1. DVBBS ft. Jeremih & SK8 – Crew Thang
A fresh single from the Platinum brother-duo DVBBS, who joined forces with Chicago-native Grammy-nominated R&B singer-songwriter Jeremih and also features SK8, whose style seamlessly blends punk-rock and hip-hop. It follows DVBBS’s “Next To You” with Loud Luxury and Kane Brown from February and “SH SH SH (Hit That)” with Wiz Khalifa from the same month, while for Jeremih it’s a follow-up to “Chose You” with French Montana and earlier solo single “Changes” on Def Jam/UMG.
2. Sally Han – One Last Time
Sally Han drops the first single “One Last Time” off her forthcoming EP Planet Sarang which is slated for release this summer via Realest in the Room. Sally Han is a Korean R&B/ pop artist out of New Zealand. She makes her debut with the funky yet ethereal “One Last Time.” The multi-talented artist plays bass on all her music and wrote + co- produced “One Last Time.” The video for the song will be released on May 30th.
Han gravitated towards the acoustic and electric guitar, drums, piano from as young as five years old. Many experiences shaped her including studying fine art, and playing in the church band from as early as she could hold an instrument, and moving back and forth from Korea to New Zealand more often than she could count. Nowadays she is traveling the world and making incredible pop music.
This is the first release of many this year from Han, stay tuned for more.
3. Masicka – Tyrant
Signaling a new chapter in his genre-and-culture-defining story, Jamaica-born multi-talented singer, songwriter, deejay, and leader of the next generation of dancehall stars Masicka serves up a brand new single and music video entitled “Tyrant” today via Def Jam Recordings.
About the track, he shared, “‘Tyrant’ is me paying homage to the legendary Boglea.k.a. Mr. Wacky and early dancehall culture. He brought a different vibe and energy to the dancehall space, that fire and authenticity that I represent at this time. It’s me highlighting the culture, the influence, and impact.”
Now, Masicka genuinely does this legacy proud. The track’s simmering groove teems with dancefloor-ready swagger as Masicka leans into the beat with energetic verses. Eventually, the hook pops off with an instantly irresistible melody. The accompanying visual follows Masicka throughout his stomping grounds in Jamaica intercut with vignettes in a mansion where motorcycle helmet-clad models surround him in a flurry of stunning choreography. The clips boasts dirt bikes, fast cars, good vibes, and just the right amount of smoke. Bogle would be smiling…
It arrives on the heels of his recent banger “Pieces” [feat. Jahshii]. The latter has already amassed over 1 million total streams and counting in addition to nearing 7 million YouTube views on the cinematic music video. In addition to plugs from the likes of Music Connection, St. Vincent Times, and more, Naija Remix hailed it as “a must-listen for fans of good music.”
Masicka continues to make waves. He recently received a YouTube Award for attracting over 1 million subscribers to his channel and over 580 million YouTube views. Meanwhile, his most recent independent LP, 438, became “Jamaica’s #1 album of 2022 on Spotify” and “the first project to spend an entire year in the Top 10 on Apple Music Jamaica.” He also emerged as “one of three Jamaican artists in Spotify Wrapped Jamaica for a Top 10 Album.”
Along the way, KAZI hailed him as “a great storyteller and a genuinely generational talent who understands what he is doing,” and GRUNGECAKE assured, “Jamaica’s Masicka is holding us down on the positivity front.”
Get ready for a whole lot more from Masicka soon!
He will define dancehall in 2023…
4. Cautious Clay – Ohio
Cautious Clay has signed with Blue Note Records and released “Ohio,” the lead single of his forthcoming label debut due out later this year. Since 2017, Cautious has been steadily building a devoted fanbase with his heartfelt songwriting and a unique sound that moves fluidly between pop, alternative R&B, and indie rock. For his next move, the Cleveland-born, New York-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer also known as Joshua Karpeh takes a giant artistic leap forward with an ambitious album that reveals a new side of his artistry by delving deeper than ever into his jazz influences.
“Ohio” touches upon Cautious’ early experiences growing up in Cleveland. The song struts to a buoyant fat bassline reminiscent of 1970s-era Isley Brothers as Cautious’ emotive tenor voice floats through a dreamy soundscape with lyrics depicting a young Joshua exploring his options in a vast heartland.
5. Sleepy Hallow ft. Lil Tjay – Pain Talk
Winners Circle Entertainment artist Sleepy Hallow shares new single “Pain Talk” featuring Lil Tjay. Produced byGreat John, the guitar-heavy bass production allows for Sleepy and Lil Tjay to express the pain and anxiety they have been going through.
