2022 Our Generation Music All-Stars

Our Generation Music presents OGM All-Stars: our favorite artists list of 2022. Consisting of 22 rising talents that defined this year in music, each emcee has contributed to the culture part of a new generation of hitmakers. (List arranged from 1-22)


Yeat

It’s no secret that Yeat achieved this level of notoriety by pushing the envelope. From his now-infamous lingo to recent murmurs of a Cyberpunk-inspired sound, the California-raised rapper is as talented as he is mysterious. And everyone is biting at the bit to get a piece of music’s secretive muse.

He’s arrived triumphantly with two more albums, 2 Alivë and LYFË, this past year, which were backed by a pair of Lil Uzi Vert features and future snippets. Further assuring his star sits alongside rap’s current reign of royalty, Yeat’s ceiling seems to get higher every year, competing with Drake amongst the largest of stream collectors. An all-time OGM favorite, expect Yeat to further etch his place in history as 2023 settles in. — Jon Barlas

LUCKI

LUCKI’s 2022 was defined by viral moments. The “Super Urus” emcee truly took listeners to Neptune with his latest album FLAWLESS LIKE ME, as the dubbed “underground king” evolved altogether both stylistically and professionally this year. It wasn’t long ago that the Chicago native looked to Future for comfort in the toxicity he found himself stuck in. Now, he’s rocking “KAPITOL DENIM” alongside his idol on his new record, also crediting Detroit wunderkind BabyFace Ray, among other inspirations, for his change in work ethic in recent years. FLAWLESS LIKE ME is a glimmering example of LUCKI’s hold on the culture — finally receiving the notoriety he’s rightfully deserved for nearly a decade. — Jon Barlas

Destroy Lonely

While most young emcees are typically indicted for “being carried by their beats,” it’s apparent that having a strong flow and being able to rap effectively, with whichever style you choose, is still of the utmost importance. You have to be able to rap, and in Destroy Lonely’s case, it’s clear that it comes natural.

The NO STYLIST emcee has led the Opium movement — alongside Ken Carson — for all of 2022. With his exasperated approach to genre-bending, off-kilter melodies and obvious charisma, Lonely’s ability to captivate his fanbase could only be attributed to his exceptional combination of tangible attributes. He has all the upside and skill necessary to sustain his growing cult fanbase, as it’s abundantly evident that he’s well on his way to becoming a successful mainstream rapper — and may very well leave his counterparts in the dust. — Thomas Galindo

BabyTron

21-year-old BabyTron is easily one of the most unlikely stars to have risen out of Detroit in recent years. Known for his irreverent “scammer” flow, disheveled look and freakish work ethic, Tron made his first big waves last year with his breakout album Luka Troncic and later Bin Reaper 2. He inked a deal with EMPIRE following these well-received projects, which received unexpected celebrity cosigns from Kevin Durant, Jack Harlow and Lil Yachty, as well as important hometown heroes like Big Sean and KrispyLife Kidd.

Since then, he’s kept his foot on the gas with his March album Megatron, Bin Reaper 3 and a slew of impressive singles. This spring, he put up huge numbers with Youtube-exclusive singles like “Prince of the Mitten” and “King of the Galaxy,” which led to him connecting with Cole Bennett for the legendary 21 beats-in-one Lyrical Lemonade-assisted track “Emperor of the Universe.” On that note, his videos directed by DotCom Nirvan such as “Bring Em Thru” and “Hold Up, Wait!” also demonstrate how stamped he is among this new generation. In June, Tron was named one of 2022’s XXL Freshman, a well-deserved title to add to his growing list of self-appointments as he continues to live up to his prolific reputation with non-stop releases. — Aidan Werder

Ken Carson

Ken Carson has not only taken the underground scene by storm — he’s destroyed it and built it back up in his image. Leading Playboi Carti’s Opium imprint to the top with his unorthodox style and top-tier production, the Atlanta native’s punk-infused rage sound has translated to a reputation for hectic performances and rockstar aesthetic, setting himself apart musically with a relentless delivery of vocals that often overlap between lines.

