These up-and-coming acts have been working hard in their respective music lanes, but only one will be crowned as “Best New Artist” at the BET Awards 2022. Rappers Baby Keem, Latto, Benny The Butcher, Yung Bleu, and singer and songwriter Muni Long are all up for one of the most prestigious awards of the night, and we can’t wait to see who takes home the big win. The celebration will be hosted by award-winning actor, writer, director, producer, and philanthropist Taraji P. Henson live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 26th at 8 pm ET. Before then, please get familiar with the nominee and the records that put them on our radar.
Baby Keem — “Orange Soda”
“Orange Soda” is one of many standout tracks from BET Awards 2022 nominee Baby Keem’s second mixtape, Die for My B-tch. Produced by the rising emcee and Keanu Beats in 2019, this melodic rap song is what many may consider a sleeper hit, considering it found success nearly six months after its release, becoming the West Coast-based musician’s first song to crack the charts on the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number 98. Still, “Orange Soda” unique production was enough to grow Keem’s fanbase, who were eager to see what else the burgeoning star had to offer.
Latto — “B-tch From Da Souf” / “Big Energy”
Although the rising Atlanta-based rapper gained a significant fan base thanks to her hit 2019 track “B-tch From Da Souf,” it would be her 2022 single “Big Energy” that would crack the ceiling into mainstream music.
Muni Long — “Hrs And Hrs”
Industry veteran Muni Long found breakthrough success with her R&B ballad “Hrs and Hrs,” after it initially went viral on TikTok in late 2021. The third single from her EP Public Displays of Affection finds the singer-songwriter detailing the willingness she has for her romantic partner. The track topped the Billboard R&B Songs chart, becoming the first song by an independent female artist to top the chart.
Yung Bleu — “You’re Still Mines”
Rising rapper and singer Yung Bleu rose to prominence in 2020 thanks to his hit single “You’re Mines Still” from his EP Love Scars: The 5 Stages of Emotions. The Alabama-based artist, who also goes by Bleu Vandross, got the chance of a lifetime after NBA star DeMarcus Cousins introduced the burgeoning act to Canadian rap star Drake who later hopped on the record’s remix.
Tems — “Try Me” / “Essence”
Before receiving her breakthrough feature following her collaboration with Wizkid for their single “Essence” and “Fountains” with Drake, Tems was making her presence known in the African music scene with songs such as her 2018 track “Mr Rebel” and “Try Me” a year later.
Benny The Butcher
Buffalo, NY, based emcee, and actor Benny The Butcher has been steadily growing his presence in hip hop conversation. Having released several mixtapes since the early 2000s, it’s hard to pinpoint a direct breakout hit for the rapper. However, projects such as The Mayor's Back and Chains Bond are good starting points if you want to know why the rapper is one of the most talked about up-and-coming artists.
Tune in to the BET Awards 2022 Sunday, June 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BET.