25 New and Rising Artists That We Feel Will Shape the Future of Music in 2023
From twisted R&B auteur Liv.e to club rap regenerator Bandmanrill to indie rock realists Wednesday, these are the musicians we’re keeping a keen eye on this year.
There’s nothing quite like the thrill of finding new artists to put on endless repeat, to obsess over, to count on to express our innermost joys, sorrows, and desires. Some of the musicians on this list have been around for a minute, but are primed to release their best work soon. Others are due to take some of our favorite albums of last year on the road. And some are still bubbling up and developing new sounds that could define major trends of the future. Their styles range drastically, from droning ambient to ruthless hardcore to masterful Afropop, but they’re all pointing fresh ways forward. Now’s the time to let Ollywop help you find your next fave.
Who they are: A Brooklyn-based rapper who spits like the child of James Baldwin and underground NYC heroes Cannibal Ox (if they really enjoyed manga)
Why they’re so exciting: AKAI bends language to his will, his flows making big words and philosophies feel weightless and freeform. After releasing a string of records over the last few years, including True Sky, a collaboration with fellow Brooklynite Navy Blue, AKAI leveled up with Spirit Roaming, released on the vanguard New York rap label Backwoodz Studioz. He’s currently working on a new solo record dubbed Verticality///Singularity.
The song to listen to right now: “Demonslayer”
Recommended If You Like: Warped beats, unorthodox flows, Senzu Beans, slightly faded Yankee fitteds
Who they are: Afropop’s latest eclectic It-girl. Her remarkably assured first album, 2021’s 19 & Dangerous, is filled with pointed songs of lost love and toxic exes, along with enough hits to warrant a recent deluxe edition. She’s also among the few people on Earth who can get Kelly Rowland to spit some bars on a remix and not get completely outshined.
Why they’re so exciting: A sage elder lives inside this 20-year-old. Sprinkling aphorisms across her tracks, she exudes the vocal mastery of a veteran while also having fun with uniquely Gen-Z boasts (“I see you watchin’ my stories/I see you gaugin’ my lifestyle”). Her refreshing experimentalism enchants across high-tempo pop anthems as well as somber heartbreak ballads.
The song to listen to right now: “Rush”
Recommended If You Like: The catharsis of coming-of-age films, goddess braids, pretending you are trilingual, writing “every tongue that rises up against me shall fall” on your Twitter bio after every mild inconvenience
Who they are: A Newark rapper who merges fiery, drill-inspired flows with hyperkinetic Jersey club beats. He’s turned everything from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to an early Miguel hit into hip-thrusting anthems.
Why they’re so exciting: Much of today’s club-rap explosion prioritizes dancing, but Bandman offers a refreshing focus on rapping. He’s looking to double-down on his momentum this year with a collab mixtape alongside the Bronx’s Sha EK in the spring, a solo tape in the summer, and his debut album this fall.
The song to listen to right now: “Shake It (Baby) (My Humps Remix)”
Recommended If You Like: The 2003 New Jersey Nets, twerking, the implausible dance battle at the end of You Got Served
Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul
Who they are: The Belgian duo whose dancefloor-ready electropop has a comedic slant, led by rubbery basslines and sly hooks poking fun at xenophobia, misogyny, and more.
Why they’re so exciting: Adigéry and Pupul’s music leaves a bold impression as it fuses electronic and pop styles with a light touch. Listening to their debut, last year’s Topical Dancer, is like being let in on a delirious hour of in-jokes from a pair of new friends (with good synths).
The song to listen to right now: “HAHA”
Recommended If You Like: Camp, absurdist house bangers, anticolonialism
Who they are: This booming mantra-maker already has a handful of songs—including “F.N.F. (Let’s Go)” and “Tomorrow 2”—that are not only hits but lifestyle-changers.
Why they’re so exciting: Glorilla offers a fresh twist on straight-up, hard-hitting Memphis rap that is gloriously unafraid to put dumbass dudes in their place.
The song to listen to right now: Since you’ve probably heard her smashes already, try the relatively overlooked “Nut Quick.”
Recommended If You Like: Terrence Howard’s perm in Hustle & Flow, Duke Deuce workout videos, being single and loving it
Who they are: The New York-based singer-songwriter and synth tinkerer dishes freely about smoking too much pot, but her offbeat electronic pop about crushes and the ridiculousness of the music industry can be remarkably clear-eyed.
Why they’re so exciting: Grace Ives leveled up in a big way with her 2022 album, Janky Star, which features some of the finest blog-era throwback pop you’ll hear outside of your personal indie-sleaze playlist.
The song to listen to right now: “Lullaby”
Recommended If You Like: Charli XCX at her most DIY, hopeless crushes, Shelly from Twin Peaks, Max Tundra
Who they are: A former tour manager for Hot Chip and Four Tet who caught the latter’s ear with a startling demo, this British-Armenian electronic musician spins the sounds of his travels into pummeling dance anthems that pulse with life.
Why they’re so