Though it took hip-hop music over six months to produce anything reaching the top of the Billboard 200 or Hot 100 this year, there was a silver lining in the ecosystem. A plethora of superb, mega-talented newcomers in both hip-hop and R&B have used this year as a showing ground to propel their careers. Many were able to set their tone for success and illuminate their unique vibes. They’ll continue progressing into the new year and beyond if they play their cards right.

Here is a comprehensive list of artists to watch for coming into 2024. Watch out now because these phenomenal artists are playing for keeps.

Jordan Ward 

Coming off the heels of his critically acclaimed debut album Forward, which dropped earlier in March, Ward has established himself as a salient force in today’s alternative R&B landscape. As quirky and distinctive as he is mindful and grounded, Ward’s sound and energy are indeed “one of one,” and no concessions are being made about that. With a unique soundscape and solid features from his class of newcomers such as Joyce Wrice, Ryan Trey, Gwen Bunn and Joony, Forward was an eclectic, sometimes understated canvas of the visceral ingredients that make him so compelling. Some of those characteristics include his eccentricity, strong penchant for soothing melodies/falsettos and his taste for crafting relatable content. With flair and charm eerily reminiscent of Aminé, the St. Louis native has distinguished himself fully this year, and it’ll be exciting to see how he leverages the momentum from here on. Check out his appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert below to garner a sample size of his sound.


Embracing more of a stripped-down, understated aesthetic of vulnerability in his music, Khamari has benefited from an incredible breakout year. Deriving influence from an eclectic bunch of genre-elevating artists — The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, Frank Ocean, Kid Cudi and Mac Miller — to name a few, Khamari has inherited his signature style that is just as relatable as it is refreshing. Withdrawn from gratuitous gimmicks, Khamari’s graceful yet simplistic approach to music is aptly reminiscent of fellow newcomer Leon Thomas and a young Frank Ocean. Thoroughly indulgent in the blissful nature of acoustics and warm melodies, Khamari will become much more prevalent within the modern-day R&B scene as time progresses. 

Eem Triplin 

With a strong penchant for infectious hooks, seamless rap melodies, and engaging content, Eem Triplin is in a class of his own. In alignment with the likes of $NOT, Ken Carson, Playboi Carti, SoFaygo, Lil’ Tecca, and Luh Tyler, Triplin has established himself as a formidable force in the new rap era. Emotionally self-aware and not hesitant to express it, Triplin’s music is cathartic and healthily resonates with today’s youth. He is a bonafide rising star with over 250K subscribers on YouTube. At only 22, it’ll be amazing to witness the rest of his journey as it unfolds. 


Having dropped her debut single, “Numb,” this month, Korin is undoubtedly a burgeoning newcomer on this list. However, this fact doesn’t negate her unprecedented talent on any fronts. Coming from East Atlanta, Korin channels the aura of nostalgic energy while firmly pushing the boundaries of alternative R&B forward. With an all-star package of talent — ethereal voice, adept songwriting capability and an innate embrace of vulnerability — Korin’s emergence has and will continue to elevate the industry. Produced by Korin, Grammy Award-winning engineer Dos Dias and in-demand Australian producer Ojikae, “Numb” aims to underscore the moment someone checks out of a relationship with no other word to describe their emotions. As cathartic as it gets, the track is a thunderous precursor to the release of her debut EP, A Series of Unfortunate Events, which is expected to drop soon. 


When I think about the concept of keeping things “new, innovative, and creative,” I can’t help but think about grouptherapy. Consisting of the hyper-fun trio of Jadagrace, Tyrel J. Williams, and Coy Stewart, this year has been phenomenal for the team. With an extensive background in the entertainment industry, the collective has a penchant for discussing various matters such as creative disillusionment, financial struggle, rejection of consumerism and self-empowerment. Instead of dwelling on the negatives of their trajectory, they’ve been able to turn lemons into a refreshing glass of lemonade. Each group member compliments each other well, and their chemistry is palpable. It’ll be exciting to see how they evolve even more moving forward. 

Destin Conrad 

Hailing from Tampa, Florida, Destin Conrad is a young R&B prodigy with many more bright years to indulge the fruits of his labor. With a laidback countenance and approach to music, Conrad’s aesthetic is as cool, ultra zen and versatile as they come. In 2021, he dropped his debut project, Colorway, and has been on fire ever since. After accompanying other prominent acts, such as Syd and Kehlani, on the road, the young crooner will spearhead his first national tour next year. With his talent for singing and dancing, the sky is the limit for him. 


Hailing from the culturally rich, jazz-infused streets of New Orleans, Ambré has been cooking up this year. Despite only dropping her EP, Jaguar Tour Setlist, she’s been on a hot streak regarding singles and features. Some of the tracks she’s been on include “Muse Freestyle,” “I’m Baby” (feat. Jvck James) and Ab-Soul’s “Art of Seduction” from his 2022 sublime effort, Herbert. In addition to her stat sheet, her songwriting bag helped her earn her first Grammy back in 2019. As a self-taught musician, Ambré learned to play myriad instruments, sing, write and produce while growing up in the foster care system. For those chaotic and hectic days, Ambré’s music has such a chill vibe that it can’t help but provide solace for the soul. With so much under her belt already, this is just the beginning for Ambré. 

GoGo Morrow 

Over the last couple of years, GoGo Morrow has been setting herself up for major stardom. With goddess-level vocals and an uncanny dance package, there isn’t anything Morrow can’t do. In 2022, she went on tour with Flo Milli, appeared on an episode of Freeform’s grown-ish and doubled down with a performance at Howard University’s Homecoming. Making major waves with the release of her debut EP, Ready, which reached over 200 million streams across all platforms, Morrow showcased the wide-ranging spectrum of her ability and sound, illustrating her alchemy one track at a time. Earlier this month, Morrow dropped a sultry rendition of “Silent Night.” With an enormous co-sign on the R&B Money Podcast, hosted by R&B legends Tank and J. Valentine, coupled with her undeniable talent and infectious energy, it’s only up from here for Morrow. 

Maiya The Don 

Parlaying her massive TikTok following, Maiya The Don has used her thoroughly earned clout to reach the heights of contemporary New York City rap this year. Initially kicking her career off as a beauty influencer, she garnered approximately 500,000 followers last year and decided to make her mark on the music industry. After hitting it big with her major hit single, “Telfy,” which pays homage to the prominent Black-owned handbag retailer Telfar, Maiya put herself on the map after gaining 1 million views on YouTube. Since then, she’s made the most of her momentum and is only getting bigger by the day. From performances during Fashion Week to being a guest member on Flo Milli’s Thanks for Coming Here, Ho Tour, Maiya is the epitome of a hard-hitting lyricist from Brooklyn, and there are no signs of stopping her reign anytime soon. 


At only 22, Leondra “Monaleo” Gay is the prodigal daughter of modern Southern hip-hop. Originating from Texas, Monaleo found early success from the skyrocketing popularity of her debut single, “Beating Down Yo Block,” which gained over 3 million streams on Spotify and 3.3 million views on YouTube. Replete with incisive wittiness, unapologetic charm, feminist energy, Southern distinction, gorgeous looks, and high-quality talent, the young star has a bright future ahead. She dropped her debut studio album, Where Flowers Don’t Die, in MayOut of her class, she is undoubtedly one of the brightest.