Off the back of his debut full-length effort Project X — which contained no features and showcased his skills to the fullest — his latest studio album X was preceded by a slew of “lost files” drops on SoundCloud. A mastermind of garnering hype — all by saying less and meaning more — his most notable collaborations with Yeat, Lil Tecca and labelmate Destroy Lonely have solidified his position as a stratospheric all-star for years to come. — Nimai Kumar

Summrs

Not only did “the biggest bird” turn things up a notch in 2022, Summrs‘ latest album Fallen Raven overwhelmingly reasserted why he’s on the Mt. Rushmore of the underground. The Louisiana rapper and former Slayworld member has soared to internet era stardom in recent years, yet 2022 seemed more defining than most. “Swing Ya Pole,” “Let da birds out” and “So Much Cheese” were just a few cornerstone tracks from Summrs this year — who recently said he would sell his archived music to a label for $1 million. His independence is cause for celebration, as his grip on the underground continues to get tighter with every passing track. Make no mistake, Summrs is just heating up after another career-defining year in 2022. — Jon Barlas

Eem Triplin

There’s nothing “Awkward” about Eem Triplin’s rise to acclaim. For him, trusting the process is how he’s captured the moment he’s worked so long for. Ultimately, manifestation is real for the 21-year-old producer-rapper, who initially blew up off the back of his Tyler, The Creator-sampled track “Awkward Freestyle” earlier this year. Tyler’s coveted co-sign, in our Instagram comments nonetheless, quickly skyrocketed Eem’s notoriety as a rapper — and his momentum hasn’t stopped since.

Garnering a seamless connection with SoundCloud-era savant $NOT over the last few years, the pair have captured an inescapable energy together. Producing on albums like +TRAGEDY-, Beautiful Havoc, Etherealand recent singles like “Ms. Porter,” Eem isn’t afraid to be bold or left-of-center behind the boards — revealing that he and $NOT are “setting the precedent” of how to tackle his nuanced production style. Still without a full body of work, Triplin’s next move is crafting the project his fans so desperately desire. He’s prepping for an ascension and speaking superstardom into existence — even though his talent always spoke for itself. — Jon Barlas

skaiwater

Skaiwater is simply “#miles” ahead of his competition. The 21-year-old UK all-star is the epitome of experimentation in music. Not only was his debut mixtape, rave, well-worth raving over, but it proved that the young, club-influenced crooner is pushing a sound — and a wave — all his own.

He’s a soul searcher at heart, showcasing a refined versatility in the dozens of self-produced singles in his arsenal. From ethereal Jersey Club fusions like “#miles” with Lil Uzi Vert to punk-rock inspired cuts like “boys don’t cry,” rave is in all parts an experimental supernova — much like skaiwater himself. His sound redefined what it means to be different in today’s sonic landscape. As a Swiss Army Knife to the fullest — rapping, singing and self-producing most of his work — Skai’s ceiling is unimaginably high heading into 2023. — Jon Barlas

Kenny Mason

Ever since the release of Kenny Mason’s 2020 debut Angelic Hoodrat, few artists have captured the attention of listeners like he has, while also ferociously developing his own authentic sonic identity. Perhaps known best for his genre-warping synthesis of shoe-gaze, punk rock and hip-hop, Kenny’s affinity for cleverly-written bangers is just as profound as it is understated. Armed with a deep reverence for forward-thinking futurism and a vocal ability so dextrous that he can swiftly switch from sinister raps to downtempo singing, Mason’s has been anything but accidental.

