Detroit rap has been taking over the past two years with regional rap coming back into the forefront of rap music. One of those names at the head of the new crop of talent is Lelo, an emcee that glides across the staple Detroit sound and can mix it up with other sounds in-between. Lelo’s versatility and his consistency is what has been turning eyes and ears on his movement over the past year. Lelo is dropping a new record every other week and you really don’t know what kind of direction he will go in. You have records like “Upset” which show off his lyrical prowess over gritty Detroit style production. Then you have records like “Wise” that are on the other side of the spectrum which sound like something Pharrell and Chad Hugo would’ve produced back in the early 2000’s. Lelo’s following has grown in leaps and bounds over the last year and this is without a project being out since 2021. I don’t see him slowing down in 2023 and with a project coming out by the end of the year. Lelo should be a name worth keeping tabs on as come closer towards the end of the year.
Canada has put out some of the best musical talent musical talent over the last decade. Ottawa, Canada’s jev may be up next in the list of greats to come from the country. Jev’s had a very diverse background and childhood with living in the Democratic Republic of Congo to living in Canada. When you listen to his music its no mystery that these places have an influence of jev’s creative ear. If you’re on Tiktok a lot you may already be familiar with his “where’s the confetti” record as it was making it rounds on the app last year and earlier this year. Jev is more than a Tiktok one hit wonder though, when you hit play on his ‘the color grey’ album you’ll see how skillful of a rapper and how great at world building Jev is. He only has 2 singles released this year but his name and following grow substantially over the last year and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take off in 2024.
(picked by Jarred Howard)
A leader of the new wave Jersey Club craze, wolfacejoeyy makes music fun. Whether it’s his charismatic flows or charming, lovable personality, the 20-year-old Staten Island rapper has made waves with tracks like “Shake It,” “buku,” “cdg,” “company” and his latest single “what do you do?” (July 14) — a quirky, light-hearted bop that seeps into the soles of your shoes, dragging you to the dance floor. Embodying the sound that’s defined the new generation of creators, and dubbed “PinkPantheress for the boys,” “buku” not only eclipsed over 2 million streams, but earned a co-sign from Kai Cenat in March. Joey is one of five artists featured on SoundCloud’s “First On SoundCloud” spotlight — the platform’s premier accelerator program which has “helped artists go on to win GRAMMYs, launch labels and find successful careers.” Already accustomed to virality at the start of his career, the sky’s the limit for wolfacejoeyy.
Genre is of no constraint to grouptherapy. Making hits undeniable and equally as infectious comes easy for them on their debut album ‘I Was Mature For My Age, But I Was Still A Child’ (June 27). Clad with a sense of purpose and overarching awareness of themselves and what music is missing, grouptherapy. fills the void and makes it their own. The super trio (and childhood friends) Jadagrace, TJOnline and SWIM are a collective unbound and indistinguishable from the “PEAK” they’ve already climbed — going further with each track on their eclectic debut. Jumping from brooding R&B, Jersey Club, Detroit flows, pluggnb, alt-pop with bombastic 808s and more, raw songwriting and pocketed bars from TJ, SWIM and Jada’s swooning, ever-captivating vocals (that act as the glue to the entire project) are an anomaly amongst rising talent. If you were buying stocks, grouptherapy.’s is soaring — and it’s clear to see why based on the amount of genuine talent the three possess in their respective niche.
(picked by Jon Barlas)
East London’s Fimiguerrero has been making some serious noise this year. We’ve seen a massive outpouring of talent from the UK, but very few stand out from the crowd quite like Fimiguerrero. With some solid collaborations under his belt with Lancey Foux, Dom Corleo, and production from BNYX the signs are all pointing to 2023 being a breakout year for this international superstar in the making. Already releasing two stellar albums this year, for a relatively new artist Fimiguerrero already has a more than impressive catalog under his belt. His beat selection is incredible, every song on BLACK and the recently released IMMIGRANT are all flawless. If you’re a fan of UK rappers that don’t necessarily fit into a traditional box than Fimiguererro is definitely one to have on your radar. I highly recommend listening to both albums he’s released this year, the standout track that has been on repeat for me is “school dinner” which was the lead single off IMMIGRANT. Breaking into the US for any British artist has proven to be a difficult task, with some outstanding co-sign’s there’s no doubt Fimigurerro will have a large impact across the world in the not so distant future.
