The Rollingstone staff talked to 10 of the hottest artists who are climbing the charts, breaking the Internet or just dominating their office stereos. This month: “Caroline” hitmaker Aminé, Chance-affiliated Chicago rapper Saba; Morricone-fueled cineastes Tredici Bacci, jam-band scientist Holly Bowling and more.
Adam Aminé Daniel has scored an unlikely hit with the wavy love rap “Caroline” – currently at 34 million YouTube views and counting. The Ethiopian descendant, Portland rapper is inspired by Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak and Outkast’s The Love Below, and taught himself to make beats with YouTube tutorials. He also studied business, advertising and marketing at Portland State University (he recently dropped out with 15 credits left towards his degree), and creates his own cover artwork.
Last year, he piqued interest among some influential blogs and websites with his 2015 mixtape Calling Brio, a diverse blend of house, bass drops, African pop and smooth-but-steady flows. When he posted “Caroline” to SoundCloud in June, he generated a fierce bidding war that resulted a deal with Republic Records. By September, Republic pushed the track onto streaming services, and it has soared into the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. He’s recorded over 60 songs for his next project, but he’s unsure if that will be an album or a mixtape. However, he knows that he wants to continue to make feel-good music that’s colorful and bright.
He Says: Aminé has no shortage of opinions on the anti-immigration policy that president-elect Donald Trump used in his recent campaign. “My parents are immigrants to this country,” says the Ethiopian-American artist. “They came to this country for a better opportunity just like everyone else. So if anyone else, whether they’re running for president or whatever they’re trying to do, if they’re bashing the people who are just working hard and just trying to make a better life for themselves by coming to America, I believe that’s completely wrong. To see someone like that do something like that and become president is just a testimony to where we are at culturally in America right now.”