Our Generation Music presents our 2023 “Artists To Watch” list. Looking to make a splash in the new year, here are 33 artists you need to keep tabs on in ’23. (Arranged in alphabetical order)
EDITOR’s NOTE: “SML” stands for “Spotify Monthly Listeners.” This stat is listed to gauge the artist’s current monthly reach in 2023.
Let us know who else we should watch out for this year!
Hometown: Atlanta | SML: 430K
Atlanta’s signature sound has evolved for the better — ushering in a new iteration of street-centric stars that have overwhelmingly taken over. Among its new regime, Baby Drill is perhaps the most tantalizing of them all. His breakout 2022 record, Drill Season, gave fans a full platter of his trap-drill sound. Fusing the best aspects of both genres, Baby Drill’s aggressive, hard-hitting bars and co-signs from Drake, 21 Savage and Nudy not only bolster his appeal ten-fold, but set the stage for his mainstream arrival. With a personality and mic presence irreplaceable from today’s echelon of rising emcees, tracks like “32 Freestyle,” Duntsane” with Young Nudy and “Mr. CFBW” with G Herbo have positioned the West Atlanta newcomer for a head-turning 2023.
Hometown: Charlotte, NC | SML: 327K
With luxury implied in his name, BIGBABYGUCCI champions “Living with Passion” in every facet. Dominating 2022 with three full-length projects and a slew of singles, BBG’s knack for meshing auto-laced crooning within flex-filled bars is his greatest strength. It just comes natural for the North Carolina rapper, as his latest track “Bank Account” further showcases the underground mainstay’s extension of the new wave’s patented rage soundscape. With another new project on the way, BBG is both relentless and reverent — growing up right before our eyes.
Chow Lee-Cash Cobain
Hometown: New York City | SML: 55K & 114K
An underground tandem that’s had the game’s drill-dance genre fusion in a chokehold, Cash Cobain and Chow Lee are an unavoidable one-two punch. Flaunting braggadocious bars and intricate melodies over unique sample-driven production, their joint project 2 Slizzy 2 Sexy proved they are one of the best new dual-threat artist-producers in the game. Both original and electric respectively, their innovative “sexy drill” sound is in all parts erotic and catchy, as Chow rhymes with a salacious swagger unseen from any other East Coast emcee. Cash is regarded as the “sample god” for a reason — flipping any loop or track into an unquestioned bop with ease. While “these beats from Cash, not from YouTube,” the “sexy” pair look to shake up every room they enter this year.
Hometown: South Florida | SML: 68K
C Stunna’s flow is one you won’t forget — instantly infectious and playful on his latest track “Al Roker.” While the South Florida native emanates an energy similar to Kodak Black, his woozy drawl is classic and concerted — seemingly inviting you to the heart of his city on first spin. Stunna’s punchline-packed cadences fill each track with flexes galore, saucing up his scoreboard with true Sunshine State anthems in “Motion” and “Jwett Stalker.” Steel drums and head-bobbing, drill-infused beats constantly bleed into his discography, as Stone Cold Stunna (2021) embodies his distinct, laid-back barrage of bars and Floridian flow. Despite his name being C Stunna, he earns an A-plus heading into 2023.
Hometown: Atlanta | SML: 121K
Gaining traction late last year stemming from his feature on Kenny Mason‘s “DIP!”, DavidTheTragic embodies the fun, carefree experimentations that engulf his discography. His latest project, LOWERSELF, is all about overcoming the lows life present, as both rage-filled and left-of-center cuts in “DRUGZ,” “Bezerk” and “Out Of Time” rounded the rising emcee into genre-less form in ’22. More than ready to break down walls once 2023 settles in, the only thing that’s “TRAGIC” is that you didn’t catch on to him sooner.
DC The Don
Hometown: Los Angeles | SML: 626K
A new wave mainstay since the start of SoundCloud’s revitalized era, DC The Don is one of the few artists on this list poised for a major mainstream breakout in 2023. His sound spans from blitzing rage bangers, alt-plugg, emo-rap fusion and hyperpop anthems that conjure mosh-pits on sight. Dropping My Own Worst 3nemy in 2022, Donny’s forthcoming record, FUNERAL, should be the push he needs to reach a whole new level in 2023. Don’t count out Donny, because he’s always evolving.
