Many new, promising performers were given a warm welcome into the hip-hop and R&B scenes last year. It’s safe to say that Yung Bleu, Blxst, Murray, Pooh Shiesty, and the rest of the competition all joined the contest hoping to break into the mainstream, and they all succeeded.
In 2022, there will be a crop of inexperienced newcomers eager to make their mark, particularly in the home of Afrobeats after its meteoric rise in popularity in 2021.
The Following are Billboard’s 2023 Artists to Watch.
Prior to starting her career as Muni Long, Priscilla Renea worked as a pop hit songwriter on Rihanna’s “California King Bed,” Fifth Harmony and Kid Ink’s “Worth It,” country hits on Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert’s Grammy-winning “Somethin’ Bad,” and everything in between on Pitbull and Kesha’s Hot 100 No. 1 “Timber.”
But towards the end of 2021, the 33-year-old singer’s laborious solo efforts were rewarded when her luscious R&B song “Hrs and Hrs,” went viral on TikTok and recently entered the top 20 of the Hot 100 chart, becoming her first individual success.
Muni merits experiencing love in the solo limelight because of her slick, butter-like vocal lines, deftly sensual rhyming schemes, and moving narrative.
Shenseea, a multi-talented Jamaican artist, became a rising celebrity last year after exhibiting her talent on Kanye West’s Grammy-nominated album Donda. She allowed her vocal ability to take centre stage on “Pure Souls” in addition to sparring with West and Rooga on “Ok Ok pt 2.” Shenseea now appears prepared to release her much-anticipated debut album after working with Megan Thee Stallion on her sweet track “Lick.”
Temilade Openiyi (better known as Tems), who helped define summer 2021 with her extremely contagious appearance on Wizkid’s “Essence,” made a name for herself in afro-fusion music and beyond. Many of her fans went back in time to 2020 to listen to her album For Broken Ears, while others tuned in last autumn when the Nigerian singer-songwriter released a five-track EP If Orange Was A Place. Fans were left wanting more.
After signing with Since ’93/RCA Records, Tems has had a year that can only be described as explosive. He has been on Drake’s Certified Lover Boy, been named Billboard’s October Rookie of the Month, and topped the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart after Justin Bieber featured on “Essence.” Tems’s creative abilities, vocal talent, and pleasant demeanour reveal her unmistakable staying power while the honours show how far the singer has gone.
- From Doo-Wop to Hip-Hop, Gangsters Are All Over Music.
- The Best Way to Watch Stream East on Fire Stick
After ten years of tenacity, Detroit native Babyface Ray (real name Marcellus Register) has established himself as a staple in his home city. Now, along with other young rappers from the Motor City like 42 Dugg and Tee Grizzley, he is expanding his grind nationwide.
After being featured on many popular solo mixtapes, Babyface gained widespread recognition with the release of the EP Unf*ckwitable in 2021, which had Moneybagg Yo as a guest, and a later deluxe version that included a remix of Babyface’s 2020 song “Paperwork Party” with Jack Harlow. Face, Babyface’s most recent album, was released on January 28 via Wavy Gang/Empire.
In 2021, Nardo Wick gradually worked his way to success. The Jacksonville native dropped his explosive breakout single “Who Want Smoke?” in January 2021, but it wasn’t until Lil Durk, G Herbo, and 21 Savage contributed their nasty street tales to the official remix in October that the frightening music caught the attention of the general public.
Nardo Wick’s “Who Want Smoke?” made it into the top 20 of the Hot 100 and became his unforgettable first platinum song thanks to A-list star power that caught the attention of the rest of the nation. Mike Saponara
Tyla Jane is paving the way to become the next alternative R&B sensation with the release of her contagious upbeat summer hit “Energy” in June 2021. Jane quietly shares her previous problems in the song’s lyrics, inspiring listeners to use manifestation techniques and develop unflinching confidence.
The singer croons, “‘Cause last year was a disaster but I’m growing up/ Thanking God that I’m so blessed/ Yes, he gave me love/ Said ‘Lady, don’t cheat yourself on this, get your shine up’/ And it’s all because I’m working on my energy,'” in her angelic voice.
Last year, Capella Grey’s scorching summer single “Gyalis” sent Uptown into a frenzy. Grey’s sticky sing-along and slick boldness propelled him into the Hot 100 top 40 last autumn, earning him a spot as one of the city’s brightest talents.
