It's not easy being big. The culturesphere's frenzied churn can bury the most talented artists and brilliant albums with astonishing quickness, and the flip of the calendar from one year to the next holds a special type of control-alt-delete power. But sometimes a streak is so hot it can't be cooled by book-closing best-of lists and holiday breaks characterized by radio silence. While some artists and bands burned bright in 2015 only to dim by Dec. 31, these seven are entering 2016 at full speed.
Becoming president of Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music in November was the first step in what looks to be the most ambitious blitz of Pusha T's career thus far. His plans for the brand sound great—a new posse album, a potential G.O.O.D. tour and festival—and his musical output's flourishing, with a sequel to December's excellent King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude right around the corner.
The good part about releasing a successful album at the end of November is that it's almost guaranteed to carry you into the new year. The good part about being Adele, though, is that your fans will treat you like a queen as long as you're once again hanging out in the limelight. After a four-year wait, 25 decimated the all-time highest sales week record with its 3.48 million debut. By the end of 2015, 7.44 million copies resided in collections across America... meaning it doesn't matter whatsoever that we'll have to wait till July for her four-and-a-half-month North American tour, where New York and L.A. get six dates apiece and almost all other cities are booked for back-to-back nights.
One of Fuse's five #2015Breakout artists, Twenty One Pilots didn't just jump to the next level last year—they leapt high enough that the beginning of 2016 still has them on the rise. Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun's nascent crossover empire will manifest itself with a massive U.S. arena tour starting in May—including a sold-out date at Madison Square Garden—and the continued success of "Stressed Out." The Blurryface single hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Rock Songs chart just before New Year's after 35 weeks on the chart. On Jan. 4, it slid to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking their first Top 10 song.
Oh, and before that U.S. tour, they're rocking across Europe, Japan, South America and Canada for more than two months.
To Pimp a Butterfly dropped nearly nine months ago, but Kendrick has proved a master at maintaining a big presence in pointed little ways ever since. Instead of a typical large-scale tour, he did a dozen intimate autumn dates, dubbed Kunta's Groove Sessions. His media presence was selective; his music videos—five so far—were capital-E Events, frequently thrumming with social commentary.
Then he ended up on every year-end best albums list imaginable, taking the No. 1 spot on roundups by Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Complex, Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times, Billboard, the Guardian, Spin, and yes, Fuse. Add a pack-leading 11 GRAMMY nominations and Kendrick can clearly do whatever he wants in 2016 knowing we'll be watching.
With just a month's notice, Coldplay dropped their seventh album, A Head Full of Dreams, at the beginning of December. It's blasting them into 2016 with the poppy hit "Adventure of a Lifetime"—and with the tease that this record might be their last. The band will headline the Super Bowl 50 halftime show on Feb. 7 and begin a 14-country tour in April. No American dates are scheduled yet, but they'll be big whenever they come.
Any time in the last few years, Justin Bieber might have cooled within a month or so of dropping an album, particularly with a patience-testing two-and-a-half-month promo buildup. But Purpose was so good, and its singles so strong and successful (three are in the Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 as of this writing; four more are kicking around further down the chart) that the world is once again in Bieber's hands. Until his nearly five-month U.S. tour kicks off in March, he'll keep the buzz going with vinyl releases of his first four albums and his first performance at the BRIT Awards. (And after the U.S. tour, he's heading to Europe all fall.)
Future's 2015 was so hot you'd be forgiven for thinking his biggest chapter so far ended with Dirty Sprite 2's appearance on year-end lists galore. (No. 13 on Fuse's 20 Best Albums of 2015, heyo.) It's definitely been a minute since he and Drake dropped What a Time to Be Alive—Future's fifth release in less than 18 months—but a February and March tour with Ty Dolla $ign and two or three new mixtapes in the chamber guarantees that the pause button has yet to be pushed.
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