(Nine) Things To Watch For In The Baltimore Music Scene Next Year

I'm not saying "I'm calling it now," but don't be surprised if you read this next year and I'm right

Music is difficult to predict. The music scene of a particular city is even more difficult to predict. Consider a music scene growing as fast as Baltimore’s even more difficult. Even so, it’s interesting to see trends develop and watch how they play out.

From music consumption to record labels, and more, here are a few things to watch for next year as the Baltimore music scene continues to grow.

The under-21 crowd

With veterans like Tate Kobang and Young Moose, you have to sometimes remind yourself that the newcomers are also making names for themselves. Blue Benjamin Sleepy, Bandhunta Izzy, Lor Choc, Jayy Grams, Deetranada, YTK, Micheal Taylor, Oscvr Wow, Baby Kahlo, John Wells – the list goes on. These are all names that are not even old enough to purchase alcohol yet that have established even the slightest of a fan base without even fully even coming into their own yet. While we’ll have to wait to see their artistry develop, the affects of them being present in the city’s music scene can be seen now.


Oscvr Wow
Photo via @nilenextdoor

Event Curation

The talent in Baltimore has never been the problem. It’s more-so the platforms and events available to artists for them to showcase said talent. Thus, proper event curation is a necessity in order to allow artists to continue to flourish. The proper coordination and curation of events like the pictured #GoodFortunes are key in spotlighting the city’s talent.


More record deals

Earlier this year, Bandhunta Izzy inked a deal with Republic Records. While record deals are nothing new to Baltimore, Izzy’s may be the biggest – definitely the most important since Tate Kobang’s in 2015. Izzy is now on a roster next to multi-platinum megastars like Drake and Lil Wayne. With that being said, the stakes are a bit higher. More eyes are not only on him, but the rest of the city – other labels are now watching as well. It would be no surprise if more artists put ink to paper next year. Alongside Izzy, Peso Da Mafia and The Creek Boyz were also able to land deals with Warner Bros. and 300 Entertainment, respectively.


Closing the gap between Baltimore and the DMV

It’s safe to say that Baltimore will never fully consider itself part of the DMV. However, that doesn’t mean that the city can’t work with its neighbors. From collaborations to fitting on the same show bill, there’s been this gradual coming together of Baltimore and the DMV. I think 2018 is the year where these barriers are broken down and the two parties work hand and hand.


Major streaming

I saw a tweet the other day where someone voiced their frustration in attempting to make a playlist of the best songs of the city this year. Why? Because, Baltimore is behind in terms of the streaming game. Even now, the “Welcome to Baltimore” playlist The Demo Tape curates is no easy task. However, strides were made this year from CDs and platforms like Spinrilla to Spotify and Apple Music. With these two streaming giants becoming the primary method for music consumption, it’s likely that the trend of artists playing catch-up in terms of where they release their music follows as well.


Emergence of more women in the Rap scene

For a while now, it’s always seemed like the guys ran Baltimore’s rap scene. Big names like Lor Scoota, Young Moose, Tate Kobang, President Davo, etc. are always the first to come to name when you think of rap and Baltimore. Even past them, the names to emerge in that second tier have been men as well.

In 2017, we were shown a number of women who may change that. From Deetranada of season 3 of The Rap Game to West Baltimore’s Lor Choc, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to say that we could see 2018 end with a woman in that top tier as well. Names like Lex Chapo, Chrissy StayHigh, Jenni Dimepeace, Baby Kahlo, Fluent, and more make 2018 a promising one for Baltimore women in rap.


Next breakout solo artist

In 2014, we got Lor Scoota, Young Moose, YGG Tay and President Davo all at once. In 2015, we got Tate Kobang. 2016 was the year of YBS Skola and “Whole Lotta Money.” This year though, we got two groups with the city’s biggest songs – Peso Da Mafia with “Money Man” and The Creek Boyz’s “With My Team.” Therefore, the trend of Baltimore being good for at least one breakout solo artists was broken.

Will we get a year where four of the city’s biggest names come all at once? Who knows. What’s highly unlikely, though, is that the city goes back-to-back years without a breakout solo artist.


More creative collectives and groups

Closing the gap between Baltimore and the DMV is one thing, but closing the gap between Baltimore and Baltimore is another. For years, hostility and beefs between everything from hometowns to hype prevented things such as collabs fans wanted to see, records people wanted to hear, and possibly even deaths. The cliquing up of Baltimore artists to form like-minded collectives is a step in the right direction. If Baltimore can get behind Baltimore and support itself, 2018 may become the year it becomes regarded nationwide as a budding hotbed for talent.

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