Last year, Sleepy Hallow released his most introspective single “Die Young” featuring 347aidan which went RIAA Certified Gold in 155 days. Produced by Winners Circle Entertainment beatsmith Great John, Sleepy expresses the fears of young teens dealing with mental health issues. To date, the single has accumulated over 232M streams worldwide. He followed up the release with “2 Mins Of Pain.” Sleepy doesn’t shy away from illustrating the uglier sides of life in his music as he raps “lot of pain, you can feel it, just try not to get all in your feelings.”
Previously, Sleepy Hallow released Still Sleep? (Deluxe) via Winners Circle/RCA Records. Building on the success of his debut albumStill Sleep?, the new 25-track Still Sleep? (Deluxe), produced entirely by Great John, included features from Chucky73, Casper Magico, Eli Fross, Skillibeng and more. To date, the album has garnered over 1.7 billion streams and is RIAA Certified Gold with breakout single2055 as RIAA Certified Double Platinum and Tip Toe featuring Sheff G as RIAA Certified Gold.
6. Armani White ft. A$AP Ferg – Silver Tooth
Asserting himself as the breakout new artist of the year once again, gold-certified charismatic West Philly rapper Armani White teams up with Ferg in the technicolor, larger-than-life new video for “SILVER TOOTH.,” the latest single from his heralded debut EP Road to CASABLANCO
Popping off with an unbreakable and undeniable groove, “SILVER TOOTH.” struts through claps and a wobbly bass line as Armani reminisces, “Used to have a silvertooth when I was just a pup.” Meanwhile, Harlem luminary Fergpulls up with a hypnotic and hilarious cameo with flexes such as “I got diamonds in my socks.” It stands out as a quirky, yet hyper catchy banger symbolic of Armani’s always surprising signature style.
The EP also boasts the recent single “GOATED.” [feat. Denzel Curry].
“GOATED.” has already piled up 18 million Spotify streams, 3 million YouTube views on the music video, and exploded on TikTok with over one million creates and over a billion views. Armani delivered a show-stopping performance of “GOATED.” on NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Right out of the gate, Complex proclaimed, “Armani White and Denzel Curry bring out the best in each other in the new track ‘GOATED.’,” andUPROXX christened him “one of rap music’s most promising new acts.” Consequence asserted, “On the track, White displays the same infectious energy that made ‘BILLIE EILISH.’ so popular.” HotNewHipHop raved,“Armani White has another bop on his hands with his latest single, ‘GOATED.’.”
Earlier this year, Armani’s breakthrough “BILLIE EILISH.” picked up gold certification from the RIAA in the US, clocked over half-a-billion streams, and generated 36 million-plus YouTube views.
After turning up alongside N.O.R.E. for a much talked-about performance at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2022, Armani performed a medley of “THANKSGIVING” and “BILLIE EILISH.,” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! BET recently proclaimed Armani its “BET Amplified Artist” of January 2023. MTV soon followed suit, naming Armani its coveted Global PUSH artist for February.
Armani closed out a massive 2022 with a showstopping performance on ABC’s Dick Clark’s NEW YEAR’S ROCKIN’ EVE, delivering energetic live renditions of “GOATED.” and his gold-selling breakout “BILLIE EILISH.” He also performed a medley of the tracks at the MTV EMAs. Check it out HERE.
His runaway smash “BILLIE EILISH.” – a playful, energetic homage to the pop singer’s stylish videos, set to a clever sample of NORE and the Neptunes’ classic “Nothin’” – exploded as a phenomenon. In addition to recognition as a “YouTube Trending Artist on the Rise,” the track went truly viral socially, inspiring billions of TikTok views, and earning a big co-sign from Tom Brady, who posted the track on his Instagram.
Get ready for more very soon! Follow Armani on the Road to CASABLANCO. now!
7. Adekunle Gold – Tio Tequila
Adekunle Gold, the Nigerian singer-songwriter and acclaimed master of Afropop, releases a three-song bundle, Tio Tequila. This release serves as a precursor to his upcoming album and Def Jam debut due this July.
With an innate ability to blend genres seamlessly, Adekunle Gold infuses his signature Afropop sound with elements of Afrobeats, R&B, and Amapiano. Produced by the iconic Kel-P, the three songs are a testament to Adekunle Gold’s irresistible charm and innovative musical mastery. The bundle features his recent hit “Party No Dey Stop” featuring Zinoleesky, along with two previously-unreleased songs with “Do You Mind”, a sexy, summer anthem and “Omo Eko” which serves as a tribute to his hometown of Lagos (Eko).
These three new songs serve as an unprecedented project, with Adekunle taking on the role of the hype man, prepping us for the summer while also taking the reins of Afropop’s most competitive season.
