Last year we were pretty spot-on with our predictions about who to keep an eye on in 2011: Wiz Khalifa‘s currently brushing shoulders (and SAG cards) with Snoop Dogg, Tinie Tempah reminded us why Brit club music is seriously the best and Warpaint continues to score us some major indie cred. So now that it’s 2012, let’s take a look at who we’ll be watching out for this year. Let’s take a closer look at Frank Ocean, Walk The Moon, Lana Del Rey, Dev, A$AP Rocky, Wallpaper., Avicii, Electric Guest, Kendrick Lamar, fun. and Alabama Shakes.
Frank Ocean: You probably already have a Frank Ocean jam on your iPod. If you don’t, you definitely have a Frank Ocean-assisted jam on your iPod. The R&B New Orleans native (and probably the most gentle member of Odd Future) has already been in the studio with Beyoncé, Kanye West and Jay-Z (together!), and that was before he was even signed.
Walk The Moon: It’s a common belief that there are literally zero people on the planet that don’t love Walk The Moon’s “Anna Sun.” The Cincinnati indie rockers combine synth-heavy hooks with happy harmonies to create what are sure to be some of 2012’s most repeat-worthy songs. Plus, how can you hate on a keytar cameo?
Lana Del Rey: New York native Lizzie Grant — you probably know her as Lana Del Rey — took the internet by storm with her 2011 song “Video Games.” She also managed to create an entirely new music genre while she was at it: “Hollywood sadcore.” With her striking visuals and modern take on romantic nostalgia, say hello to everyone’s new favorite indie crush.
Dev: California-based pop singer Dev is about to tear up 2012 like a G6. No, literally — her song “Booty Bounce” that was sampled in Far East Movement‘s inescapable car jam “Like A G6″ is what launched it to No. 1 in the United States, and the recent new mom is just getting started. Dev released her debut album The Night The Sun Came Up at the end of 2011.
A$AP Rocky: After hits like “Purple Swag” and “Peso” got Harlem rapper Rakim Mayer’s name circulating around the hip hop elite, it was his 2011 mixtape “LiveLoveA$AP” that made him a standout. After hitting the road with Drake this past fall, we’re looking to hear much more from A$AP in 2012.
+ Check out our entire list of 2012 Artists To Watch after the jump, as well as tons of videos, performances and interviews from the bands.
Wallpaper.: Wallpaper.’s main goal when creating music is getting people dancing and laughing at the same time, if you couldn’t already deduce that from his song titles “F****** Best Song Everrr” and “#STUPiDFACEDD.” It’s not too often an artist can produce a song and a popular hashtag at the same time, but hey, it’s 2012 now.
Avicii: Swedish DJ Tim Bergling has performed all over the world and received a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording for his collaboration, “Sunshine,” with dance DJ extraordinaire David Guetta — time to start paying attention. But chances are you’ve probably already heard his songwriting skills on Leona Lewis‘ No. 1 hit, “Collide.” That’s called “multitalented.”
Electric Guest: If you were looking to fill that subtly melancholy indie rock hole that’s been vacant for so long, may we suggest Los Angeles duo Electric Guest. Sorry, make that “subtly melancholy indie rock that’s produced by hip-hop wunderkind Danger Mouse.”
Kendrick Lamar: Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar has worked with some of the biggest names in hip-hop, and the dude is only 23 years old. After releasing his first mixtape “Y.H.N.I.C.” at 16, Lamar has already clocked studio time with Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. Look for some of Dre’s influences on Lamar’s debut album Detox.
fun.: fun. kind of sounds like if you put a whole bunch of talented musicians from entirely different backgrounds and genres together in one room and just told them “Go!” — it shouldn’t really work, but somehow it does. fun. infuses gospel-inspired harmonies with over-the-top theatrical melodies to create pop-rock tracks that we promise you haven’t ever heard before.
Alabama Shakes: There are powerful voices, but then there is Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard’s godlike vocal chords. The Alabama foursome are doing their darndest to put the spotlight back on the Southern rock/soul, and we have yet to find a single person who’s mad at them for it.
+ A$AP ROCKY, “Peso”
+ fun., “We Are Young”
+ fun., “All The Pretty Girls”
+ fun., “Walking The Dog (Live)”
+ Alabama Shakes, “You Ain’t Alone”
+ Alabama Shakes On MTV Hive’s First Take
+ Walk The Moon, “Anna Sun”
+ Walk The Moon, “Anna Sun (Live)”
+ WALLPAPER., “F****** Best Song Everrr”
+ WALLPAPER., “#STUPiDFACEDD”
+ Electric Guest, “This Head I Hold”