His eventual 2021 follow-up, dubbed Angelic Hoodrat: Supercut, felt much more like long-awaited validation than a “big break” for this reason. Whether he’s delivering ominous bars alongside Freddie Gibbs on “Much Money” or crooning with Ambar Lucid on the borderline alt-rock cut “Breathe,” few rappers do it quite like Kenny. With his recent RUFFS LP satiating his ravenous fans, there’s never been a better time to familiarize yourself with Atlanta’s next big thing. — Carter Fife

Midwxst 

It’s evident by now that Midwxst isn’t here to mince words, he’s here to disrupt — tearing down the conventionality of what it means to be a rapper in today’s day and age. As a leader of the new wave’s niche hyperpop scene, the Indiana native not only melts listeners with love-torn ballads, rage bangers and distorted euphoria, but is the model for what an artist should be in music’s hyper-competitive internet era.

Dropping off two mixtapes ahead of his highly-anticipated debut album — which he’s teased since we last spoke at Lollapalooza — Edgar’s 2022 was filled with wins at every turn. Whether it was his March EP better luck next time or the third iteration of his Back In Action mixtape series, the 19-year-old phenom’s brash mix of rage-rap and digi-core is a sound all his own — embodying his originality with the roots of a rockstar. Much like how Yeat has ascended to mainstream stardom this year, it seems that Edgar could land on the same trajectory with a bit more full-length experience under his belt. — Jon Barlas

JELEEL!

After one of the most eye-opening and viral come-ups in hip-hop this decade, JELEEL! has found his niche. His breakthrough can be attributed to TikTok’s insatiable hunger for new hits, as tracks like “Dive In!” and “Jeleel Juice!” have been used in millions of videos on the platform. Amassing over 70 million Spotify streams, “Dive In!” helped him gain over 1 million followers on TikTok, and opened the door for other hits like “Rain On You!” and the Mike Dimes-assisted “Clubhouse!”. With wildly entertaining flows, an aggressive delivery and summery beat choices, fans have quickly gravitated to the hulking emcee.

While his discography is shorter than most on this list, his debut album Angel From Heaven should not be ignored, as it establishes the loud and fun energy his newer work is inspired by. His “JEELEEEEL YEAH” catchphrase, which fans ceaselessly scream during his live performances, is a perfect example of his simple yet infectious persona. With more artists starting to use TikTok to their advantage, JELEEL! has excelled in it — finding himself to be the center of attention wherever he goes. — Ian Christopher

Lancey Foux

East London native and internationally beloved Lancey Foux has brought another level of diversity to the underground hip-hop scene. Contrary to an average hip-hop artist, Lancey provides a wide array of sounds that range from relaxing love songs to eerie bangers, using over-the-top autotune that enhances his naturally gifted voice. His instrumentals vary with every track — as one song could see him use luxurious flows over a gentle piano and vocal sample, and the next he’ll rage over blaring synths and 808s. There’s no friendly manners when it comes to Foux’s sonic dexterity.

Lancey has already built up a lengthy discography with seven full-length projects since 2015. His long-awaited LP Life In Hell, which dropped in November, is a rollercoaster of ethereal instrumentals and hypnotic vocals that further indicate his superstar-caliber ceiling at the ground floor of the new wave. His consistency has already begun to pay off, as a wide variety of artists like Bakar, KayCyy, Yeat, Skepta, Johan Lenox have linked up with him for collaborations over the past few years. His ability to adapt to unusual beats and unlikely feature artists sets him apart from anyone else in rap’s current pack of creators. — Nimai Kumar

Mike Dimes

Hip-hop artists from Texas emerge as mainstream stars in about five-year increments. Most recently, Travis Scott peaked as a household name in the mid-2010s, followed by Megan Thee Stallion’s ascent in the late 2010s and run of the decade. Now, as we are about three years into the 2020s decade, it seems we have our next candidate. In the most fitting way possible to carry the mantle for Texas, Mike Dimes erupted into streaming dominance with his February hit “HOME,” ushered in with the opening lyric “This young boy from Texas, so excuse my grammar.” 