Adekunle is set to hit summer festivals and then start his four-month world tour in North America in September, and carry on across the UK, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and the Caribbean through 2024.
8. CNG – Frijolero
Building an incredible following on all social media and streaming platforms, LA based musician CNG gets in his music release cycle for 2023 with new single “Frijolero.” The new track from CNG teases an upcoming project release of the same name ironically enough from the too cool for school artist.
From CNG himself, “I want to show people my culture, who I am, and where I come from. People don’t have to relate to it, I want the world to know who I am and that I’m not ashamed of where I come from. Many of my fans always asked me to rap in Spanish, so that’s what I did. The single is also the name of my project. After this song is released, I’ll release another similar track before releasing the whole project.”
9. 7xvethegenius & DJ Green Lantern ft. Conway The Machine – Brainstorming
When she appeared on Conway The Machine’s “Crack In The Ninety’s” from his From King To A GOD Deluxe project, it served for many as a formal introduction to the lyrical dynamo and multi-faceted artist known as 7xvethegenius. The intrigue was furthered when Conway brought her out to perform on Tidal’s exclusive Griselda Holiday Concert.
Born in Buffalo, NY’s Eastside (she also has a deep connection with Atlanta’s music scene, as she spent most of her young adult life in the area before relocating to Buffalo in 2018) 7xve is now an integral component of Conway’s Drumwork Records imprint; and her buzz only continues to intensify. Over the last year, 7xve has released a well-received EP (Self 7Xve 2), linked up with frequent collaborator Che Noir for “Ladies Brunch” (which also featured Armani Caesar) and “Veracruz” from Che’s recently released Noir Or Never, released an “On The Radar” Freestyle Single and linked with her Drumwork squad for standout performances on Conway & Jae Skeese’s Pain Provided Profit (“Food”) and most recently the title track for Conway’s Won’t He Do It album.
Now that the rising emcee has your attention, and before she releases her Drumwork Records debut this summer, 7xvethegenius joins forces with DJ Green Lantern and puts her talents as an artist and storyteller on full-display with their forthcoming collaborative drop The Genius Tape.
Produced in its entirety by DJ Green Lantern, The Genius Tape, will be released on 6-9-23 and features appearances from Conway The Machine, Rome Streetz, Che Noir, AA Rashid & TF.
Today, in addition to announcing their new project, the duo released the project’s first single, “Brainstorming,” which features Conway The Machine. “Brainstorming” is now available at all DSP’s.
“Brainstorming” is literally a collective of our thoughts. I told Con I just wanted to float on this record and calmly pop our shit in an elegant way” 7xvethegenius declares. “The chemistry we have together is easy and effortless. After how crazy the responses to “Won’t He Do It’ were, I thought it was only right we continue to set the tone with this record.”
7xvethegenius & DJ Green Lantern’s The Genius Tape will be released on June 9.
10. Nonso Amadi – When It Blooms
Globally acclaimed, Canada-based Nigerian singer, songwriter, and producer Nonso Amadi releases his debut record When It Blooms through Def Jam Recordings/Polydor Records/MCA/Universal Music Canada, the country’s leading music company. Amadi describes, “I want people to listen to this project and know who I am and what I’ve gone through. I want to make great songs that tell my story for you. When It Blooms embodies my creative and personal growth, reflecting on my journey up until this point. I feel this message is best represented in the growth from seeds to a flower, uncoiling naturally for you.” This 15-track album arrives as the first comprehensive body of work from Amadi, celebrating years of evolution through experience as both an artist and an individual. Listen here.
The album sequence reflects Amadi’s journey and weaves through the different phases of his self-discovery through music. Setting the tone with the opening track “Here For It,” Amadi recalls the challenges and uncertainty faced early on in his music career but honours his own determination, singing ‘na so then the plan no get plan b.’ “NASA,” a track produced by Azulwynter andFrancisGotHeat, pays homage to the hip-hop artists that influenced Amadi’s initial affinity for music like 50 cent, Lil Wayne, Ja Rule and lyrically discusses levelling up the dream from one phase of life to the next. A standout track,“Kilimanjaro” features BEAM who has previously collaborated with the likes of Justin Bieber, Jorja Smith and Beyonce. Amadi notes, “I knew I wanted a feature on this track to counterbalance my soft approach to the song with a faster paced flow and BEAM knocked it out of the park.” While “Night In Maryland” holds sentimental value for Amadi, capturing late nights recording in Lagos, Nigeria; the traffic, the lights and the internal struggle. Amadi highlights “Donisha Prendergast, granddaughter of Bob Marley, delivered an amazing speech at the end of the ‘Night In Maryland’ encouraging me to believe in my purpose and get ready for the bloom.” Wrapping up with “Thankful,” an act of culminating gratitude for the community of supporters that helped bring this project to life, Amadi’s mother shares a message of pride for Amadi’s growth as a beautifully personal finale.
Additional collaborations on the record include Nigerian soul singer, songwriter and producer Tay Iwar on “Pieces,” a song written back in 2019, revived by the partnership. As well, “Shivers” features Tamera produced with Mont Jake, both UK based allies who elevated the track. Amadi shares, “This is my most collaborative project yet, I sought out help of other people to water it and add sunlight, the album is an expression of gratitude to the supporters and contributors of my sound.”
Outside of the album, this year Amadi hopped on multiple tracks from artists in his creative community including three-time historic JUNO Award winner Savannah Ré for a remix of her track “Closure,” he also joined Switzerland-based, Nigerian rapper and producer Pronto on the track “Danger” with German group, 255. Most recently, Amadi teamed up with producer duo Emotional Oranges for their latest track “Not Worthy.” Collaborations are essential not only to fuelling Amadi’s creativity but are also instrumental in continuing to spread the Afrobeats genre globally.
When It Blooms also features five previously released singles including the song that marked the epic return after a hiatus, “Foreigner,” as well as the collaborative track “Different” ft. Majid Jordan, an alliance which has garnered over 19 million global streams, “Eye To Eye” which picked up praise from UPROXX, MTV, COMPLEX, the patriotic single “Ease Up,” plus the latest collaboration “Lock Up” ft. Zinoleesky which appeared on international playlists with cover placements. Those five tracks alone have collectively garnered over 50 million streams.
The release of When It Blooms marks the culmination of affirming successes since Amadi’s return in 2022; between being featured as Spotify’s Radar Artist, making the top of the list for Audiomack Africa x The Beat’s “Alte Vibes” playlist, and surpassing over 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify. The SOCAN Foundation announced Nonso Amadi as one of the winners of the SiriusXM Black Canadian Music Awards alongside Adria Kain, AHI, Desarae Dee and Zach Zoya. With the album, Amadi cements himself in the vanguard of the next generation artists bringing Alte and Afro-R&B to the international stage.
Nonso Amadi capped off last year with the announcement that he had been selected to be a part of the ‘VEVO DSCVR Artists to Watch 2023’ list alongside emerging superstars poised to make an impact including Armani White, Ice Spice, GloRilla and many more. Amadi is the first domestically signed UMC artist to be selected for this prestigious program. Watch the VEVO DSCVR performance video for “Ease Up” here and “Foreigner” here.
Fans will have an opportunity to hear When It Blooms live as Nonso Amadi hits summer festivals like Mural Festival in Montreal June 10 alongside Koffee, Dinos and Ferg and FRESH UP R&B Festival which includes a line-up of Loony, Adria Kain, Haviah Mighty, Zach Zoya and more. Stay updated on the latest show announcements here.
11. Goon Des Garcons* – Living In Excess
Arkansas-born rapper Goon Des Garçons* is committed to the grind, working hard, never doing things the easy way, dedicating himself to forging genuine artistic partnerships that have resulted in increasingly progressive rap – over crushing, astral production. “I speak for the DIY spirit, for anyone who takes pride in their craft,” he says. “Everything these days is so manufactured, but my music is exactly what it is – a kid from Arkansas doing it himself.”
Goon dropped everything, moved to L.A. to work with Kilhoffer, and created Sore Loser (2017). Though he had studio access, he was broke. On the verge of homelessness, Goon called some friends in New Zealand and left to work on music out there. When he returned to the states, Swiff D reached out to collaborate and introduced him to his manager. Goon’s signing to Def Jam in 2019 was a long overdue acknowledgement of the music he struggled so hard to make.
His latest releases are the culmination of those years of sacrifice and uncertainty, both a reflection and a celebration. Instead of releasing one single at a time, Goon prefers to drop several. This is his chance to flex for everyone doing it themselves, and he’s taking it. “It was time for me to show off and take risks,” he says. “I come from nothing. I’ve made myself from literally nothing.”
12. HUNXHO – 4 Days In LA
Increasing rapid momentum as one of hip-hop’s most exciting voices, critically acclaimed Atlanta rapper and “street poet” HUNXHO serves up his brand new 4 Days In LA EP [300 Entertainment] today.
The eight-track surprise project finds him in an introspective place as he deftly hones his songcraft and sharpens his mic skills all at once. It opens up with the poignant and powerful “All Not Equal.”Somber piano glides over glitchy 808s as his warbling flow echoes with a plea, “Look at this pain. Look at these scars.” Lil Dallas pulls up with a punchy cameo on “WYA.” Elsewhere, “Hell Yeah”hits hard with a barrage of emotionally charged confessions. The ride concludes on “True Gremlin.” It commences with a prayer, “Can’t you see I’m a sinner,” before he tears through the production with a tenacious flow. He makes good on the promise, “I feel like I gotta go harder.”
