Best New Artists

The Best New Artists of July featuring buzzing SURFGANG, Ebhoni, Porsh Bet$, midwxst, Lowertown, dreamcastmoe, J-Hop, and more essential rising talent.

Best New Artists July 2021
P&P Original

Image by Sho Hanafusa

Best New Artists July 2021

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.



J-Hop is a rapper from St. Louis who moved to Chicago in 2019, and his unorthodox single “Party Pacc” is the one that grabbed our attention earlier this year. Since then he’s been simultaneously working on two projects he’s planning on releasing before the end of 2021. One of them, Black Onyx, just came out this month. “I was at a crossroads where I had to make a decision on who I’d become,” J-Hop says. “Black Onyx is essentially the start of my new life.”

When I FaceTime with him a couple of weeks after the release, he’s wearing a 2Pac shirt and calmly contemplating the work still to come. “I’m happy with the reaction, but I know there’s so much more to it than just the music.”

Soft-spoken but passionate, J-Hop is the kind of artist who prefers to let the music do most of the talking, but he also realizes the need to let fans know what he’s about. Amidst the never-ending controversies and unnerving character reveals in popular music right now, he mostly wants fans to know that he’s a decent human being. Instead of scheming on TikTok trends or attention-grabbing stunts, he’s thinking about ways to put together a DIY interview to give some context to the music he’s made so far.

J-Hop learned how to mix and master during quarantine (he acted as engineer on a couple of the standout songs on Black Onyx, including “Fly High”) and he cites Smino as one of his main influences. As a fellow St. Louis native with ties to Chicago, he respects the way Smino has moved over the years. The influence isn’t obvious in the music, but there’s a similarly charismatic, acrobatic delivery that J-Hop employs to cut through melodies and off-kilter production.

So far, J-Hop has been keeping things handcrafted and homegrown, but throughout Black Onyx there are flashes of self-assured brilliance and ambition that you don’t see often from an up-and-comer. All the tools are there, and even though J-Hop hasn’t done a lot of public speaking yet, the music makes it clear that he’s got a lot to say.—Jacob Moore

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Toronto native Ebhoni creates unabashedly honest music that could serve as the soundtrack to your night out or the playlist for your night in. The 21-year-old’s style, a fusion of dancehall and R&B, melds with her authentic lyrics to produce an interesting duality. Drawing on inspirations from her childhood in Weston Road, Toronto, finding love in LA, and inspirational muses like Lauryn Hill and Keyshia Cole, Ebhoni weaves personal stories into the layers of her music.

Her newest project, Good Dick and Weed, embodies this dichotomy. “I literally have two sides to me, my fun turn-up, feel-good side, which would be what I refer to as some good dick,” Ebhoni tells us. “Then I also have my other side, which is more chill and deep in my thoughts, the weed!”

The split is evident throughout the project. Bad bitch anthem “Rotation,” is about the carousel of needy men Ebhoni doesn’t have the time or energy for. Meanwhile, “True Say” brings introspection to the trials and tribulations of navigating love and its pitfalls. “Rep It” is the mold for the project, showing the badass energy Ebhoni possesses in the context of heartbreak. 

Taking on her own personal struggles and investing that emotion and energy into her art gives Good Dick & Weed its power. “At the time of creating it I was dealing with so many firsts and ALL were very hard for me,” Ebhoni explains. “My first time getting my heart truly broken and the humility that came with that, watching my grandma lose her life to cancer and trying to figure out how to even love who I was as a person. This project represents resilience to me. When I sit and listen to it now I feel like, ‘Damn, I AM strong.’”—Sabine Adorney



Washington D.C. artist dreamcastmoe says that his new EP is all about movement. He described a recent mix he made for Resident Advisor as, “Carpool with dreamcastmoe, picking up friends along the way,” and his new EP After All This has a similar feeling. As you cruise through the worlds of funk, soul, R&B, hip-hop, and electronica with dreamcastmoe as your driver, his music never loses its warmth and personality, a pleasant counterpoint to the lifeless, overproduced feeling of so much music today.

The singer, songwriter, producer, and rapper has been releasing music since 2016, but his 2020 EP Lamont and new release After All This, both released via In Real Life, feel like a step up. dreamcastmoe sounds more confident in his own voice, delivering subtle earworm melodies and clear messages about personal growth, self-love, and the joy of community.

“This is a piece dedicated to transition,” he says of After All This. “Moving away from all that no longer serves your best interests, all while strengthening and building on relationships and habits that establish a strong foundation. Over the last year, I sat alone at times wondering if I deserved more. Was I too afraid to love, too tense about life to actually enjoy it anymore? I had to ask myself “Which way are you going Davon?’ Instead of pushing away the best that life had to offer me, I decided to bet on myself.”—Alex Gardner

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The enigmatic New York rap collective SURF GANG has deservingly been gaining momentum through mosh pits at shows and an innovative new sound. Each individual member of SURF GANG is a rising star of their own accord but as a team, the collective is undeniable.


