Five Genre-bending artists making their mark in 2016

There’s nothing like music that is surprising, challenging and unpredictable — sounds that you can’t quite slot into a traditional category.

Here are five artists we’re loving, who bend genres like Alakazam does spoons.

Anderson .Paak

Origin: Oxnard, California, USA

You’ll dig it if you like: Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Frank Ocean

Image: Collin Moore

Composing boom bap through collecting gospel, neo-soul, disco and house — welcome to the world of Anderson .Paak.

The uniquely talented singer/rapper/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has been on the scene for the last five years, working with an array of hip hop artists including Dr. Dre, Mac Miller, 9th Wonder and Schoolboy Q.

Though only gaining global popularity in the last couple of years, .Paak is not exactly fresh-faced — but at the age of 30, his critically claimed album Malibu dropped earlier this year.

It’s been dropping jaws ever since.

With gutsy percussion, groovy baselines, smooth chords, gospel choirs and a fluid mix of rapping and singing, .Paak‘s music will get you up and about.

Come Down is one of the groovier tracks of 2016.

D.D Dumbo

Origin: Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia

You’ll dig it if you like: Glass Animals, Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Image: Mattinbgn

In October, D.D Dumbo (Oliver Perry) dropped his second album, Utopia Defeated. 

It’s full of music that pushes boundaries including this wonder, Walrus.

D.D Dumbo‘s eclectic feel, abstract textures, soothing vocals and punchy instrumentation — whether it be percussion, horns or something else — produces a sound that is surprising and challenging.

It’s wonderful to listen to an artist you can’t predict.


Origin: Los Angeles, California, US

You’ll dig it if you like: Bonobo, Flying Lotus

Image: Rene Passet

Los Angeles native, TOKiMONSTA (Jennifer Lee) is known for her unique take on indie-electronic/r&b/dance music.

A proud ‘bedroom producer’, every time TOKiMONSTA releases something new, you never know what eccentric combination of samples, percussion or melodies to expect.

Her latest seven-track LP, Fovere is a short but well-rounded project demonstrating all the beauty of TOKiMONSTA‘s sound.

Wound Up is the final track off the album — it has a beautifully eerie and dramatic opening that develops into a bumping house beat.


Origin: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

You’ll dig it if you like: Mura Masa, Ta-ku, Ryan Hemsworth

Image: Villunderlondon

Kaytranada‘s music’s got soul.

His signature sound — an amalgamation of house, disco, and hip-hop is something he and his brother jokingly call “black tropical house”, a play on the somewhat predominantly white EDM scene.

99.9%, his 2016 LP release, is Kaytranada eclipsing his 100 percent potential — his production and quality is at its very best on this one.

And it doesn’t get any funkier than Lite Spots.


Origin: Tokyo, Japan

You’ll dig it if you like: Evanescence, BAND-MAID

Image: Tamahikari Tammas

Who had the preposterous idea to mash three teenage girls from the J-pop world with heavy metal riffs?

Key ‘Kobametal’ Kobayashi, producer and longtime metal fan is who.

Babymetal embraces metal’s most enduring themes — fantasy, escapism, theatrics, bombast and volume — combining a solid, skillfully played metal foundation with J-pop at its most manic and cute.

Watch out, Babymetal are currently one the biggest stories in rock music.


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