HUNXHO continues to ignite buzz. He just turned up on UPROXX Sessions and delivered a showstopping live rendition of “True To My Religion.” Watch HERE. Meanwhile, his latest album 22 put up numbers, reeling in nearly 10 million streams since it dropped in March. The standout “48 Laws Of Power” soared to #1 on Apple Music’s Top 25 Atlanta Chart. Still setting it’s marks in Atlanta, is Hunxho’s “Highly Performing” as performed on Major Stage.
This summer, he joins the stacked lineup of the Its Only Us Tour headlined by Lil Baby and also featuring The Kid LAROI, Glorilla, Gloss Up, and Rylo Rodriguez.
13. HDBeenDope – Can’t Get Rid Of Me
HDBeenDope has dropped his newest single release “Can’t Get Rid of Me” featuring Harlem rapper, Fergie Baby. The latest single showcases the rapper’s high-energy flow punctuated with teasing ad-libs as he warns “I’m back” and the game “can’t get rid of me” while Fergie Baby rapid fires his verse over booming 808s. In the breakthrough track, HD reminds fans that he’s here to stay.
“I’ve been making music before you knew about me and I’ll continue to do so” says HDBeenDope about the track “I’m an artist because I create, not because I’m in the music industry. In other words, you can’t get rid of me.”
14. Meshell Ndegeocello – Clear Water
Meshell Ndegeocello has released “Clear Water”—a soul-searching Sly Stone-inspired new song featuring Jeff Parker’s bluesy guitar lines and vocals by Justin Hicks—along with a live video of Ndegeocello’s band performing the song in the studio. It’s the latest single to be revealed from the multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer’s forthcoming Blue Note debut The Omnichord Real Book, a visionary album out June 16 that taps into a broad spectrum of her musical roots with guest artists including Jason Moran, Ambrose Akinmusire, Brandee Younger, Julius Rodriguez,Mark Guiliana, Cory Henry, Joan As Police Woman, and others.
Meshell has also announced new tour dates to her upcoming performance schedule, which includes appearances at theBlue Note Jazz Festival in New York City on June 21 and Napa Valley on July 29, as well as concerts in Detroit, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, and more. See below for a full list of confirmed tour dates or visit meshell.com.
“This album is about the way we see old things in new ways,” Meshell explains. “Everything moved so quickly when my parents died. Changed my view of everything and myself in the blink of an eye. As I sifted through the remains of their life together, I found my first Real Book, the one my father gave me. I took their records, the ones I grew up hearing, learning, remembering. My mother gifted me with her ache, I carry the melancholy that defined her experience and, in turn, my experience of this thing called life calls me to disappear into my imagination and to hear the music.”
15. Big Freedia – Big Foot
Big Freedia, the undisputed Queen Diva of New Orleans bounce music, is thrilled to announce her highly anticipated album,‘Central City.’On June 23rd this album will mark a new chapter for the genre as Big Freedia introduces a fresh sound. Set to captivate audiences worldwide,‘Central City’ features an all-star lineup of collaborators, including Lil Wayne, Faith Evans, Ciara, Kelly Price and more.
With her infectious energy and powerful presence, Big Freedia has become a trailblazer in the music industry, bringing the vibrant spirit of New Orleans to the global stage. Known for her dynamic performances and groundbreaking contributions to the bounce genre, Big Freedia has earned a dedicated fan base that eagerly awaits each new release.
Reflecting on her artistic journey and the evolution of bounce music, Big Freedia shares, “Bounce has been through many iterations—from Triggerman to Sissy to Cash Money Bounce—but my new album is something I call Bigga Bounce. Welcome to Central City, y’all, where I pay homage to my city, my roots, hip-hop, and to the art of creating a new sound.”
Building on the momentum of her previous singles, “Central City Freestyle” and “$100 Bill” featuring Ciara, Big Freedia has already garnered significant attention and praise from the press including Billboard, Rolling Stone, BET, UPROXX, HotNewHipHop, GLAAD, VIBE, and more. The album’s third single, “Bigfoot,” is a testament to Big Freedia’s unwavering determination and resilience. In her own words, she describes the song as “a powerful anthem of empowerment and motivation.” With its infectious beats and uplifting lyrics, “Bigfoot” encourages listeners to stand tall, embrace their true selves, and prove any doubters wrong.
