Artists to Watch in 2023: our top picks
Updated: Jan 15
2023 has only just begun, and we mention some names you should know. You may have already heard about some of them, and the rest, you will be exposed to right here. So here we go
Kant10t, Kyoka, King Izem, Jamal Shaqstar (Kyrosmoke, Instagram)
2022 was a year of a lot of new music and fresh faces in the scene. We reviewed for you who will be the next big breakthroughs, who already did it, and who made the most improvement, but there are other artists you should include in your playlist.
Climbing the ladder of success is 23 years old, Kant10t who is steadily making big moves in the dancehall scene. Known for his hit break-out single 'Born Choppa', the Kingston native continues to break barriers by believing in himself. Struggling to find his passion, the musical prodigy began doing music when he jokingly tried to perform at a show but was shocked by the pouring of love in the crowd’s response.
in 2020 he released his first song, 'Bad Gyal' which got his name buzzing in the Jamaican streets. Learning with the time that consistency is key, the Seaview Gardens’ rising star stepped back for a year to focus on perfecting his lyricism.
He has since then excelled in his music as his fan base grew and the views began to increase with his return. Dropping singles such as 'Born Choppa' which peaked at 1.3 million views on youtube, 'Nuh Regula Coot' and 'Tarzan', Kant10t deems himself a believer that he will continue to climb to the top.
Jamal also known as “Dunce” or “Fully Dunce” is a voice for the youth in Jamaica. Known for his hit single 'Millions', the Montego Bay native began to dominate social media by force using the slang “dunce” as a term of endearment amongst his Jamaican audience. With this slang, he refers to his upbringing as starting from scratch and always learning every day. Entering the dancehall scene in 2019, he released multiple singles but it was in 2022 that he got real recognition.
"Fully Dunce A Mi Slang" (Jamal Instagram)
Assuring himself always a “fully dunce” he prides himself in being humble, and willing to perfect his craft daily. Reflected in his work, in 2020, the views increased after the release of his single 'Rapid Burst' in which he gained over 100,000 new viewers.
The success would not stop as he further went on in 2021 to release his hit breakout single 'Millions' which garnered a whopping 1.3 million views with over 900,000 new viewers.
Last year he wasn't just a fully dunce and also fully active with songs like 'Sidis', 'Drip Drip' and spiced it up with 'Mr. Myres', and he also got to perform in some big local events such as Mobay Jerk Fest & West Igloo, so put your notifications on various social networks channels of the artist with a strong voice.
Keneil Housen famously known as YK Kastro is predicted to rise to fame very soon as he strives on his musical journey. Hailing from St.James Parish, the underground artiste quickly gained the attention of the Jamaican audience with his single ‘Zoom’. Trying his best to avoid the music life, he finally accepted his calling, pursuing his talent over the past three years. with Notable songs such as, ‘Affi Get Rich’, ‘Trick' and ‘Unfold Dreams’, he is expanding his emerging catalog.
Working with Cash Code Records, he aims to thrive in positivity and success with the hopes to one day receive a Grammy. To better himself, he works relentlessly as he improves his lyrics with a new sound all while displaying his creativity. This earned him several performances at some major events, including, Jamfest at the end of 2022 in front of his hometown people.
Humble and talented, born in the small community of Seaforth, St. Thomas, Shaquille Williams more popularly as Shaqstar. Known by the people as the protege of the dancehall artiste, Chronic Law, Shaqstar is predicted to quickly excel in the dancehall industry.
In 2020, Chronic Law announced that he would branch off into managing artists with Shaqstar being one of many. Known for his singles ‘Chop Di Line’, ‘Henessy Ina Vein’ and ‘Coldhearted”’, Shaqstar has always had a love for music as it was his way of coping with his hard upbringing. In May 2022 he released his debut EP - "Seaforth’s Son" which divulged his life and the struggles he faced in his hometown.
