The Rap Pack
These three musicians are taking over the charts with their unconventional sound.
In December, Kanye West released an honest-to-God ballad, with Paul McCartney backing him on organ. It didn’t break the Internet, but it may have been a sign that hip-hop artists who can rap and sing with equal aplomb might just rule 2015. Of course, it helps if they are fashion-plate extraterrestrials like Brooke Candy, who’s been described as a postpunk Daisy Buchanan and a modern-day Marie Antoinette. “I’m a chameleon,” says Candy, 25, who is the newest muse of the former Lady Gaga stylist Nicola Formichetti. “But it was vital that I represent this warrior woman, because I’ve just been through so much.” She says her family kicked her out of the house because of her sexual orientation. (She identifies as queer—except “once in a blue moon,” she says.) She lived in her car; she worked as a stripper; she interned for the celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe. The rapper’s debut album (due this summer) is brutally honest about all this—and includes some particularly raw ballads. Another young talent warping hip-hop’s historically macho culture is Shamir Bailey, 20, a sweet-faced crooner who goes by Shamir. After releasing a critic-approved dance EP last year, he has shown that, in addition to his fluttery, genderless vocal style— “a new voice of androgyny,” gushed one music site—he can throw down some infectious, dexterous raps in the vein of Azealia Banks. And after months of hype, Tink, née Trinity Home, 20, will release her debut LP this year under the guidance of über-producer Timbaland. Her spitfire style evokes her mentor’s former collaborator Missy Elliott, and her seamless blend of rap and R&B—not to mention socially conscious lyrics—recall Lauryn Hill. To borrow a refrain from her many online admirers: In 2015, #thinktink.
Go behind the scenes with Brooke Candy here: