2023 was quite a year for music; many younger acts imprinted themselves on the business. One of the most impressive elements of this year was how many young, up-and-coming artists dropped some of the biggest hits of the year. Whether it was Sexyy Red with “SkeeYee” or Tyla with “Water,” the world looked at who’s up next in a big way.
Below are ten rising artists who made their mark in 2023. It’s easy to say they have us excited for music’s future (at least talent-wise).
Coco has been bubbling up for a minute now and well before this year started. That said, she made the greatest ascension of her career in 2023. Hot off of the Soul Train Awards stage, the “ICU” singer has seemingly been everywhere, including a Mariah Carey tribute at the Grio Awards, Beyoncé’s Renaissance film premiere – oh, and she’s been adding to her own hardware collection, racking up BET Awards and Soul Train Awards victories for “Best New Artist.” Jones was also nominated for five Grammy Awards, so look out for her in the new year.
Considered by many as the next up in hip-hop’s rage scene, Ken Carson largely filled the void for those looking for a new Playboi Carti album in 2023. His October-released LP A Great Chaos was one of the more memorable drops among Opium Records fans and proved the genre is in great hands. It will be interesting to see how he, along with artists like Destroy Lonely, will navigate the hype they built this year moving forward.
PinkPantheress broke out heavily in 2023. It began in February with the release of her and Ice Spice’s mega-hit “Boy’s A Liar” and ended with her debut solo studio LP Heaven Knows. At only 23 years of age, the U.K.-born singer is just getting started and has already become a mainstay in alt-pop. For those looking to get a glimpse of PinkPantheress, she’s slated to perform as an opener on Olivia Rodrigo's Guts World Tour next summer.
“And this beat from Cash not from YouTube”: it’s the producer drop heard around the music industry. Whether it be on Drake’s “Calling For You” (feat. 21 Savage), PinkPantheress’ “Nice to meet you” (feat. Central Cee), or on his own solid breakout LP Pretty Girls Love Slizzy, Cash Cobain made 2023 his. The sexy drill hitmaker has ushered in a new wave in New York City, taking the Big Apple by storm. To say he’ll be a mainstay behind the boards of some of your favorite artists moving forward is a severe understatement. The #OnTheVerge alum and self-proclaimed “sample god” is here to stay.
Is this even a debate? Sexyy Red is the definition of a breakout artist, and 2023 was her property. “SkeeYee” may be the bop of the year… or was that Drake’s “Rich Baby Daddy”? It doesn’t matter because it seems like anything that blared out of speakers at the club, a lit function, or simply everyone’s car speakers, the St. Louis rapper was adjacent to it. How she’ll build off of so many viral hits in 2024 and beyond will be something exciting to follow along with.
Rema has become an international superstar – all in a relatively short amount of time. The 23-year-old afrobeat singer dropped his debut album Rave & Roses in 2022 but broke out further this year with hits like "Soweto" and “Charm,” which charted as silver and gold, respectively. Rema also took home some hardware in 2023, winning four Headies awards and an MTV VMA for Best Afrobeats for his Selena Gomez-featured remix for the smash hit "Calm Down."
“Water” is clearly what Tyla has become known for – and for good reason. But if you dig deeper beyond the surface, she’s had a great year outside of the monster hit. The South African amapiano singer’s single "Girl Next Door" with Arya Starr has become a fan favorite, while “Been Thinking” is on the songwriting level of “Water.” Recently dropping her debut, self-titled EP Tyla, could 2024 produce a full album from the 21-year-old? Time will tell.
October London caught many R&B fans’ attention this year with his voice, mainly because it sounds like Marvin Gaye’s. It’s something not lost on Death Row Records’ singular-signed artist as he titled his February-released LP The Rebirth Of Marvin. But if you listen to the project, it’s clear the #OnTheVerge alum isn’t so much emulating the late legend but paying his respects and showing off his own amazing pipes. Songs like “Back To Your Place” and “You Look Better” are evidence of this.
After breaking out with “Don’t Play Wit It” in 2022, Lola Brooke became one of the most exciting artists to witness how she’d handle success the following year; suffice to say, she held her own in a big way. The Brooklyn rapper dropped a batch of successful songs, including the Coi Leray and Nija-featured “Don't Get Me Started” and French Montana-assisted “Pit Stop” – both of which are off of her formative debut LP Dennis Daughter. 2023 was the year Brooke came into her own.
Teezo Touchdown’s 2023 had him being almost as in-demand with other artists as he was with his fans. The Texas-born rapper dropped his highly-anticipated debut LP How Do You Sleep at Night? while also making some high-profile appearances on Drake’s “Amen” and Travis Scott’s “Modern Jam.” If he keeps up his prolific work ethic next year, he’ll certainly become one of the mainstays in today’s national hip-hop scene, if he hasn’t already.
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