Fans and music enthusiasts alike eagerly await the release of ‘Central City’ and are excited to witness Big Freedia’s groundbreaking contribution to the music landscape once again. The album is scheduled to drop on June 23rd and will be available on all major streaming platforms.
16. Deb Fan – Gemini Moon
Hong Kong raised, Los Angeles-based artist/producer Deb Fan releases her highly anticipated debut EP Gemini Moon. The haunting 6-track offering is centralized around duality in two parts; first being the search for control both internally and externally while grieving a heart-wrenching breakup, and second being the duality of Fan from a cultural perspective, as she continues to embrace expressivity while unlearning the social standards that were ingrained deep in her mind as a young girl in Hong Kong. Written in the solace of her Los Angeles bedroom, the 24-year-old’s lush, ethereal vocals juxtaposed against brash, grungy production intentionally paint the polarity of her natural being, furthering the narrative of the vulnerable experience of searching for oneself post-breakup. In Asian culture, the moon serves as a symbol of feminine power, and Fan’s striking debut EP is a nod to this new chapter.
“Growing up in a traditional Chinese household, I didn’t know what expressivity meant because of how my culture views my gender,” Fan explains. “Moving to America was a huge step in understanding the essence of being a woman. I’ve learned to embrace the power of being hard and soft at the same time. This is captured in Gemini Moon. Because of my innate duality, this project was written from a place that is half realistic, and half delusion, Gemini Moon taking into account all perspectives.”
Gemini Moon is constructed around cinematic themes, each track detailing a specific feeling throughout her mourning process while listeners immerse themselves deeper into Fan’s world. From numbness (“Run My Mind,” watch the Liam Walsh-directed music video here – inspired by legendary Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai), to lust and love (“Rules”), depression (“Pull My Hair”), delusion (“Thru & Thru”), anger (“Three Nights”), and passion (“Rules – Acoustic Version”), Gemini Moon tries to answer the unanswerable questions such as ‘why am I here,’ ‘why do I do this,’ and ‘what is my purpose here.’
In the early stages of her artist career, Fan has been championed by an impressive list of music tastemakers, including Billboard, Lyrical Lemonade, MTV, Earmilk and Early Rising to name a few. She has landed placements on Spotify Editorial Playlists including All New Indie, Ethereal, .ORG, Poses, Fresh Finds, Fresh Finds: R&B, Fresh Finds: Indie, Mood., Radar: Hong Kong, Simmering, +852 Rising as well as over 20 New Music Friday playlists.
Deb Fan’s debut EP Gemini Moon solidifies her position as the must-watch artist of 2023. As she continues to discover herself both personally and artistically, it’s clear that every aspect of her artistry has found itself aligned, similar to the rhythm of the moon and the tides.
17. Nicolay – No More Waiitng
Grammy-nominated producer and multi-instrumentalist Nicolay, widely known for his work as a part of the Alt-Soul music outfit The Foreign Exchange, announced his forthcoming album and shared the project’s lead single “No More Waiting.” Released as a 12″ single to all major digital streaming platforms via +FE Music/EMPIRE, the new song features vocals and co-production from North Carolina singer/producer/visual artist Creative Theory, and backing vocals from Atlanta’s JJ Wiliamson.
“[This is] a song about what can happen when love is no longer enough. The single features two of my current proteges: Rich Singleton aka Creative Theory (who I previously collaborated with for 2020’s ‘Lights In The Sky EP’), who wrote and co-produced the song and performs the main vocal, and JJ who lends his additional vocals. The song is from my upcoming solo production album, which is as yet untitled. This project is a culmination of twenty years of music and relationships, and the unofficial follow-up to my 2006 album Here, which at the time of release heralded my move to the United States. At the other end of a few challenging years, I feel like the new music truly represents a rebirth: of a person and of an artist. For me, ‘No More Waiting’ especially represents this new era, and Phonte confirmed that by suggesting that I’d release this song first. This is the sound of a new beginning.” – Nicolay
18. Pressa – Unfollow Me
Emerging Toronto rapper Pressa returns with his new single “Unfollow Me”alongside a lyric video. Produced by FreshAyr, CuBeatz & Slowburnz, the track about the fast-paced music industry, his continuous hustle and the fame/women that come with it.
Pressa on his latest single: “’Unfollow Me’ is about keeping the hustler ambition without letting anything or anyone distract you from your grind.”
This latest single follows his feature on Bandokay’s 2023 single “The Jungle.” Prior to this, Pressa dropped his 2020 project Gardner Express, which got a deluxe version in 2021. The deluxe included the alternative version of hit song“Attachments” featuring Coi Leray and other artist features like Swae Lee, Sleepy Hallow, Sheff G and more. Pressa is currently working on new music for his next project.
