What does it mean to be a “new artist” in 2018? For the purposes of this list, we defined the term as an artist who had their first major breakthrough moments over the past 12 months. Someone like Tierra Whack has been dropping music for years, but the release of Whack World in May represented her best work to date, and it marked the first time she has received widespread attention from critics and fans alike—making her an ideal candidate for Best Artist of 2018 consideration. From commercial powerhouses like Juice WRLD to trendsetters like Valee, there was no shortage of exciting new artists who made their mark this year. These are Complex’s picks for the best new artists of 2018.

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