Best New Artists

Our favorite new and rising artists from October 2022, featuring Boyish, Wil$on, Wakai, Take Van, papa mbye, Ghais Guevara, and Teenage Priest.

best new artists 2022 octover
P&P Original


best new artists 2022 octover

Every month, we round up some of our favorite new music discoveries. 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.



Boyish is the duo of vocalist India Shore (she/they) and guitarist Claire Altendahl (they/them), and we can’t wait for them to play live at No Ceilings! In case you missed it, our live concert series is back, and Boyish will join Wallice, Hamond, and Babebee at Brooklyn Made in NY on December 2. More info and tickets here.

Boyish met in 2016, a few weeks into their first year at Berklee College of Music, when India was auditioning for a showcase and needed a guitar player. Enter Claire, and a long-term collaborative relationship was born. Initially in a band called The Blue writing, in India’s words, “exclusively country music,” after graduating the duo realized they weren’t making the music they wanted, so a new name and new approach was needed.

“We made our first album Garden Spider right after college in different bedrooms across the country,” India tells us. “We only had headphones and a little recording interface and we produced and recorded everything ourselves. Immediately after we dropped that project, we went into the Covid lockdowns in March 2020 and all the momentum we felt we had sort of vanished overnight.”

“However, during lockdown is when we started writing We’re All Gonna Die But Here’s My Contribution,” India adds. “We learned a lot about how to be better producers, and how to create the sound that we wanted for ourselves. After Claire moved to New York in early 2021, we started working on our last EP My Friend Mica, which is the project I’m most proud of making. We really pushed ourselves in our writing and production, and it’s one of the only things I’ve finished where I wouldn’t go back and change anything.”

The May release My Friend Mica was our introduction to Boyish, packed with angsty, driving indie rock songs that were recorded in Claire’s bedroom studio, in the apartment the two musicians share with six roommates. It’s not all sadness and failed relationships in Boyish’s music, however—there’s also hope, catharsis, a space for empathy, and the celebration of friendship. We can’t wait to hear how it all takes shape live at No Ceilings.—Alex Gardner

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Ghais Guevara


In many ways, Ghais Guevara’s music speaks for itself. From the song names and artwork alone, you’re introduced to his nimble way with words and sharp sense of humor. Don’t make the mistake of thinking songs like “This Ski Mask Aint for COVID,” “I Personally Wouldn’t Have Released John McCain,” or “One Meal a Day Type Beat” are all punchline and no substance, though, as you’ll be missing out on stellar rap music. Plus, these aren’t just throwaway jokes—it’s all part of the plan.

“As of maybe two years ago, I started realizing the importance of eye-catching titles and art,” Ghais explains. “Aesthetics are important, folks want a caption or something to add to a mood board. I just try to ensure that my vision is a combination of my passions and interests as well as what would make someone stop and pay attention.”

Ghais has been building a name for himself over the past few years, starting with 2021 project BlackBolshevik and continuing with this year’s There Will Be No Black Super-Slave. We’ve seen his name pop up online and in the P&P Discord, where multiple members of the community recommended we check him out. It was high time to dive in, and Ghais has not disappointed. As a producer, he has a brilliant ear for stitching samples together across his beats and enough versatility to loop dusty drums one moment and explode with bombastic strings and booming bass the next. (Check out “#Freemir,” for example.) As a rapper, Ghais’ voice cuts through even his most manic productions with pointed sociopolitical commentary and personal reflections on life under capitalism and the chaos of #thesetimes. And there’s always a punchline or references that will have you hitting rewind to listen again.

Pegged by some as an underground or alternative artist, Ghais’ is not shy of stating his mainstream ambition. “Labels are always going to be limiting,” Ghais says. “Think of Drive with Ryan Gosling. Everyone thought it was going to be some kind of Fast and Furious, action heavy joyride. Whole time it’s a character study, you know? I’m sure when people hear underground hip-hop they assume I’ll be a DOOM clone or coke rapper or something, which are all respectful mediums in their own right, but obviously that’s far from what I encapsulate. I think I have mainstream potential, honestly. And I think the seedings of that can be found between the DIY nature of my current music. But it’s up to me to free myself from those labels, people don’t really owe me the benefit of the doubt.” 

While he’s trying to work out the logistics of a tour for There Will Be No Black Super-Slave, Ghais is already looking ahead to his next project. “It’s time to make the album of my dreams,” he says. “I’ve been saying, BlackBolshevik was my Overly Dedicated, TWBNSS is my Section.80, and now it’s time for my good kid, m.A.A.d city! Inshallah, it works out well!”