Hometown: New York City | SML: 1.3 Million
Prominent in the underground’s YouTube space, NYC drill spitter DD Osama is a like a lyrical time-bomb waiting to explode. Tracks like “Letter To Notti,” “Eternal” and viral cuts in “THROW,” “40s N 9s” and “Catch Up” with BBG Steppaa emanate the wave New York’s young emcees have cultivated through each borough — with DD reigning as one of the most exciting of the bunch. At 16-years-old with much more to prove, age is but a number on DD’s ascent to acclaim.
Hometown: Worchester, MA | SML: 232K
Among the many producers turned full-fledged artists in 2022, Devstacks stands as one of the most impressive. Touting early production credits for Summrs, Autumn! and more — helping to pioneer pluggnb in its infancy — the internet-era phenom is as captivating as he is versatile. Singles in “Where Yo Swag,” “4pf” and “Heartbreaker” may have put Dev on the map as a lyricist, but his latest mixtape, Now They Know Us 3, garnered a slew of high-powered underground co-signs from Midwxst, Rich Amiri, BoofPaxkMooky among others. Make no mistake, Dev is on pace to become a premier face of the new wave.
Hometown: Summerville, SC | SML: 1.3 Million
Seven albums in a two-year span is a major feat for anyone cementing themselves as a can’t-miss talent — and Dro Kenji is the prime example of it. Poised for mainstream stardom, it’s apparent that Kenji’s affinity for love-torn, emotive soundscapes are inspired by the likes of Juice WRLD and XXXTENTACION. However, the 21-year-old South Carolina native possesses an intrinsic star power all his own — separating himself from his peers by way of oft-powered, energetic love ballads and grunge rock-infused cadences. While his latest album, ANYWHERE BUT HERE, is his most polished effort to date, we can bet on Kenji being at the top once 2023 calls curtains.
Hometown: Decatur, GA | SML: 153K
“Remember Me” is not only a call to action for the fast-rising Georgia emcee, but a fortune he will continue to tell as his career takes off. Citing D Savage as one of his biggest inspirations, Glokk40spaz’s name derives from his ability to “spaz out” in the studio, he told Breavity in November 2020. Since taking the internet by storm — with tracks like “Round Here” and “Definition” popping off while he was incarcerated — Glokk’s buzz only continues to get bigger. With visceral, mangy flows and a presence that demands attention, remembering Glokk40spaz will be a rather easy task when 2023 is all said and done.
Hometown: Atlanta | SML: 219K
Inspired by ATL pioneers in Future and Young Thug, Hardrock fully embodies the moniker he dons. With edgy, futuristic beats and flows that mimic the brashness of electric guitars, the 18-year-old star-in-the-making catches your attention as soon as you press play. In other words, he makes you “Feel Alive” — a marquee track off his second 2022 project SLATTYDON — pushing the envelope with blazing-fast bangers and moody alt-cuts alike. “Hardcore Drugs,” “God’s Hands” and “bleh” are just the tip of the iceberg for Hardrock, who would certainly make a good fit for Playboi Carti’s label Opium. Regardless of fact-or-faux label deals, Hardrock should be an instant add to your rotation.
Hometown: Seattle | SML: 203K
Highway’s sound is in all parts enigmatic, as his striking style can make a superfan out of any first-time listener. Captivating the game with his vibey melodic flows, gripping baritone and noticeably original production (much of which he co-produces himself), the 23-year-old artist’s very particular approach perfectly meets the growing demand for a hybrid sound that blurs the line between trap, R&B and the new wave. Fresh, genre-bending and still undeniably hip-hop, his self-titled LP and Livin Like That — which features a huge co-sign from Destroy Lonely — are just the beginning for the Seattle native. Highway is speeding towards stardom in the fast lane — and for all the right reasons.
Hometown: DMV | SML: 408K
Maryland native Joony has had plenty to be proud of in his young career — and on his 2022 album Pretty In Black, he champions the versatility that’s always come natural to him. Curating an essence that’s completely unique to his eclectic taste, the 21-year-old crooner has been fighting his own Silent Battles on his road to notoriety. Positioning himself as one of the most underrated artists in today’s underground, the new wave genre-bender is a beacon for entrancing melodies that seemingly seep into your soul. Amid a career-defining year, capped with accolades from Brent Faiyaz’s “masterpiece” WASTELAND and his first-ever solo tour, the Lost Kids singer-rapper will surely break more sonic barriers in 2023.