19. KayyCyy –
Blessed with the talent to enact his every ambition from music to fashion
and beyond, KayCyy is not afraid to take big artistic swings. Coming through with his second effort with French
producer Gesaffelstein, KayCyy shares TW2052, his newest project, one that begins an exciting new phase in
the young rapper’s career.
The 7–track effort is an immersive look inside KayCyy’s world of hard–edged raps, hyperpop melodics and
skillfully blending the sounds that dominated each half of last year’s ambitious TW20 50, the first collaboration
between the two musical enthusiasts. Featuring previously released tracks “THE SUN”, “OKAY!” and “LOVE
& HATE”, TW2052 finds the 24–year–old Bu–Vision signee shifting vocals modes and moods without breaking
a sweat, showcasing his rapping and singing in equal measure.
Along with the EP, KayCyy shares the music video for “Timeless”, one of the project’s singles. The song is a
moody and brisk late–night anthem with a seven–beat drum pattern to complement the hook and launch the
song into the universe. In the video, directed by 91 Rules, follows KayCyy as he provides a dynamic
performance in all white of the new track; watch here.
The release of TW2052 is a crowning moment for what has already been a busy year for the Minnesota native.
In January, KayCyy turned back the clock when he collaborated with fellow XXL Freshman BabyTron
“MOTOWN” produced by Wondagurl (Travis Scott, Drake, Rihanna, Jay–Z), and frequent collaborator and
MikeWavvs. Most recently, following the release of his track and visual for “ROLL THE DICE”, KayCyy
announced his summer international headlining WHO ELSE?! Tour. Kicking off June 7th in Washington DC
and visiting major markets coast–to–coast including North America, Sweden, Amsterdam, Paris, London,
Melbourne and many more. Fans can purchase tickets for the tour at whoiskaycyy.com.
Last year presented many monumental moments for KayCyy as he earned his first GRAMMY and Billboard
Music Award for his work on Kanye West’s Donda. Piling up tens of millions of streams from releasing projects
like ‘Who Else Would It Be’ and ‘Get Used To It’; KayCyy earned praises from the likes of Entertainment
Tonight, Complex, Pigeons and Planes, & Billboard, and graced the cover of FLAUNT just to name a few. In
addition to being included on the coveted 2022 XXL Freshman list, KayCyy hit the stages for Rolling Loud
Toronto, Miami, and Lollapalooza as well as a handful of sold–out shows overseas in Paris and Millan.
KayCyy also unveiled his Sunset Session live performance for the sensational track “Hold You Up” alongside
Annahstasia and many visuals including “Breaking Point”, “I Love Myself”, and “HOWWW”. As a tastemaker in
fashion, KayCyy is one of the leading influencers in the evolution of high fashion meets streetwear. Taking
Paris Fashion Week 2022 by storm, KayCyy walked in the Kid Super and Marni’s fashion show. As he
continues to build and lean on his relationships in the fashion world including Francesco Risso and Mowalola
Ogunlesi, KayCyy was featured in Mr. Porter’s exclusive Marni collection launch this past fall.
Focused firmly on the future and with some of the best producers in the game in his corner, there’s no stopping
KayCyy’s rise to the top of the rap game. Stay tuned for much more.
20. Cochise – No One’s Nice To Me
Primed to heat up the summer, platinum–certified genre–breaking rapper Cochise
unleashes his new NO ONE’S NICE TO ME EP today via Columbia Records.
These seven tracks illustrate the evolution of his unpredictable and undeniable sound over production from an
A–list cadre of creators such as BNYX [Drake, Lil Uzi Vert, Yeat], TM88 [Future, Lil Uzi Vert], Akachi [DJ
Khaled, Future, Lil Durk]. On the opener “HYDROPLANE,” cinematic strings swell underneath glimmering
keys, and Cochise locks into a splashy flow. He deftly flexes, “I’m counting out this money, while I’m counting
up my blessings.” An ominous vocal sample sets the tone for “YAKUZA TIES.” His emotionally charged
delivery cuts through the 808s awash in waves of distorted guitar. Elsewhere, thick bass groans between his
high–pitched intonation on the venomous and vital “SUPER VILLAIN.” The trip concludes on the ethereal and
entrancing “EUROPEAN DREAM.” Glassy melodies drift in and out of the beat, and his bars practically
levitate over the production as he blasts off to another realm.
Ultimately, NO ONE’S NICE TO ME showcases every side of the rising star as he makes his return to his
anime–theme roots and continues to ascend to the forefront of the game. “I want people to put some respect on
my name” says Cochise about the creation behind the project. “I feel like I’ve been working harder than my
peers and still not getting the same light as them, this project is for the doubters and trolls.”
