Best New Artists of the Month (January)

Featuring Juto, Lonelyspeck, Hook, SwaVay, iivrson, Tokyo's Revenge, and more.

best new artists january
P&P Original


best new artists january

Look back at all of our Best New Artists here and keep up with them all on the Best New Artists playlists on Spotify and Apple.

2020 is poised to be a great year for music, and while there are plenty of new artists that we're excited to watch this year, there are more acts popping up on our radars every day. The Best New Artists feature used to be an end-of-month ceremony, but it's turned into an ongoing discussion.

It's easier and more common than ever for an artist to emerge with contagious buzz and instant popularity. The tradeoff, as IDK recently pointed out, is that getting to the next level of lasting importance is still extremely rare, and maybe more difficult than it's ever been. The cycle is speeding up, attention spans are shrinking, and noise levels are at an all-time high.

Best New Artists used to be about finding the artists who have already proven themselves, but today it's more about potential. That's not to say any of these artists haven't earned our attention—it's just that the future is impossible to predict, and the moment is often fleeting.



Raised in Georgia and based in L.A., Juto is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist whose growth can be charted from 2017's short and sweet Text Talk EP to the impressive, multi-layered experience that is his latest release, the Wool EP. Juto was the first artist signed to Taco from Odd Future's label RE7AX Records, and Wool is a mesmerising dreamscape of funk, R&B, pop, and even rap on the bassline driven "FAF."

Namechecking Pharrell, André 3000, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Amy Winehouse, Frank Ocean, and the gospel music he heard every week in church as inspirations, Juto's eclectic sound makes sense, and is in line with the genre-blending way music is both consumed and made nowadays. "The Wool EP is my moment of letting loose, getting the energy going, with soul and passion," Juto tells us. "In 2020 you can expect ventures into new soundscapes on my third EP and more live shows."

He released two EPs and performed at Camp Flog Gnaw in 2019, and we're excited for more music, videos, and live shows this year.



With the current rise in experimental and left-field pop music, mainstream conventions of the genre are becoming increasingly obscured. Emerging from Australia, Adelaide-raised Lonelyspeck is no stranger to pushing and redefining these boundaries within their visual art, production and songwriting: “I'm really interested in seeing how weird I can get within the framework of a pop song.”

Towards the end of last year, Lonelyspeck dropped their EP Abyssal Body, which encapsulates the young artist’s singular style and forward-thinking production. Although the Australian has a history of alternative approaches, the latest release enters unexplored territory. They seamlessly fuse a combination of futuristic pop, electronic, and nu-metal influences, while concepts of identity and cultural ties are unpacked through visceral metaphors. Although intimate themes of existentialism are explored, Lonelyspeck evokes a universal sense of relatability which adds depth to the already intricate music.

Speaking on the substance in the music, Lonelyspeck explains, "I don't write music from a political angle, or even really think of myself as a particularly political person, but my identity and experiences are inevitably a part of what I make, and as someone who identifies as queer and has Pacific Islander heritage I feel I don't have much option to not care about things like LGBTQ issues and climate change."

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Beantown isn't big enough for more than one Caev. Boston's best-kept hip-hop secret has run around town for years, logging eye-burner hours on basement stages while trading sleepless nights for Ableton sorcery. His recent run of frenetic rap songs tell tall tales of bandits zigzagging under skyscraper shadows, friends and family harboring trusty dusties on tumbleweed streets.

His whispered threats and cutting punk screams make last year's "Sneak Dissin'" a real teeth-grinder. The nostalgic "Dust It Off" (and its accompanying western flick, premiered below) honors the unbreakable bond of block ties over trap acoustics. Caev only has a handful of songs out in the wild, but they're enough to prove he's liable to do whatever the hell he wants on any given track.