“HOME” has now garnered 34 million Spotify streams and a remix with Dreamville golden child JID. As the promotional single for his March album IN DIMES WE TRUST, “HOME” has led to continued collaborations with fellow viral magnet JELEEL!, Dro Kenji and “Crunkstar” Duke Deuce. While being keen on the production he works well with, such as violin-laced, fiery beats and distorted, Southern rap influenced vocals, he also succeeds in these aforementioned, calculated collaborative attempts, proving he knows what’s best for him to yield success. With a growing book of fool-proof recipes like these, Mike Dimes will continue to turn heads and perk ears. — Thomas Galindo

KayCyy

KayCyy’s hold on the new wave stems from his intrinsic ability to think outside the box. The Kenya-born, Minnesota-raised rapper embodies a balance of soundscapes both dark and light — experimenting with new sounds while always striving to “push the culture forward.”

His talent is evident in the vocal experimentations found on “Hold You Up,” “Who Else Would It Be” and “LIVE MORE!” — keeping his otherworldly Afro-beat roots in tact all throughout his discography. His sound is earthy but far from this planet, as tracks like “The Sun,” “Look What I Found,” “OKAY!” and others are a testament to his transcendent artistic ability. With his debut album Who Is KayCyy? on the way, the YZY Sound star is gunning for perfection anytime he grips the mic. — Jon Barlas

glaive

At just 18 years old, Glaive has become an anomaly within the genreless, lawless nature of hyperpop. Yet, he’s reached greater heights in 2022. While still championing the glitchy, pop-infused hooks he employed on all dogs go to heaven, the new wave enigma is in the midst of transforming into a pop superstar with can’t-miss mainstream appeal.

Sharing Old Dog, New Tricks and arguably his best single to date, “minnesota is a place that exists,” each track he crafts is filled with love-scorn notes, wonder and nostalgia — keeping emotion at the root of everything he does. Keeping that same energy on “three wheels and it still drives” and his Spotify exclusive acoustic pack, Glaive is presumably prepping for an album in 2023. ”I will say this, I have made quite a few songs,” he told us at Lollapalooza. “I want to do an album, I want to put it out on my birthday — which is Jan. 20 and it’s a Friday — so it works out really well. Fingers crossed.” With this date drawing close, glaive’s 19th birthday could be the mark of a new era. — Jon Barlas

Redveil

In this current landscape, it’s nearly impossible to find rising talent in rap that wears a boom-bap, traditional hip-hop influence on their sleeve. This is why redveil’s emergence in this new decade is so important. Just turning 18 in April, redveil feels like a time capsule and historian for the genre. His skill for producing his own sample-laden beats, finding lesser-know, yet stunning and appropriate vocal assistants for features on his songs and crafting deeply personal bars cloaked in otherworldly wisdom and perspective reminds of a young Kanye West.

His birthday album learn 2 swim showed maturity in songwriting and subject matter, making topics of Black pride and personal growth attractive sonically for a demographic of teenage hip-hop fans surrounded by synth-heavy rage beats and a pluggnb revolution. redveil will be an important bridge for hip-hop fans of all ages and all sub-genre preferences going forward, as his albums will continue to document his elaborate mindset and development as a producer and lyricist. — Thomas Galindo

Homixide Gang

Before singing to Opium, Homixide Gang built their cult following on the energetic stylings of new wave rage — touting a blitz of bars that sent shockwaves into the heart of the culture’s revitalized sound. It’s all a lifestyle for Meechie and Beno, whose brother-like relationship has seen the 20-something Atlanta natives blossom into one of the game’s most tantalizing acts this year.

Their association with Playboi Carti, Destroy Lonely and Ken Carson not only provided them with an untouchable star power from the jump, but allowed them to be themselves amid the rockstar personas Opium intrinsically curates. Their debut project, Snotty World, is evidence of their brash and braggadocious allure, as songs like “5unna” and “Holler!” utilize the synths, distortion and energy that have helped them thrive in today’s underground. Their latest album Homixide Lifestyle not only brought the pair to further acclaim, but helped stake their claim as one of 2022’s bona fide trendsetters. Their chemistry is off the charts, and to them, that’s all that matters. — Jon Barlas

KANKAN

KanKan definitely knows a thing or two about the grind to success. As a sauntering, ear-melting voice with uncanny bars and chart-topping production, KanKan is the epitome of a “do it yourself” artist. Inspired by Speaker Knockerz and rising from SoundCloud’s next generation, the Dallas native’s start as a producer was extremely fruitful — initially securing placements with Lil Pump and Famous Dex (“Talkin Shit”) and Smokepurpp (“Fuck a Swisher”) at the height of their underground stardom.