Ghais Guevara’s latest release is a remix to dance producer Dazegxd’s “fallin 4 u,” but if you’re just getting acquainted, take the time to explore BlackBolshevik and TWBNSS.—Alex Gardner  

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wakai photo by Rudolph Melchiorre

Wakai doesn’t need to be compared to his peers. Instead, the Baton Rouge rapper is steadily studying the soulful sounds of his predecessors, specifically Lauryn Hill and Marvin Gaye. Inspired by Gaye’s lovesick lyricism and Hill’s jazz-inflected records, Wakai uses their teachings as a template to create his own distinctive impression on hip-hop while paying homage to the greats who came before him.

This December, the emcee is set to release his third project of the year and the third installment of his tapes with fellow Baton Rouge resident and avant-garde producer wavworld. Travel Team, Vol. 3 succeeds the since-scrapped Homecourt and their 2021 follow-up, Away Game, Vol. 2. The sports theme of the series symbolizes Wakai’s focused approach towards making music: Do it every day. “I put time, time, time, time in it, you know. So what I put in, I’ma get out,” he explains. 

Just this year, Wakai dropped his debut album To a Dark Boy, his own love letter to the Black community, and the Flashbacks EP, a project that showcases his versatility through electronic-influenced beats. “Just like an athlete, consistency and repetition are how you get great at anything,” he continues.

Analogous to a sports team, the Louisiana lyricist also upholds the values of authentic collaboration. “Collaboration is community,” Wakai explains. “With the hip-hop shit especially, from what I researched and stuff I talked to my pops about back in the early and mid-’90s, it’s all about going to the same get-togethers, same clubs, same parties, same places. That’s what a community was and that’s where the feeling was.”

Wakai is a chameleon who reinvents with every release, all the while stepping into his own skin to share his unique story and sound. He’s so magnetic because he’s able to find synergy with anyone he meets and it propagates to anyone who listens to his music. “Certain things stand the test of time when you’re super vulnerable and real in your work, and I feel like I’m really honest in mine. So when people go through things that I go through, they tend to appreciate the vibrations that I put out because they can relate to them.”—Arielle Lana LeJarde

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Papa Mbye

Papa Mbye

Music is full of anomalies, and nobody encapsulates that quite as much as papa mbye, the true definition of natural. His debut single, “IDONTSENDSEX” featuring FruitPunchLoverBoy, was not only the very first track he ever recorded, but prevails as his second most streamed song to date—yet just over three years ago he was not even thinking of making music. With artistic roots as a cartoonist and making caricatures in his local community, papa mbye became immersed in a burgeoning community of creatives, only starting to make music after meeting people in the field.

For an artist so explorative, it is only fitting that papa mbye has been exposed to a wide array of influences throughout his life. The Senegal and Gambia native, who was raised in Minnesota, grew up in the middle of two wide ranging music scenes, citing everyone from Youssou N’dour and Ndongo Lo to Frank Ocean and Michael Jackson as part of his foundation, which can be heard throughout his debut EP, MANG FI. The project was the first extensive taste of his raw yet undeniably compelling blend of just about everything you can imagine, entirely created within a year of first stepping in front of the mic. 

Fast forward to today, and papa mbye is already building toward his second EP following two self-asserting singles, with the blissful electro-rock nodes of “PASSENGER” striking first before sharing the punk influenced, punchy yet vulnerable lyricism of “PIXEL.”

“My next project is about navigating many worlds and dimensions as an immigrant. It also touches on the loss I’ve experienced personally over the last few years,” he explains. “I’ve never been interested in being boxed into any one genre, it’s more about the story and the feeling behind it all. The sounds are all over the place but still fluid. It’s authentically me and my story.”

Look out for papa mbye as we move into 2023, with the sophomore project looming over the horizon.—Freddie Fine

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Take Van

take van photo by Stay Safe

Take Van is effortlessly magnetic. Armed with a unique sound that synthesizes garage and house music with captivating pop and R&B style, the Miami-native released their latest LP Far Away earlier this year. Van’s new single, the airy-yet-iconoclastic banger “Buzzkill,” proves that they are more than a good songwriter with a knack for a catchy hook. Take Van elevates their music’s already-rarified energy, blurring the line between music’s mainstream and the club space with every release.

“The sound is meant to evolve... I’m really excited,” Take Van tells us via a last-minute Instagram DM. They are speaking of both the past and future, noting, “I think that music has always been very therapeutic for me - as a listener and as an artist. As I grow as a person, I feel like my music grows and evolves with me.” This sentiment holds true when going through a deep-dive of Van’s earlier work which includes loose EP’s and singles laced with notes of indie R&B, cloud rap and experimental pop.