A Boogie, Joey Bada$$, Russ, and other well-known rap heroes have received features from Grey, who has also established himself as a trustworthy helper. The newly signed artist to Capitol Records believes that his infectious songs will continue to captivate fans, particularly as he gets ready to release his debut album later this year.
Marzz has the right to claim first dibs as the R&B scene’s up-and-coming artist. Grammy-winning producer Timbaland requested that Louisville, Kentucky native Marzz record a number of songs after becoming enamoured with her lovely voice and insightful lyrics in freestyles the LGBTQ singer-songwriter shared on Instagram two years prior.
Laria McCormick, the minister’s child, debuted EP, Love Letterz (Stay Cool/RCA Records), which was released in June. More than 1 million people have viewed the upbeat new song “Countless Times” by the band, which deals with the necessity to leave a love relationship. Later this year, Marzz will release his debut full-length album.
To date, Nija Charles’ songwriting credits include the Hot 100 No. 1 “Rain On Me” by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, Grammy-winning albums (Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy and The Carters’ Everything Is Love), and multi-platinum songs (Drake and Chris Brown’s “No Guidance”).
Nija made her debut as an artist last year with three tracks from her newly released EP Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You, which followed her verse on “My Power” from Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack. In “Ease My Mind (Come Over),” “Finesse,” and “On Call,” the 24-year-old multihyphenate displays her adept R&B and drill blend, sensuous melodies, and lyrical acumen. Her alluring actions demonstrate that Nija must be the voice behind her own pen game.
Amaarae, a singer from Ghana, has a distinctive voice. With her baby-soft voice and genre-defying rhythms, the Interscope signee is in a league all her own. Millions of people were introduced to her burgeoning discography due to TikTok.
Kali Uchis and Moliy’s “Sad Girlz Like Money (Remix)” gained hundreds of millions of listeners across platforms in 2021 after going viral on the video-making app. The Angel You Don’t Know, her 2020 album, wonderfully depicts the budding singer’s carefree, self-assured character and paves the way for a successful 2022.
When it comes to rap, New York City’s harsh boroughs inherently foster rivalry. In 2021, the Bronx made an effort to unseat Brooklyn as the NY drill champion, partly due to South Bronx resident B-Lovee, age 21.
B-Lovee will soon be one of NYC’s essential rap exports because of his knack for incorporating nostalgic samples, such as Gyptian’s “Hold You” and Mary J. Blige’s “Everything,” or for delivering unsettling poetry throughout his “My Everything” series. — M.S.
Particularly since being given the chance to perform a brand-new version of the famous Proud Family theme song from Disney, Joyce Wrice has emerged as one of the most popular figures in R&B. The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder is the name of the highly anticipated reimagined series, which features music originally performed by Solange Knowles and Destiny’s Child.
Wrice had successful joint projects with singers like Wale, Lucky Daye, and Masego before getting the big job. Wrice, a brilliant Leo, continues to set an excellent example of attitude and spirit.
If you’ve heard this one before, please stop us: A former Love & Hip Hop cast member from The Bronx who turned to rap stardom after becoming famous. Apparently, DreamDoll is hoping to emulate Cardi B’s business success by adopting a leaf from her playbook.
Against a phalanx of female rap stars, she held her own with a racy line on Hitmaka’s “Thot Box (Remix)” and stole the show on Rick Ross’ stripper-friendly “Wiggle” to conclude 2021. The release of the Warner Records artist’s big label debut in 2022 should mark the next development in her career.
With her swoon-worthy fusion of Afropop rhythms and R&B melodies underscoring her gorgeous, raspy vocals, the Nigerian-Beninese singer-songwriter has mesmerised the likes of Kelly Rowland, Rema, and more.
The 19 & Dangerous singer, whose real name is Oyinkansola Aderibigbe, is leading a new generation of Nigerian women who are singing songs about holding on to their strength, enduring grief, and defending their peace, such as her Top Triller Worldwide charting track “Bloody Samaritan.” Starr, who is signed to Mavin Records, the top record company in Nigeria, is destined for the fame implied by her stage name.
Another nimble poet who can compete with anyone if challenged is from the Tri-State region. The most prominent example of London’s wordplay can be seen on her latest album, “Lisa Story,” which also features Harlem rookie Dub Aura. It’s only a matter of time until London pounces her way to mainstream success with high-profile endorsements from Diddy, Nas, and others.