• Barney Townsend

5 Acts We're Rooting For At This Year's MOBO Awards

Updated: Nov 22

The annual celebration of Black music and culture The MOBO Awards returns on Sunday, December 5 at Coventry Building Society Arena, with the event set to be live-streamed on YouTube and aired on the BBC. The nominees for this year’s ceremony have now been announced, with several Townsend Music artists up for multiple awards at the prestigious event, including Central Cee, Arlo Parks and M1llionz. We take a look through the albums, songs and videos of the artists for whom we'll be firmly crossing our fingers on December 5th.

Central Cee

Nominated For: Best Male Act, Song Of The Year, Best Newcomer, Best Drill Act


22-year-old West London rapper Central Cee released his debut mixtape Wild West back in March 2021 and his life's been a hurricane ever since. Across 2021, "Cench" has gone from being listed as BBC 1xtra's Hot For 2021 and named as a Spotify RADAR artist to having two top 20 tracks to now being shortlisted for no less than three MOBOs.

Wild West, a 14-track mixtape, with no features, is a statement of intent from the young rapper. Cench declares: "That's the good thing about my music... I'll always talk about what's current and what's real to me. So you'll get that feeling."

Central Cee's Wild West is available on CD and cassette from his official store.

Arlo Parks

Nominated For: Best Female Act, Album Of The Year, Best Newcomer


What can we say that hasn't already been said about Collapsed In Sunbeams? The record is the most talked-about UK debut since Jorja Smith's Lost & Found. and has seen her nominated for three MOBOs, including Album Of The Year.

Reviews of the record were appropriately glowing, with The Guardian echoing general accord about the prescience of Arlo's music during trying times: "Right now, Collapsed in Sunbeams feels like a warm breeze in the depths of a miserable winter." The consensus continues with The Line of Best Fit declaring "Collapsed In Sunbeams is timeless", musicOMH.com calling the record a "spellbinding debut " and Consequence of Sound considering it "multifaceted, deeply considered, and above all full of kindness."

"There’s something distinctly special about holding a physical version of an album that means the world to you - falling in love with the vinyl format is what started my music making journey." - Arlo Parks

Collapsed In Sunbeams is available on CD and cassette, with the Super Sad Generation EP on red vinyl also on Arlo's official store now.

M1llionz

Nominated For: Video Of The Year, Best Drill Act


Birmingham star M1llionz dropped his first full mixtape Provisional Licence this September. Born Miguel Rahiece Cunningham, the rapper’s early career almost entirely spanned a pandemic, accumulating over 279,000 followers on his m1llionz Instagram account on the strength of his unique flow and hotly-received freestyles.

The artist's debut depicts the ups and downs of his life so far. When announcing the release of the full-length mixtape on Instagram, the artist wrote: "Drill has given me a good platform to showcase my talent, I'm trying to elevate the sound and make it possible for the genre to transcend all the natural stereotypes."

"I put my city on my back and I'm trying to relate to every yute out there grinding through their come up in Birmingham and the UK." - M1llionz

His 'Lagga' video has him in the running for Video Of The Year. Provisional Licence is available to order on CD, cassette and digital album, alongside exclusive merch.

Enny

Nominated For: Song Of The Year, Best Newcomer


South-East London rapper and singer ENNY first broke onto the scene with her statement single 'Peng Black Girls' with Amia Brave, buoyed by a red hot remix featuring none other than Jorja Smith. The earth-shattering track is up for Song Of The Year at this year's MOBO's; no mean feat for a debut release.

Debut EP Under Twenty Five is a coming-of-age piece, offering ageing adolescents some light at the end of the tunnel. Turning 25, she explains she was faced at a crossroads with choosing between the music career she truly wanted or the one in the professional world that she'd fallen into. As a result, Under Twenty Five was born.

"This project concept was birthed in the most confusing time of my early 20s. I was caught between the sudden ticking of the age clock and feeling unfulfilled in a 9-5." - ENNY

Pick up the Under Twenty Five EP on vinyl from the official store, plus a range of ENNY t-shirts.

Potter Payper

Nominated For: Best Male Act, Best Hip-Hop Act

A lyricist through-and-through and staple of the U.K. underground, rapper Potter Payper has built his career on candid reflections of the environment he was raised in. His second mixtape, Training Day, has taken on an iconic role in the U.K. rap scene and has seen him up for two MOBO awards this year, including Best Male Act.

On Thanks For Waiting - the title a reference to the fans that stood by him after a spell of incarceration - the Essex rapper dissects street politics on a redemptive solo mixtape.

"I never did this for no charts, no radio, none of that means nothing compared to the genuine love and support you all showed me and continue to show me day in, day out, even before I took my life and music serious. The streets ain’t for me, but my music will always be for the streets." - Potter Payper

Thanks For Waiting is now available to order on CD, cassette and USB, alongside exclusive Potter Payper merchandise.

As well as the artists we've covered today, shoutouts to Backroad Gee, Jorja Smith, Bugzy Malone, D-Block Europe, Guvna B, Juls and AJ Tracey, who are all also in the running for coveted MOBO Awards. Our new Spotify playlist showcases some of their best tracks and you can find their releases on the Townsend Music store.



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