Hometown: Brooklyn, NYC | SML: 123K
A born “Sinner,” Kelz’s voice unknowingly bewitches you on first spin. Mesmerizing in every way, it only took the 15-year-old NYC singer two songs to garner notoriety over the summer. Melding ethereal dancehall-club production with distinct R&B crooning, “Why” and the aforementioned “Sinner” are pure yet fleeting samples of Kelz’s ear-catching talent — which is well beyond his years. Dropping off his first single of 2023 in “Good 2 Me,” it’s evident that his vocals are truly something special. The more we hear from Kelz, the more he’ll continue to impress new and longtime listeners alike.
Lil Double 0
Hometown: Memphis, TN | SML: 867K
Memphis has been known to produce superstar-caliber talent year in and year out. Of the city’s younger generation, Lil Double 0 is leading the pack — captivating listeners with his monotone yet irresistable flow that’s charismatically Memphis. Signing to Future’s FREEBANDZ imprint in 2021, LD0’s debut project with the label, Walk Down Gang, evidently led to his breakout in 2022. With a long string of singles and his high-powered album, Walk Down World, featuring the likes of Lil Uzi Vert, LUCKI, EST Gee, G Herbo, Future, BabyDrill and Nardo Wick, LD0 is running the streets from here on out.
Hometown: Tallahassee, FL | SML: 498K
“Back Flippin” into prominence, Luh Tyler‘s punchline game is as heavy hitting as his Southern style. The teenage phenom’s breakout hit “Law & Order” not only samples the Emmy-winning TV show of the same name, but displays the Tallahassee native’s ability to bend and break his voice whenever he pleases. With raspy quips about love, life and money, Tyler makes his lifestyle sound more enjoyable on every passing cut — crafting songs that are perfect for poolside parties. If anything is certain, Luh Tyler has all the makings to become the Sunshine State’s next golden boy.
Hometown: Harlem, NYC | SML: 13K
At just 18-years-old, Lunchbox helped craft one of the most exciting sounds hip-hop saw in years alongside Sheck Wes. Majorly producing for the Cactus Jack signee’s debut project, Mudboy, in 2018, the Harlem-based producer-turned-rapper has evolved altogether in the years that followed. Still championing the high-velocity experimentation his early work with Sheck embodied, the new wave’s influence is at the core of the now 22-year-old emcee’s trajectory to stardom. With vaporwave cuts and vibey, melodic bangers like “Jokes up,” “So fun” and “NO MORE MR NICE GUY,” it won’t be long before Lunchbox has a seat at the table of underground shakers.
Hometown: New Jersey | SML: 73K
Maajins has been practically making beats since birth. Along with his underground-defining track “Antisocial” with Tana and Yung Fazo, the producer-turned-artist is making waves on his own accord. Backed by contemplative melodies, soft-spoken vocals and intricate song structures, tracks like “wait4u,” “Issues” and “Lie” have seen Maajins voice his contributions to the underground scene he helped prop up as a producer. Collaborating with Yeat, Autumn!, Rich Amiri, DC The Don and more, the 15-year-old artist is sure to get more comfortable — and impressive — on the mic as 2023 wages on.
Hometown: Bronx, New York City | IG Following: 155K
Murda B‘s ascension in NYC’s blossoming drill scene is all thanks to her impressively menacing flow and quick-witted bars. Dominating TikTok for you pages and YouTube algorithms, she’s become the “New Face Of This Sh*t” in just a few months’ time — emanating an energy and presence similar to that of fellow Bronx artist Cardi B. While their names are similar, their sound couldn’t be different, as Murda’s allure lies in the mainstream-flipped drill beats she bodies on sight. Touting an “Introduction” for the ages by interpolating XXXTENTACION‘s “A Ghetto Christmas Carol,” Murda’s raw talent outweighs her odds of falling off — apparent during her vicious On The Radar freestyle.
