For PAPER's 2019 predictions list, we looked across every aspect of pop culture — music, film, art, activism, social media, fashion, beauty — for fresh new faces that are about to look a whole lot more familiar. Tierra Whack, Slayyyter, and Tayla Parx are set to feature heavily on your pump up playlists. Justice Smith, Chance Perdomo, and Emma Nelson are starring in upcoming blockbusters in cinemas and on Netflix. Writers Sally Mao and Morgan Parker are headed to bookstore shelves, and artists like Damon Davis and Jessi Jumanji will headline gallery shows. We've figured out exactly whose profiles you're about to follow: Layla F. Saad, Allen Salway, Hunter Harris. Plus the people you'll be getting fashion, makeup, and self-love inspiration from: Isaac West, La'shaunae, Crystal Methnay. It's going to be a good year! These are the 100 names worth getting to know in advance.
Illustration by Austin Call (@Duhrivative)
Who are you?
I am AJA.
What do you do?
I am a rapper from Bedstuy, Brooklyn with a lot to say.
What are you most proud of from 2018?
The thing I'm most proud of from 2018 is completing my first full length studio album, BOX OFFICE while being an independent artist. That was not easy at all. I can't believe I did it! BOX OFFICE is my story, it's my upbringing, it's my struggles with anxiety and insecurities, it's about the love I have for my fans, the love I have for music and the love I have for my family. Making this album is what got me up in the morning, because it's more than just about me.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge in 2019?
My biggest challenge in 2019 will not be my own challenge but rather, other people's challenge. Can they look past my fashion and aesthetic choices and recognize me as a serious musical artist? I do think it's possible. I've never let a challenge trump me.
What do you think will be your biggest opportunity in 2019?
My biggest opportunity will most likely be people getting to hear my sound and my message. It will be people hearing my story and relating; no matter their background. I'm ready to elevate my music and my career even further and do things people told me I could never do.