BenjiFlow is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and producer from North London who is taking the slow and steady approach to releasing music. With hype building and sold out shows behind him, it's working. Although he has history as a producer for British rap artists, BenjiFlow debuted his solo music at the end of 2018 with "Deep End," following that with just two tracks in 2019. Influenced by an incredibly diverse range of sounds (grime, Afrobeats, R&B, high life, flamenco, and much more), BenjiFlow's makes rhtyhmic, futuristic pop songs songs which boast instantly catchy melodies and incredibly danceable production.

BenjiFlow is ahead of the game and hasn't put a foot wrong yet. His latest track "Somebody," with its memorable Spanish guitar, is his best yet, and we're excited to see what the new year holds. As BenjiFlow tells us, “2020 we have we have new singles coming, an EP, some shows and all round greatness!”



With her scathing lyricism and signature scream-whisper flow, there is an undeniable allure to California rapper Hook. The 21-year-old Inland Empire native grew up around hip-hop, with her step-father encouraging her to study his favorite rappers and a biological father who was a rapper himself. From a young age, she developed her skills as a performer and lyricist, a direct result of the various R&B girl groups she and her step-sisters were members of. 

Hook generated local buzz in and around Los Angeles with her early stream of singles, eventually teaming up with producer Nedarb for her debut album Bully, a taunting, schoolyard-themed project full of bass-heavy production and malevolent bars. Not one to be boxed in, she quickly followed the album with I Love You, Hook, a dreamy, synth-laden EP displaying her softer side while maintaining her contagious charisma. 

To mark her 21st birthday earlier this month, Hook and Nedarb joined forces once again for her second album, Crashed My Car. With colorful tracks like “Heem,” “Wanna Be,” and “Wcgaf,” Hook’s flows jump from frantic and aggressive to calm and collected while her constant barrage of quotable one-liners flood the senses. This chaotic energy is perhaps best seen in her video for “Yes Man,” which follows Hook and her crew as they wreak havoc in a car junkyard with spray paint and smoke bombs. 

All things considered, Hook is still in a very early stage in her career, yet she’s already been getting looks from some of rap’s household names, most recently Rico Nasty and Earl Sweatshirt. With well-rounded projects, unique sound, and razor-sharp bars, Hook has cemented a spot in the conversation of up-and-coming rappers not to be ignored.

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Before releasing his own music, Atlanta artist iivrson was working behind the scenes as a creative consultant and digital strategist for LVRN (the label behind 6LACK, Summer Walker, and Boogie). He's always had a passion for music and an understanding of how to present it, but he spent most of his late teens in school and never focused on it full-time. For the past nine months, that has changed.

He's only released a handful of songs, but tracks and videos like his latest single "Pressure" show massive potential. So far, his production choices lean toward the bass-heavy and ominous but instead of matching that with aggression, his whispered melodies give things an interesting, oddly satisfying twist.

Look out for more singles from iivrson in the coming months, and a project potentially out this summer.

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Tokyo's Revenge

From an artist who made a song as brazen as “GOODMORNINGTOKYO!” you might expect Tokyo's Revenge to be an artist who doesn't feel a need to explain themselves. While that's true to some degree, his first-ever interview revealed Tokyo to be a really smart, thoughtful young artist.

The song has gone viral on TikTok, accumulating tens of millions of streams and catapulting him to the top spots of charts like the Spotify Global 50. Tokyo didn't expect that level of success, but he also wasn't completely surprised: "I felt like I was at the place in my underground career and I had just enough eyes on me that if I hit it right, and went about it the right way, the song would go crazy," he explains. "And I was right."

With viral success comes criticism, but Tokyo's Revenge doesn't mind getting called an industry plant and knows that the only way to shut people up is to stay consistent and keep the momentum going. With "THOT!" also taking off in a major way, he's already proving that "GOODMORNINGTOKYO!" wasn't a fluke. Tokyo's charisma and unpredictability make for true entertainment on par with some of the most colorful characters to come from the undergroup rap world in the 2010s, and he's got lofty ambitions. "I'm not the one-hit wonder type," he says. "I like making all kinds of music... And hopefully the people that came here will hear my voice, and how weird I am, and how crazy I am, and they will listen. They'll stay because I didn't come to play, I came to be the biggest, you know what I mean?"