Since releasing EPs in Oxy & Codeine and ##B4RR as well as his 2021 album RR, KanKan has built up quite the discography since he found himself in the booth. Continuing to develop his sound with rage-filled finesse, his new album WAY2GEEKED further displays the Dallas native’s ploy to break barriers as an artist. The album embodies his artistry perfectly — brash, bold and unafraid to take risks. Much like last year, KANKAN has turned heads in the best way possible — with much more music on the way in ’23. — Jon Barlas

Autumn!

Part of an established underground beaming with hungry and determined talent, Autumn! is one of the voices that have always led the pack. While the Slayworld founder first blew up with his viral song “Nina,” he has continued to impress with ethereal production skills under the name TwinUzis and equally charismatic performances on the mic. His 2022 underground hit “One Way” is a classic in every right — embodying his potential a part of the Victor Victor collective. Along with impressively cohesive projects like Golden Child, Chapter 2 and Antagonist!, Autumn! is destined to become everything’s he’s ever wanted to be. — Ian Christopher

Dom Corleo

“Penthouse Shorty” was a MOMENT for the underground scene in 2022, as Dom Corleo triumphantly emerged as a fresh face for the new wave’s ever-evolving sound. Breaking the mold of what it means to be a “West Coast rapper,” the California native isn’t dreaming about success — he’s living it.

After making waves with “Penthouse” and the Yung Lean-sampled “Ginseing,” Dom performed his first “back-to-back-to-back” shows in October as the opener for Lancey Foux and Joony‘s “Life In Hell” tour. Coinciding his electric stage presence, he’s worked with Destroy Lonely, SoFaygo, Slump6s, Autumn!, Summrs, Xhulooo and more — evident of Dom’s rank is amongst the underground’s trend-setting talent. His DotCom Nirvan-directed double visual for “Converse / Fly As Hell” cemented his status as a new wave leader — ultimately lifting his likeness to new heights with 2023 looming. — Jon Barlas

Tony Shhnow 

Plug Motivation is the title of Tony Shhnow’s newest album, but also happens to be the suitable descriptor for the plugg rapper’s artistic ambitions – something that’s only matched by his idiosyncratic talent. Plugg may still be a relative niche in hip-hop, but the way Tony approaches it will fool you; he has a firm grasp on the sub-genre and what makes it click. Stank-face inducing lyrics simmer over cool, relaxing instrumentals from his frequently rotating circle of producers, as “plug!” and “Hoodrich!” tags pop up every now and then, which just further cements the ingenuity in pushing plugg forward in the ways that Tony does. A handful of albums and handfuls of singles decorated Tony’s 2022, along with plenty of live shows and an opening slot on Kenny Mason’s RUFFs tour. Those are just the accolades though, as Tony’s keenness for creative writing and delivery is what made him stand out so much in 2022. — John Cotter

Sleazyworld Go

No one can copy SleazyWorld Go’s flow. Moving with absolute tenacity in 2022, the Atlanta all-star has made it known that he’s able to run with the game’s biggest and brightest talents with ease. Whether it be with Offset, Lil Baby or G Herbo, Sleazy always seems to pull his own weight and some — never being out-barred or out-done by any of his contemporaries. It’s impressive to see how far Sleazyworld has come since breakout hits in “Sleazy Flow” and “Step 1,” dropping his debut project Where The Shooters Be to the priase of both fans and critics. While 2022 has been an arrival for Sleazy, Where The Shooters Be overtly displayed his growth over the past few years. It’s Sleazy’s world and we’re just living in it. — Jon Barlas

Which artist made your year? Let us know in our comments!

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