Across releases Van’s music is held together by the common thread of their own musical perspective, inspired and influenced by a sounds ranging from Marina and the Diamonds, to The 1975, to Sade. At present, however, Van reveals “I’m a very hype person and that’s really what I’m going for right now.”

Van’s newest offerings are testaments to an artistic spirit being perpetually actualized in real time. “How’d You Go out Like That,” for example, pairs electronic mayhem with razor-sharp vocals, instilled with ethereal house-meets-pop energy. Compare that to their past LP’s Far Away and You Online—where for Van’s dulcet vocals—and Take Van’s creative journey begins to take shape. With more singles - and a new album - slated for release in the coming months, fans are going to have to run to keep up with Take Van.—Carter Fife

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Teenage Priest

Teenage Priest

Like so many young artists who are on the rise right now, it’s impossible to tell Teenage Priest’s origin story without mentioning the pandemic. Prior to COVID’s devastating arrival, Orange County native Taylor Van Ginkel’s main gig was as a touring musician.

When concerts came to a halt and that was no longer viable, he focused energy into solo work under the Teenage Priest moniker and released his debut EP Rhymes and Rhythms in 2021. It started as a necessary pivot, but it worked out—the project racked up millions of plays and showcased his casually flowing melodies, modulated loops blended with dynamic production, and highly relatable lyricism.

Up next for Teenage Priest is an album called Let It Pass, self-written and self-produced in his home and slated for a December 2 release. “I sort of started this project by accident,” he explains. “At first it was a joke, and a way for me to share the music I had been making without just sending MP3 files to my friends all the time.”

His goals haven’t changed much since then, but he is looking to push his boundaries and lean into what makes him different. “I’m not aiming to write the catchiest hook all the time,” he says. “I’m still wanting to find something that is unique to me. Even if it sounds a bit shit at first. I’m lucky that I poke through a little bit. There’s plenty of great music coming out right now, so it’s not lost on me. I think it’s really easy to feel jaded with 100,000 songs coming out every day, and sometimes the only things that get attention are these 15-second sped up audio clips on social media apps. But if you want to find music you like, you can.”—Jacob Moore

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wil$on photo by Aaron “Cook” Dorsey

When writers predominantly cover hip-hop it is a fairly common occurrence to be faced with an onslaught of equally angry and opinionated fans. Covering a pluggnb Soundcloud deep cut? You’ll be faced with comments pleading for a return to hip-hop’s “good ol’ days”. Covering something more poetic and downtempo? Watch your DM requests become colonized by old man emojis and messages naming every word that rhymes with “lyrical.” Though stan-culture has fostered a new generation of mouths that never seem satisfied with what they are fed, there are some artists who have the potential to bridge the gap between generations—unifying a vintage soul feel with modern hip-hop’s powerful forward-thinking dynamism. Enter Wil$on, a South Central native with a track-record so smooth you’ll see why he’s LA’s best-kept secret.

My first introduction to Wil$on came earlier this year in the form of the hazy film-grained visual for “MR. PERFECT.” Over a nostalgic horn sample and hard-hitting percussion, Wil$on takes a deep look inwards while building a wall to protect himself from those around him. He paces while rapping, “Waterworks don’t work, I’m from the turf / Alien, don’t think I’m from the Earth / Get it out the mud or out ya purse / Kendrick cousin told ya we was cursed.” Wil$on’s writing carries a rare insight that many of his contemporaries lack, balancing aggression and vulnerability while pivoting between sincere and biting deliveries at a moment’s notice. Whether he’s referencing Doechii or revealing his bank account to be his mattress, Wil$on uses his quick wit and sage wisdom to build the bridge between old and new.

Wil$on describes his art to me as music that, “toes the line between street rap and heartbreak. Death and love. Tough talk and vulnerability.” His latest full-length release, a 12-track LP titled 1-800-HEARTBREAK does all that and more. Soul samples serve as decoration as Wil$on takes the stage to empty out his baggage. On “Heartbreak Anonymous” he deems his own internal turmoil and romantic trauma as “more chances to get [him] hurt,” and moments later on “Lately” he laments that settling down might not be for him, all the while rapping with an uncommon dose of optimism. With every release Wil$on pushes the boundaries of what hip-hop artists are supposed to say, do, and sound like. With luck, his forthcoming project METHOD ACTING will continue to level his unyielding candor with an understated mastery of hip-hop past, present, and future.—Carter Fife

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