Read the full interview with Tokyo's Revenge here.


liv e

22 year-old singer, songwriter, and producer Liv.e's music is hard to place, feeling at once modern and as if you've stumbled on an old soul cassette in your grandparents' basement. Growing up in Dallas, Texas and currently living in Los Angeles, Liv.e has a warm, honeyed voice that floats over dusty, lo-fi beats and funky bass with confidence and poise. Her 2018 project Hoopdreams gave a glance at a talented artist who is crafting R&B and soul songs in her own image, bringing in influences like hip-hop and building an immersive world with her sound.

Existing in the same artistic sphere as the likes of MIKE, Maxo, and Pink Siifu, and coming off a feature on "MTOMB" from Earl Sweatshirt's recent Feet Of Clay project after previously supporting him on his 2019 tour, Liv.e starts the year by announcing an upcoming album, Couldn't Wait To Tell You. The first single is "SirLadyMakemFall," out now with a video, and the full project is scheduled for release in April. 

"[The album] is a composition of diary-like-entries that derived from a multitude of life’s growing stages," Liv.e tells us. "In 2020 I plan to refresh people's ears with these beautiful stories that I've written. I plan to help people grow as much as I have learned to grow myself." 



“Speaking in car terminology, 'ARCHIVE' is just gear one, and the plan is to increase the gears as time goes on," says JAHMED. "The ultimate challenge is mastering creativity. I feel like I’m expected to be a voice for my faith and for the people around me. I take no interest in doing the norm."

Growing up between California and Texas, the newcomer draws inspiration from both Kendrick Lamar and Three 6 Mafia, balancing lyrically-driven intensity and more intuitive Southern flows. Alongside other rising acts like like Baby Keem and ICECOLDBISHOP, JAHMED is a hybrid rapper capable of delivering nimble deliveries without losing sight of song structure and hooks.

For now, his only official release is "ARCHIVE," but we've heard a couple of the upcoming records and JAHMED is definitely one to watch out for.

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SwaVay has some heavy cosigns behind him, including Metro Boomin, who signed him to his Boominati Worldwide imprint, and James Blake, who he's collaborated with and counts as a friend and mentor. The character that emerges through Swavay's music and minimal social media presence is of a thoughtful artist who is dedicated to his craft and focused on making authentic music rather than chasing trends.

Swavay is a compelling storyteller and versatile rapper, able to draw the listener in to detailed scenarios over classic-sounding hip-hop beats ("2nd Childhood," "Final Fantasy"), turn the energy up over modern rap production ("Hood Dreamz"), or show off a melodic approach ("2am," Who We Be"). Whatever the sound or style, though, Swavay's voice shines through, even alongside Denzel Curry and YBN Cordae on DJ Khalil's intense "Elevate" from the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack.

“This year I plan to drop another mixtape, my major label debut album and mad content," Swavay tells us. "I promise I’m not leaving fans dry this year.”



Born and raised in the Bay Area, Hollis started her music career collaborating in Seattle's independent hip-hop scene before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a solo career as a songwriter. In fall of 2019, she shared her debut single "Sedative," and she's aiming to release her first EP in February.

"After collaborating with other artists and producers my whole musical career—which I love doing—it's both thrilling and terrifying to be a solo artist," Hollis says. "I knew that there was a singular voice that I had to cultivate and not keep running from, and let myself really embrace my inner sad girl that came up on alternative rock, riot grrrl, and R&B girl groups like TLC."

Hollis says her music is inspired by isolation and feeling overwhelmed by today's never-ending catastrophes. Somehow, "Sedative" still manages a calming effect. Instead of matching the chaos with more chaos, it provides an escape with spacious production and mellow, breathy vocals woven into a clean R&B-meets-pop meditation. It's easy listening on the surface, but Hollis' lyrics reveal a darker truth hiding in plain sight.

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