Just like sports, music is a competitive field. For instance, the ‘Most Valuable Players’ in the mainstream music industry score the most hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and 200 Albums chart! The best musicians receive the most nominations, awards, brand deals, playlisting, and elite print media coverage, such as Rolling Stone, GQ Magazine, and Vogue.
Competition is at an all-time high. There are numerous talented upcoming musicians from all around the world! Yes, it’s true; there’s a spot for everyone to succeed and win. However, we must remember that, just like in sports, some individuals have a place on the bench, which isn’t the most desired position. As we know, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has players who’ve never touched the court during the game since becoming professional athletes.
In today’s mainstream music industry, several famous music artists from the early 2000s and 2010s have faded into the background. Competition is a hidden layer in music. That being said, an individual aspiring to become a successful musician must have the skills, dedication, confidence, and drive to remain relevant in the music game. Because if they don’t, their competitors will.
Nonetheless, these seven black musicians below are stepping up to the challenge, proving to the world that they’re here for a good time and a long time. Who are you keeping your eyes on in 2023?
Despite GloRilla rising to fame with her viral single “F.N.F (Let’s Go),” she’s still on the come up! This is just the beginning.
GloRilla became a Grammy-nominated artist in less than a year when the Recording Academy recognized “F.N.F (Let’s Go)” impact within the Hip-Hop community. At the 2023 Grammy Awards, she shared the stage with Busta Rhymes, Queen Latifah, and other Hip-Hop legends as they celebrated Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary.
Since then, the Memphis rapper has collaborated with fellow Memphis native Moneybagg Yo for their hot single “On Wat U On.” In addition, the raptress recently completed her “Anyways, Life’s Great…” tour and released the official music video for her new single “Internet Trolls,” gaining more than 2 million views on YouTube.
In 2021, Jamaican artist Skeng gained global recognition for his hot dancehall single “Gvnman Shift.” Since its release, “Gvnman Shift” has accumulated more than 11 million streams on Spotify.
Nevertheless, the grind never stops! This dancehall artist is showing no signs of slowing down. In 2022, rap star Nicki Minaj shocked the internet when she released her remix to Skeng’s “Likkle Miss,” ultimately gaining more than 4 million streams on Spotify.
In addition, the official music video for the “Likkle Miss” remix, featuring the Jamaican artist, has accumulated more than 6 million views on YouTube. On Feb. 13, 2023, Skeng released his new single, “Elvis Presley.” Since its release, “Elvis Presley” has garnered over 800K views on YouTube.
3. Snupe Bandz
In 2021, Snupe Bandz gained recognition from the late Young Dolph, pushing him to become one of the hottest Paper Route Empire rappers. The PRE rapper showed the world his skills when featured on Paper Route Empire’s compilation album “Paper Route iLLUMINATi.” On the album, he delivered hot verses on several songs, such as “Show Out,” “Blu Boyz,” and “South Memphis Rugrats.”
His second most popular song on Spotify is “South Memphis Rugrats.” making it no surprise that it has garnered more than 8 million streams on the platform. In 2022, Snupe Bandz released his album “Boyz N The Hood,” proving he is here to stay. Since its release, the rapper has released music videos for his lead singles, such as “Green Beam.” The official music video for “Green Beam” has accumulated more than 300K views on YouTube.
Social media is a powerful tool; ask Lakeyah. In 2020, after going viral for posting her freestyles online, the raptress got the golden opportunity to sign with Quality Control Music.
Since then, she has persevered throughout the past three years. On Sep. 23, 2022, the Milwaukee rapper released her new album “No Pressure (Pt.2),” giving her fans hit singles like “Mind Yo Business” and “Maneuver.”
Her most famous song from the album “Mind Yo Business” has garnered more than 13 million streams on Spotify. In addition, the official music video for “Mind Yo Business” has accumulated over 12 million views on YouTube. In 2023, Lakeyah started the year showcasing her personality and sense of fashion.
The raptress attended the Moose Knuckles NYFW SS23 preview party, released a vlog series giving fans a glimpse of her life, and conducted an ASMR interview with Fuse TV, which has accumulated over 30K views in less than a week.
5. Nana Fofie
On March 3, 2023, rap mogul Nicki Minaj announced that she signed Nana Fofie to her new record label. This is a significant breakthrough moment for the Ghanaian musician.
Since 2017, Fofie has been on the rise in hopes of receiving international recognition for the quality of her music, making the recognition from Minaj well deserved.
On January 27, 2023, the Ghanaian starlet released her new single “Selling Dreams,” accumulating over 500K streams on Spotify. In addition, the official music video for “Selling Dreams” has garnered over 200K views on YouTube.
6. BiC Fizzle
In 2021, during his senior year in high school, BiC Fizzle took over the streets of Arkansas with his viral single “Supafly.” The Arkansas rapper’s single was so hot, Hip-Hop star Gucci Mane signed him to his record label 1017 Records. Since then, BiC Fizzle has been one of the hottest upcoming musicians.
In addition, the 1017 rapper is following fellow Arkansas native Bankroll Freddie’s footsteps by giving the mainstream music industry a taste of Arkansas’s music flavor.
On Jan.26, 2023, BiC Fizzle released his new album “Clark Street Baby,” delivering hot singles like “Clark Street Baby, “Turnt Sh*t,” and “Where U From.” The rapper’s most popular song on Spotify is “Turnt Sh*t,” making it no surprise why the single has accumulated more than 3 million streams on the platform. In addition, BiC Fizzle released the official music video for “Where U From” on YouTube, ultimately gaining over 100K views.
Don’t let the name fool you. There’s nothing shy about this London star. Based on her stats, Shygirl is one of London’s hottest upcoming musicians. In 2017, Rihanna recognized Shygirl’s vocal talent, adding the London rapper’s music to her 2017 Fenty x Puma runway show soundtrack.
Although Shygirl has received recognition from Rihanna, she is still working hard to become one of the forerunners in the mainstream music industry.
In 2022, Shygirl released her new album “Nymph,” giving fans hit singles like “Shlut” and “Heaven.” Since its release, “Shlut” has garnered more than 5 million streams on Spotify, and the official music video for the single has gained over 200K views on YouTube. Additionally, on Feb. 28, 2022, Shygirl released the music video to “Heaven,” accumulating over 85K views on YouTube thus far.
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