Whenever a prominent artist makes a political statement, the mix of backlash and appraisal that ensues results in high publicity for both the artist and the topic they’re speaking about. The Grammy Awards provided the perfect platform for such declarations this year, from Paris Jackson’s protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline to A Tribe Called Quest and Anderson .Paak’s shade-throwing performances. Using fame to shine a light on social issues is a powerful way to make one’s voice heard, but there’s also a reciprocal to it: using politics to generate fame. This was the approach taken by singer-songwriter Joy Villa, who many people hadn’t heard of until she debuted a “Make America Great Again” gown on the red carpet.

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It’s rare in hip hop for an artist to reemerge successfully after being off the scene for a while, but what’s even more surprising is when the artist comes back stronger than before. There’s only one exception currently to this rule and it’s Atlanta raised rapper Gucci Mane aka “East Atlanta Santa” aka “Guwop.” Some fans questioned the validity of the new and improved  Gucci saying he was a clone. This took place after Guwop served three years in prison and was released months early in June 2016.

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The general expectation of former Disney Channel stars is either a spectacular fall from grace or a fade into oblivion. Bridgit Mendler, known for her roles in television show Good Luck Charlie and movie Lemonade Mouth star, managed to escape the common pitfalls of childhood stardom.

In the last few months, grime and R&B songstress Ray BLK has been making headlines for her pulsating beats, sweet caramel voice, and most of all, her boldly candid lyrics.  The Nigerian born, UK-raised singer was recently named the winner of the BBC Sound of 2017, a list that is dominated by #BlackGirlMagic this year and a title previously held by artists like Adele and Sam Smith. Unlike her predecessors, Ray BLK is not yet signed to a major label, but that hasn’t stopped her from grinding and releasing music on her own terms.