Shaqstar, captivates the hearts of his Jamaican fans (Kyrosmoke)
With hopes the EP would enhance his success, he surpassed his own expectations, gaining over 700,000 youtube viewers since the EP’s release. Going on to release singles such as 'Chopper Baby', 'Ready Fi Shot, and his latest one, 'Zelle', his fan base continues to grow tremendously as he captivates the hearts of his Jamaican fans with his rawness and authenticity.
Taking it to the new school with the reggae-dancehall artiste, Kxng Izem who is on the trail of a blazing come-up in Jamaican music. Born Dimitri Cummings hailing from St Andrew, he is a staple for emerging artists in Jamaica. With his music, he mixes Afro and Rap along with Reggae Dancehall creating his unique, enticing sound.
Thriving in the pandemic, in February 2021 he was awarded “New Coup Breakthrough Reggae Artiste of 2020”. Riding on his success, he released his first studio project titled 'Wildfire' which gained him a wider audience.
Kxng Izem, A very interesting sound and working on his upcoming EP (Rickayla Mcneil, Kaboom Media)
Since then the project has been incorporated into multiple Spotify and Apple Music playlists with a notable co-sign from Protoje who is also one of Izem’s musical influences.
He started 2023 with ‘Guarg Ring’, the first single from his upcoming "MTD" EP which was produced by Ten24 Music, the label he formed Along with his older brother.
New to the scene, a humble hardworking individual who hails in Kingston, Finga Quenga isn't giving up on his dreams. Releasing several songs over the course of 2022, he is steadily growing and gaining a fan base with the hopes of more local recognition. With notable songs such as ‘Protect’, ‘Bingo Wi Bingo’, and ‘Code Up E Client’, he welcomes the new year with his brand new single, ‘Better Days’, which was released Jan 13th.
Dancehall newcomer, Michael Atkinson is better known as Nervz has kept it real since emerging on the scene. Describing his sound as “unique and pulsating” the vibes master never ceases to appeal to his fans with his cultivating music. In 2019, Nervz became a full-time artist with Quantanium Records label. He has since then worked with many known artists such as Chronic Law, Jahmeil, and many more mainstream artists.
With his songs featured on numerous mixtapes, he has made his name as an underground artist. Releasing singles such as ‘Money Call’, 'Banga Tone', 'Brawling' and ‘Polo fi Days’, he captured the Jamaican audience with his entertaining lyrics. Going on to release ‘Chappa fi True’, the Spanish Town native has kept the soundwaves buzzing for more of his captivating vibe.
he has been working with Quantanium Records, Best known for Jahmiel’s single 'Gain the World', and remains true to himself as an artiste while continuing to gain recognition locally and internationally and just recently back from a Uk tour.
Nervz, just fresh from his UK tour (Instagram)
Young and in charge, the culture needed Trvpp, a rising underground talent who aims to one day be the face of Jamaican Dancehall Music.
Infused with hip-hop and trap music, Trvpp has garnered the love of his youthful fanbase which keeps him on top of his game. With the release of his first single 'Bandit', overwhelmed with the positive responses he continued to release singles that gained attention on media platforms such as Soundcloud and Tiktok.
Known for his hit singles 'Nah lie' (racked up 1.3 million views on Youtube) and 'Kingpin Style', the Jamaican native continues to be the talk of the town as he continues to increase his growing fan base and get recognized even overseas by the legendary sound system, King Addies, while working to better his craft.
From a small community in St. Ann called Steer Town, a star emerges known as Tasheka Bernard. Preferring to be identified by her alias “Kyoka”, the 25-year-old freestyle queen emerged to fame in 2021 pursuing a professional music career. Releasing her first and also hit single ‘Hurt People’ produced by Zimi Records, who is also the personal manager.
Despite only professionally pursuing music for over a year, Kyoka has always had the love of her dedicated Twitter and Instagram fans and garnered the attention of a wider local audience, and recently even released a collaboration song with the dancehall star, Skillibeng, called 'Madness'.
Kyoka, freestyle queen
With high hopes to do more music, she is determined to perfect her craft daily whilst also trying new things.