Chow Lee first came on my radar with his sensational project 2 SLIZZY 2 SEXY in collaboration with Cash Cobain last year. It quickly became the soundtrack to my summer and I have been eagerly awaiting a full length solo project from Chow Bella. He recently released HOURS AFTER THE CLUB, an impressive mixtape that features all the elements of ‘sexy’ drill that he helped popularize. Taking the drill drum patterns and laying over toxic verses, the contents of which you would expect to hear outside of any night club as the evening comes to a close. Chow Lee perfectly builds on the club drill sound we’ve come to love, but makes it fresh and something completely unique to himself. I personally am surprised he has not already rose the ranks to being one of the most popular artists out of New York as his music perfectly encapsulates what late summer nights in the city feel like. Definitely spend some time listening to his new project HOURS AFTER THE CLUB, the personal standout for me is “no hesi!”.
(picked by Brodie Harvey)
After originally coming across his singles “We Was Just Kids” and “Love or Leave” in early June, the 18 year old rapper from New Orleans has continued to impress with the release of his new project, “REEBORN”. Gaining some notable steam on the lead single, “BIRTH”, La Reezy has taken to TikTok over the course of the last few months and is creating an exceptionally intentional world around his artist project and soul-infused hip-hop sound. Having released over 100 songs on Spotify and 40 music videos on Youtube since the time he was 15, I see no signs of slowing down from the prolific, self-produced artist who’s uplifting storytelling is sure to breed longevity. A must-listen-to artist for fans of great storytellers like André 3000, J. Cole, or JID, La Reezy is a sleeper pick that shows a level of wisdom and talent far beyond his years.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out “REEBORN” and give a spin to some of my personal favorites off the project – “BIRTH”, “PROTECT”, and “WE WAS JUST KIDS”.
Although it’s had a growing presence in the States over the past 5 years or so, U.K. rap is finally beginning to receive its well-deserved flowers here on the other side of the pond as of late. And while most of us remain fixated on the likes of those leading the charge in the sub-genre such as Central Cee, Dave, and other fan favorites like Lancey Foux, today I’m excited to be shining the Lyrical spotlight on what’s coming up next out of the blossoming scene.
In comes Brandon Nembhard, a Jamaican-raised, U.K. rap artist who’s been making some notable waves in the London rap scene over the course of the past few months. Laying the foundation for his artist project by leaning into his visual gifts and creative genius on TikTok, Nembhard has managed to cut through the noise with consistent quality across his music and socials. Originally blowing us away with his take on Nas’ “The World Is Yours” back in early March, Nembhard has continued to keep his foot on the gas over the past 4 months with impressive singles such as, “Waiting”, “Canon”, and more recently, “Woe is We”. Now as we gear up for Nembhard’s next single due within the coming weeks, I suggest you all take the time to dig into Nembhard’s discography as there are plenty of undiscovered gems waiting for your ears to take a listen.
(picked by Joe Upchurch)
One of the best songs and videos you’ll hear this year is by a UK based artist who goes by the name of Amie Blu. Early last month, I came across her track, “Grab My Coat” feat. Humble The Great and it’s still on my consistent listening rotation to this day. From top to bottom, this offering is extremely infectious, as it contains so many great elements. Amie Has one of the most soothing voices you’ll hear by an up and comer, which is why she’s extremely high on my personal favorites list. I’ve attached the video link down below, so tap in with “Grab My Coat” and get to know Amie Blu!
Up and coming artist, Seago has been on my radar for a little over a year now and it’s really cool to have tracked him all the way to the present day. This Canadian artist has been making some really great music since the beginning of his journey and he stays consistent on his latest release that’s been receiving critical acclaim from editors and curators all throughout the industry. The offering, called “Cheap Shot” is a phenomenal tune that earns Seago a placement on this coveted list!
(picked by Sam Morrison)