There’s loads of good new music out there and up-and-coming coming artists need some more love. With small venues shutting down and golden oldies dominating the market, it’s never been harder to break through. So here’s a list of cool artists who we reckon are well worth your time and attention. Happy New Year.
Everyone knows about the rich history of Detroit’s music scene, but what about its future? HiTech are one of the hottest acts among the Motor City’s new gen – and they’re probably the horniest, too. The trio of King Milo, Milf Melly and 47Chops have refreshed the fast-paced ghettotech genre, cross-pollinating it with frenetic footwork and Miami bass, while proudly upholding its tradition of raunchy, repetitive raps. HiTech’s music has been taken off streaming, including last year’s breakthrough album Détwat, but they promise it’ll be back soon. Keep an eye out for their next tour dates – by all accounts HiTech’s shows are wild. DR
Tune to start with: Zooted ft. DJKillaSquid
Fun fact: They’re called HiTech because, apparently, you feel high when you listen to their style of techno.
Right now, Chy Cartier has the kind of buzz every rising UK rapper dreams of. Before its proper release, a snippet of her recent single Bossed Up (initially known as Van Cleef, due to the jewellery brand being namechecked) blew up on TikTok, causing impressed rap fans to demand an official version. And as soon as Bossed Up was released in November last year, the likes of Little Simz, Central Cee, K‑Trap and Unknown T were quick to cosign. Why does the Tottenham rapper stand out? Aside from her explosive energy, Chy is trying out unique and unusual flows, encouraging a welcome wave of innovation in the UK rap scene. DR
Tune to start with: Bossed Up
Fun fact: Chy used to wear a balaclava in her videos. She did the face reveal in October.
Super stylish rapper Deela has been dropping music since 2020, but last year reached more ears with her album Is This On..?. Pairing steely lyricism with spaced-out trap beats, it featured US star Flo Milli and London alt rap leader Len. “Sucks to be you with a bean bag on /I could pull anything like the sun in space,” the London-via-Lagos native raps on the scathing track Take It Up, while rejecting a cheapskate lover in the hilarious music video. JW
Best tune to start with: Take It Up
Fun fact: Deela’s debut album was heavily influenced by Flo Milli’s Ho, Why Is You Here? – some of which was produced by WizzerOnDaBeat, who Deela worked with on her track Chains. A pleasant full circle moment.
BNYX is one of the best rap producers in the US these days. Seven years ago, the 28-year-old from Philly was quietly cooking up beats while working at telecommunications company AT&T – a job he’d taken after dropping out of college due to increased tuition fees – and bombarding Rae Sremmurd fans’ tweets with links to his unofficial remix of their track Swang. The remix gained traction and BNYX (pronounced “Benny‑X”) moved to LA and became a close collaborator with comedian-slash-musician Zack Fox and rage rap enigma Yeat. In 2023, BNYX was credited on records by Lil Uzi Vert and PinkPantheress, as well as some of Drake and Travis Scott’s best tracks. If you hear a massive rap track and the beat sounds fresh this year, there’s a good chance that Benny had something to do with it. DR
Tune to start with: Yeat – Bigger Thën Everything
Fun fact: He’s a big fan of The Cranberries.
Over the last couple of years, the 24-year-old from Peckham has been gradually building his reputation in the local scene with an innovative sound that blends guitar music with hip-hop. Akpro’s latest single, Death By Entertainment, rails against the monotony of daily routine, taking musical influences from Tame Impala and Yves Tumor. You might spot Akpro hanging out with fellow free-spirited musicians Jadasea and Pinty at Peckham’s skate park. South London’s music scene is still going strong. JW
Best tune to start with: Death By Entertainment
Fun fact: Akpro is partial to Dua Lipa’s classic 2015 tune Be the One.
Swank Mami describes her debut EP Eurostar, released last September, as “music for crying in the club”. It’s a collection of sexy, feel-good tracks which see the Somali-Norwegian musician whizz through Jersey club, breakbeat, R&B and sugary sweet pop that’s reminiscent of PC Music. Some of the artists who influenced the making of Eurostar include Lewisham genre-masher Jim Legxacy, Caroline Polachek, Swedish producer Dinamarca and NYC It Girl Eartheater. It’s an amalgamation of everything Swank is going for: compulsively replayable music that’s as experimental as it is freewheeling. If this is what she sounds like while finding her feet, it bodes very well for a potential debut album. JW
Best tune to start with: Bad B*tch
Fun fact: The secret ingredients in Swank Mami’s lasagne recipe are “love, patience and a lot of time.”
Rumour has it all the coolest indie kids in London are listening to C Turtle these days. The scuzzy four-piece band was originally the solo project of Brighton-via-London musician/photographer Cole Flynn Quirke. Now, it also features gentle lead vocals from Mimiko McVeigh, Jimmy Guvercin on drums and Finlay Burrows on bass. C Turtle flew under the radar with their debut album Ant Farm in 2020, later gaining traction with 2022’s catchy track This Is Not Karate. Since then, after sharpening their live set-up by playing loads of pub gigs, they’ve gained a rep for compelling live performances and playful lyricism. This is best exemplified by their latest single, Have You Ever Heard a Turtle Sing?, which suggests C Turtle are ready to start treading brasher sonic territory. Lines such as “Have you ever heard a turtle sing? /Rock and roll” and “Cutting out and butting in /Fascist” conjure up flippant, post-punk influences. Exciting stuff. JW
Best tune to start with: Have You Ever Heard a Turtle Sing?
Fun fact: C Turtle record all their music on a Tuscan four-track cassette recorder to get their signature, crackling lo-fi sound just right.
Born in Hong Kong to a British dad and Japanese mum, Miso Extra’s dual heritage is a central theme within her lyrics, which are paired with a distinctive future-funk sound. The London-based artist sings and raps in both Japanese and English, playfully subverting stereotypes along the way. To make sense of her creative output, she has conceptualised her own aesthetic universe, which is called – of course – The Misoverse. JW
Best time to start with: 1013
There aren’t enough cool bands at the moment and The Hellp aren’t happy about it. “We are the coolest band right now,” lamented Noah P. Dillion, one half of the punky synth-pop duo, in an interview at SXSW last year. But what’s so great about this LA band? Well, for a start, there’s the look: leather jackets, shades, skinny jeans and sharp jawlines. And there’s the riotous live shows. Then there’s also the artful, self-directed music videos – the visual for their track Confluence, in which Noah strips naked while running down an Arizona highway, was used as a reference point by Frank Ocean when he made Blonde. The Hellp formed way back in 2016, but they’re just now hitting their stride. Last year, they supported Yves Tumor on tour and performed at Mowalola’s SS24 show. This could be the year they show the sheepish indie rockers out there how it’s done. DR
Tune to start with: California Dream Girl
Fun fact: After meeting at an LA photo shoot, the duo bonded over both knowing every word to A$AP Rocky’s song Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye II.