Yung Bleu Wins Best New Artist: 5 Other Artists Flying Under The Radar

Zack Fox can do it all.

We’re about two weeks removed from the 2021 BET Hip Hop Awards and the “biggest night in hip-hop” is still making waves, as it proved to more than live up to its reputation. 

Packed with exciting moments from the 85 South (DC Young Fly, Karlous Miller, and Chico Bean), who returned as hosts, Young Thug, Gunna, Bia, Lil Jon, Baby Keem, and Isaiah Rashad as performers and red carpet looks that killed, there’s no wonder the night is still harboring chatter.  

Among the night’s winners was Alabama newcomer, Yung Bleu, who took home honors for “Best New Hip Hop Artist,” beating out Coi Leray, Pooh Shiesty, BLXST, Morray, and Don Toliver

And the “Baddest” singer was more than deserving. His hit single "You're Mines Still," featuring Drake, peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Global 200 charts and his studio debut, Moon Boy, ended up taking the top spot on the Independent Album chart back in Aug. 

RELATED: 5 Facts About BET Hip Hop Awards Nominee Bleu 

Whether it be Chicago’s Chance The Rapper in 2016, Pop Smoke last year or Wiz Khalifa in 2011, rarely have winners gone on to be a bust. With Blue having this year’s award wrapped up, here’s a look at a couple of other artists who are also flying under the radar.

  1. Zack Fox

    Zack Fox is a 30-year-old viral internet sensation who gained notoriety as a Twitter and YouTube influencer using witty jokes. 

    In 2018 the Atlanta native began dropping humorous and catchy tunes, releasing singles “Square Up,” (2019) “Jesus Is the One” (2019) and “The Bean Kicked In” (2020) — the first two of which were produced by go-to beatsmith Kenny Beats  —that put him on the map musically. From there, he went on to release “Stick!” (2020) which features D4L icon, Fabo and the single “Fafo,” which just came out this year. Make sure you check him out 


  2. Ayanis

    Ayanis  (pronounced Aye-yaun-is) went to new heights in 2020 with her single, “Lil Boi (Big Talk)” featuring Queen Naija. The single exploded to nearly 3 million YouTube views and features a remix with rapper Jack Harlow that is steadily climbing as well. 

    Her second EP YANI, released via Island Prolific/Atlantic Records late last year, shows off the 23-year-old Texas-Atlanta native’s affinity for southern 90’s R&B and is only the beginning of her career.

  3. Symba

    Symba is a 22-year-old Bay Area rapper who has been putting in the grind since as early as 2017 when he was signed to Columbia Records and 2019 when he was picked up by Atlantic.  

    His latest album, Don't Run From R.A.P, was released in December of last year and has garnered comparisons to Pusha T, REASON, Dave East and others, as his emphasis on bars shines in an era where melodies are dominant.  

    The album also features assistance from artists like 2 Chainz, Ty Dolla Sign, and Moneybagg Yo.

  4. Monaleo

    Borm Leondra Roshawn Gay, Monaleo is a 20-year-old rapper, singer, and songwriter from Houston, Texas known for her hit singles  "Beating Down Yo Block," – which has over 3 million Spotify streams and over 3.3 million YouTube views — "Girls Outside" and "Suck It Up". 

    Represented by the Stomp Down collective, that also reps fellow Houston rapper, Maxo Kream, Monaleo has kept up her momentum, appearing in Beyoncé's new Ivy Park campaign, receiving co-signs from rappers Rapsody and Asian Doll and landing a spot on Rolling Loud's performance lineup this year. 

    The Prairie View A&M University student is just getting started and should be on your watchlist too. 

  5. Kali

    You may not have heard of Kali, but you’ve surely heard of her hit single, "Do A Bitch", which has over 12 million Spotify streams between its original version and remix with Rico Nasty.  

    Further proving she’s not a one-hit internet sensation, the Georgia native returned with the single “MMM MMM” three months ago which is north of 3 million in its own right. 

  6. Make sure you check out her debut This Why They Mad Now out now.

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