He paved the way for the project with “KANEKI.” The track accumulated over 1 million Spotify streams and
made its debut on New Music Friday. Earning plugs from HipHopDX and more, HotNewHipHop proclaimed,
“‘KANEKI’ is upbeat, with heavy bass and bright percussion.”
Following his previous efforts “COOK UP”, “CRÈME BRULEE” and his sophomore album THE INSPECTION,
Cochise continues to elevate in his melodic mastery through every new release. With his spitfire bars and
infectious production, the XXL 2022 Freshman’s artistic intuition continues to be a refreshing divergence from
hip–hop’s current trends while taking an entirely new approach.
21. Diddy, City Girls & Fabolous – Act Bad
Grammy-winning music mogul Diddy joins forces with powerhouse duo City Girls and legendary rapper Fabolous to drop a scorching summer anthem titled “Act Bad” on Bad Boy Records. This fiery track combines Bad Boy beats with the signature bad girl attitude that has made JT and Yung Miami household names and features Fabolous delivering his signature smooth flow. Produced by Diddy and Papyier, Act Bad” revolves around the concept of having fun and embracing a fearless, unapologetic energy.
In the spirit of the song Diddy sets the screen on fire with a video that pushes boundaries. Diddy enlisted Kid Art to direct and bring to life his concept resulting in mesmerizing visuals that transport viewers to the underbelly of Miami’s wild nightlife, capturing a night on the town where inhibitions are left at the door. With an unmistakable aura of rebellion and defiance, “Act Bad” embodies a confident and unapologetic attitude of the song, encouraging viewers to break free and embrace their wildest desires. Be prepared to be tantalized, and seduced with the creative that set the stage for an unforgettable summer. Not only does the video push the envelope it also serves as promo for Diddy’s Deleon Tequila featured both in the song and video and will be the official drink for an “Act bad” Summer.
As one of the most successful labels in hip-hop history, Diddy’s Bad Boy has a long-standing legacy of producing chart-topping hits and launching the careers of some of the biggest names in the game. With the City Girls’ meteoric rise to fame and Fabolous’ established influence in hip-hop, “Act Bad” is a testament to the power of collaboration and the enduring legacy of Bad Boy.
City Girls have been making waves with their confident and assertive personas, coining the term “act bad” to describe women who are unapologetic about their lifestyle. The duo continues to push boundaries, and their influence on popular culture serves as a reminder of the power of self-expression and individualism in the music industry. Beyond the music industry, they have become role models for many young women who aspire to be confident, independent, and successful.
Fans have eagerly anticipated this release, and Diddy, the City Girls, and Fabolous have definitely delivered. “Act Bad” is a must-listen for anyone who loves hard-hitting beats, clever rhymes, and unapologetic attitude. Be sure to check out the single and video, available on all platforms now.
More music to come from Diddy with his new album due out on LOVE RECORDS later in the year and the City Girls dropping their project on Quality Control/Motown Records this summer.
22. Monaleo – Where The Flowers Don’t Die
Houston rapper/singer and new mother, Monaleo shares her highly-anticipated debut project Where The Flowers Don’t Die out now via Stomp Down. A true tour-de-force, Where The Flowers Don’t Die shows every side of Monaleo is flattering, no matter what angle you catch her at. Her impulsive dynamism and cut-throat execution moves her to the top of rap’s up-and-coming stars, her name written enduringly in pen.
Headlined by hard-hitting single “Ass Kickin”, the project brings new, pillowy-soft textures and rejuvenated attitudes to Monaleo’s catalog. She feels born again on the church-backed closer “Cosmic Love” and plays at the heartstrings on “Miss Understood”, an acoustic ballad that she handles with stripped-back grace. “Wig Splitter” is a scrappy mission statement for Monaleo at large, leaning fully into her unrivaled bravado. “Goddess” furthers Monaleo’s long standing relationship with rap darling Flo Milli, a track that sees the two reveling in the genius of femininity. Together they conclude that the only creator divine enough to forge their characters is a woman, made all the more heavenly by the glamorous pop background of the track.
“For my first body of work [Where the Flowers Don’t Die] I wanted to delve into some of my deepest emotions and present versions of myself that were never before seen. The writing process throughout this project was challenging because I wanted to make music that spoke for itself. Not the kind of music where I have to convince people it sounded good and not the kind of music I had to play on full blast to get people to feel; but music that moves people and creates a sensory experience that you remember forever. The artist in me wanted to choose creativity over certainty, thus creating a time capsule that sucks the listener into my world for a few minutes. I want the words to resonate. I want the beats to take over people’s ears. I just want to bring people into my world; A world so harmonious, where the flowers don’t die.” – Monaleo