; @triplee116
key projects: Between Two Worlds album; The Good Life album
genre: Indie Rock
description: Take 6 bandheads from a college town in Missouri and relocate them to the new hipster capital of world, Brooklyn, and the result is one of the most talked about live shows in the industry, and while their stage performances have people talking, their studio albums are just as critically praised.
hometown: Columbia, Missouri
connect: www.whiterabbitsmusic.com @white_rabbits
key projects: It’s Frightening album; Milk Famous album
genre: Indie Pop
description: Who would predict that an album created in a studio garage would become one of the most heralded LP’s over the last 3 years? Major publications like Rolling Stone, The Chicago Tribune, and The Guardian placed the Young Turks Records signnees’ self-titled debut high on their end of the year rankings, and group member Jamie xx went on to give songs by stars like Adele, Drake, and Gil Scott-Heron a post-dubstep make-over for maximum dance floor appeal.
hometown: London, England
key projects: “Crystalised” single; xx album
Previous: 25 Music Acts You Need To Know: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4