Hometown: Colombia, South Carolina | SML: 55K
Connecting with prolific producer Based1 on his latest single “Naismith,” Pyrex Pryce‘s sound is cinematic at its core. Much like his 2022 album, Do Your Worst, the South Carolina emcee’s knack for melody is evident on his latest track — kicking off 2023 with a head-bobbing start. Boasting loose similarities to Dro Kenji, Iann Dior and The Kid LAROI, Pyrex’s voice is truly the star of the show. Tracks like “Do Your Worst,” “Intro” and his highest-streamed single off the record “Used To This” highlight the rising singer-rapper’s refined track presence as a future mainstream prospect. Timing is everything, and for Pyrex, his time is coming.
Hometown: Boston | SML: 352K
Internet Money signee Rich Amiri has been making noise ever since his 2021 single “Walk In” was heard on everyone’s TikTok feed. On the surface, Amiri’s deep-toned flows makes each beat sound like butter. Whether it be smooth, classic-cuts like “Keep All That” or woozy rage heaters like “Can’t Die,” the Boston native’s ability to craft addictive hooks and angelic melodies make his replay value unquestioned. Experimenting with high-pitched sung vocals, blissful harmonies and an array of production ranging from cloudy R&B to synth-heavy trap, his arsenal of sonic weapons began to expand. Although Amiri’s skin in the game only stretches two years, he’s well on his way to become Internet Money’s next bona fide hitmaker.
Hometown: New Jersey | SML: 2.4 Million
From making beats in his bedroom during the pandemic to rising pop stardom, Riovaz is striving to be “timeless.” His main goal: To be free from genre, categorizing all of his music as “rio rave” — a catch-all definition for his house, hyper-pop and electronic-inspired sound. Whether it be recent hits in “Tell Me Your Fears,” “Tantrum (Pace Yourself)” or his feature on KA$HDAMI‘s “Trust Issues,” the 18-year-old artist-producer has formed a sonic world all his own. With a new EP on the way, expect 2023 to be the year Rio “raves” his way to the top.
Hometown: Atlanta | SML: 379K
As a byproduct of the new wave’s signature rage pocket, Rollin Thrax is leading a vibe all his own. Bred from the distorted, waning synths the underground has become synonymous for, the budding Atlanta rapper’s viral hit “Yeaaaa” not only has created a moment for him, but has seen his star soar since. Although Thrax has gone up in 2022, he’s been dropping music on SoundCloud since 2020. It wasn’t until he shared his debut EP SSX that fans started taking notice of his talent — following up the 9-track project with 2eZ and other singles in “Max Prestige” and “TimDuncan *21*”. “Nvr2Much,” “<3/H8” and “Apollo.” On top working with Internet Money’s CXDY for a majority of SSX, Thrax is poised for an even bigger year in 2023.
Hometown: Kansas City, MO | SML: 23K
Rory Fresco has come a long way since his track “Lowkey” autoplayed after Kanye West’s “Real Friends” on SoundCloud. Coincidentally — citing Ye and Kid Cudi as his inspirations — the 25-year-old artist engulfs his sound in emotive, auto-laced sing-rapping. After linking up with CashMoneyAP on Rare Form (2020) and his latest full-length album Born Hero (2021) Fresco went on a hot streak in 2022 — dropping off three singles that further encapsulated his vocal-dominant sound. Ranging from triumphant brass-heavy bangers to bouncy trap cuts, the Kansas City native’s latest efforts in “Doze” and “Sega” further employed his melodic rap stylings consistent with many of the new wave’s blossoming voices. However, Fresco sets himself apart by sticking to his strengths — looking to break out in 2023 as a newcomer to remember.
Hometown: Atanta | SML: 470K
Much like with his May 2022 album, Free Me, Ken is finally free to live — and create — the way he wants. Returning home from a year-long prison sentence in July, his confident and diverse flows, impressive beat selection, volatile subject matter and continuously improving chemistry with producers like JetsonMade and Taz Taylor of Internet Money have continued to make his stock skyrocket. Ken initially erupted on the scene in March 2021 with his single “007” — not letting his arrest slow down his momentum. Evident on his fresh-pressed LP, Yahweh Child, in December, the tried-and-true Atlanta emcee is at the heart of the city’s sound (and roots).
