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Okayplayer’s 23 Breakout Artists to Watch For in 2023


The artists to watch for in 2023 all contributed to one of the most riveting years for independent rap and R&B in recent memory. 

Twenty twenty-two certainly saw its share of stars returning (with widely varying rates of effectiveness) from long pauses and predictable hiatuses. But some of the most resonant musical moments of the year bubbled out from the musicians not getting the algorithmic boost from an increasingly A.I.-powered label system. And while it’s concerningly dystopian to even feel like this needs to be noted, we can assure you the artists to watch for in our next lap are, to a reasonable degree of certainty, actual flesh-and-blood beings.

With that out of the way, the definitely very real humans who shaped the definitely very good sound(s) of 2022 took on myriad forms and frequencies. They span gracious and galaxy-brained writers, hook-savvy and sentimental singers, and, more broadly, a range of gifted musicians who defy definition and discipline altogether. Several of the year’s standouts gave us a decades worth of eye-and-ear-candy in a fairly narrow band of time. Others have been more tactful with when and how they chose to release projects. But none of them missed in 2022, and all of them…

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