Homtown: Atlanta | SML: 105K
Prepping for his upcoming project Dreams Unlocked, 2023 is going to be Sid Shyne‘s year. Off the back of its lead single “CYBERLOVE 333” and “FLYIN,” the ATL wordsmith embraces the true essence of the new wave by way of his “futuristic” soundscape. Rapping with a raw and refined ability that enamors first-time listeners, Shyne emits an en energy free from constraint — putting him in a special category that separates him from other rising rage-rappers. Making his “Dreams” come true, Shyne looks to unlock his full potential in the new year.
Hometown: Atlanta | SML: 58K
A part of SoundCloud’s next generation, sgpwes is perhaps one of the most underrated acts in the new wave. Touting collaborations with SSGKobe, KA$HDAMI, Slump6s, OnlyBino! and more, the teen sensation is bringing more energy — and burgers — to his ever-growing fan base. The Atlanta native’s sound is not only consistent with the underground’s budding superstars, but finds balance in the off-kilter, electronic soundscapes that meld the confines of hyperpop and plugg. However, Wes’ deep flow and vibrato elevate his aura ten-fold, creating a sense of nostalgia around his music. “Surrounded” by a slew of talent, Wes is sure to whip up more brgr pcks to keep fans fed all year long.
Hometown: Atlanta | SML: 10K
Part of the underground’s “new” new wave, Southsidesilhouette is trending anywhere but south. Rolling with fellow adjacent stars in Rollin Thrax and Hardrock among others, Southside really hit his stride in 2022 — working alongside Clayco (a longtime collaborator of Destroy Lonely) and Internet Money to curate a heavy, dirty-bass iteration of rage music. His May project, DIAFORA, truly showcased his untapped potential — bodying moshpit-built tracks like “DEAD TIL THE SUN COME OUT,” “SUICIDE DOORS” and “JUNKIE.” “Untouchable” in his own right, Southside’s 2023 will paint a clearer picture of where he’s headed.
Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC | SML: 1.2 Million
“FreakyT” was the moment for Tia Corine this past year. As the track continues to achieve viral notoriety and major looks throughout the industry, her September 2022 album, I Can’t Wait, is a masterclass of potency unbound by genre. The North Carolina-based singer-rapper’s versatile and genre-bending style is bolstered by colorful wordplay, off the wall visuals and, most of all, her vibrant personality. She effortlessly combines elements of hip-hop, pop, rock and R&B — wrapping these sounds altogether with anime and Tumblr-era internet aesthetics. Co-signed by the likes of SZA, Kenny Beats, A$AP Rocky, Rico Nasty and others, Tia’s takeover was always in her cards.
Hometown: New York City | SML: 55K
At the core of the underground’s emerging “dance” lane, Wolfacejoeyy is attacking the new wave through a different lens. Since finding his stride with his viral hit “Shake It,” he’s largely forgone the more typical rage and pluggnb soundscapes to double down on a more pop-feeling sound. Showcasing his charming vocals and trap-infused, club-leaning production — seen throughout his new EP, all your fault — there’s no denying that Joeyy is an exciting newcomer bringing a fresh sound to the “game.”
Hometown: DMV | SML: 417K
Yung Kayo ended 2022 with a bang. Dropping his debut project with Young Stoner Life, DFTK, last February and Nineteen on his birthday (Nov. 29), the DMV native has the talent to back up his affiliation with YSL. As the label’s youngest member, Kayo has appeared on songs with Yeat, Gunna and more, as the 19-year-old rapper’s growth is evident in the atmospheric extension of his rage-inducing soundscape. With the ability to shine alongside superstar-level talent, be sure to brush up on Yung Kayo before he blows up.
Hometown: Miami, FL | SML: 226K
With the elite backing of Lil Bibby’s Grade A Productions (former home to Juice WRLD and The Kid LAROI) and a growing list of co-signs, Zzz. has made a serious splash over the last several months. From major label deals to performances at Rolling Loud and Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash, the Miami artist is gearing up to be a force to be reckoned with this year — all while finishing school no less. With the release of his debut single “All I Never Wanted” (Oct. 27) and follow-up two-pack A Gift And A Curse in December, you shouldn’t be sleeping on Zzz.