The group’s producers evilgiane, eera, tommytohotty, gonerprod, and harrison make a wide range of instrumentals, from grimy, psychedelic instrumentals to sample-heavy drill and plugg beats. This diversity of forward-thinking production complements the eccentric deliveries of the group’s vocalists babyxsosa, polo perks, caspr (formerly ppgcasper), bobainee, pasto flocco, moh baretta, jdn, and harto fallion. Each vocalist is instantly recognizable for their distinct tone the moment they appear on any track.


SURF GANG has 13 total members who appear on their recent project surf gang vol.1. Despite a large group of creatives, SURF GANG still shares one cohesive sound and clear vision for the project. The opener, “Cinderella,” is the perfect example of this shared wavelength, with babyxsosa, bobainee, moh baretta, and polo perks trading verses over the evilgiane instrumental. “2 Much Going On” is another highlight on the project with distinct chemistry between caspr and polo perks. 

Every member has their own standout moment on SGV1, while displaying massive potential. With high-energy, versatility, and a cult following, SURF GANG is just getting started.—Tyler Borland

Watch SURF GANG’s new video for “Woah” here and catch them at MoMA PS1 Warm Up in New York on August 7 and in LA on August 29 at 1720 E 16th S.



With a $40 mic and a wide-ranging mix of influences, Indiana’s midwxst has stepped squarely into the spotlight. midwxst first started building an audience through a handful of singles and frequent collaborations with other electronic pop genre-benders such as glaive and ericdoa. Like these artists, midwxst chooses glitchy, high-energy instrumentals paired with a melodic delivery. This sound is characterized best on his 2020 debut project, Secrets

Although Secrets is an impressive introduction, it felt like the precursor for something more ambitious. This came in the form of his SUMMER03 EP, which he released before graduating high school. The lead single “Trying” is midwxst at his best. Produced by Logan Cartwright, the production is a hard-hitting blend of electronic and hip hop. On “Trying,” midwxst is able to strike a perfect balance between catchy melodies and vulnerable storytelling. Other tracks on SUMMER03 such as “Liar” and “Smile” further cement midwxst as a standout from this growing underground scene.

Only a few months have passed since the release of SUMMER03, and midwxst is already back with more new music. The single “Ruthless” toes the line effortlessly between hip-hop and electronic while featuring one of midwxst’s catchiest performances to date. His most recent single, “Made It Back,” flexes his consistency and reaffirms this massive potential.

All signs point to midwxst crossing over to the mainstream soon, and there’s lots more music planned for 2021. “Music has always been a part of my life, so being able to use it as a way to relay my thoughts and make music that can be related to is super cool. We just getting started though,” midwxst tells us.—Tyler Borland



Earlier this month, T-Pain pointed out something that we’ve all been thinking: there’s too much same-sounding music right now. It’s always been the case—a style will become popular, and we’ll see thousands of artists rush in and try to capitalize off the sound of the moment. During a time when we’re getting tens of thousands of songs released every single day, this issue becomes obnoxiously obvious.

18-year-old New York artist Ché doesn’t sound like many teenaged artists making music in 2021, but it’s not even a deliberate move on his part. “I wouldn’t say I’m intentionally trying to avoid common sounds,” he says. “I just listen to a lot of different music and always aim to implement whatever I’m listening to into my own art. I think mixing up genres is super dope and every time I sit with a producer, I’m looking to create something fresh.”

Ché grew up wanting to be an author, and his storytelling instincts are a driving force in his music. Unlike so many newcomers looking to build with quick hit singles, he knew he’d kick off his career with the Ghost Log Cabin project, a concept he’s had in his mind since sixth grade. “I feel that if the music is pure and honest, you’ll see people react to it naturally. I’m more concerned with my theme and message being made clear than what song I’m leading with, or what my focus track is going to be. That’s all secondary.”

Without giving too much away, we’ll say that Ché’s Ghost Log Cabin is an album worth playing from front to back, but even if you jump in without context on a song like “Tiramisu,” there’s enough to sink your teeth into. He’s an agile rapper weaving with precision through dynamic, tightly wound beats, but it’s his way with words and his bigger picture point of view that makes this whole project worth a replay.—Jacob Moore

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Dirty Hit is one of London’s most respected indie labels, with a roster of artists that defies classification. Their latest signees are Lowertown, an Atlanta-based, DIY-obsessed duo made up of Olivia O and Avsha. They’re both recently graduated from high school, and are due to follow up 2020’s Honeycomb, Bedbug EP with The Gaping Mouth in September.

The title track is a rich, textural meditation led by Avsha’s acoustic guitar and Olivia’s haunting, pictorial vocals. “Sandbags I keep tied to my ankles to weigh me down / But comforting at the same time,” she sings just before a swell of bassy synths arrive. There’s an intensity and complexity to Lowertown’s music, despite their humble basement studio beginnings. These two are true creatives, incorporating all sorts of other artistic mediums into their music. And the music itself seems primed for a leap forward.

“This EP will be a mix of a lot of new and old sounds,” the band tells us. “It’s our first project made in a studio setting and with a producer working alongside us so it’s gonna be super leveled up from anything our listeners have heard before.”—Graham Corrigan

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Porsh Bet$


21-year-old Harlem native Porsh Bet$ is just getting started, but he’s already creating polished songs that bounce between alt-pop, rap, pop punk, and R&B. His songwriting, especially the hooks, is what’s most immediately impressive on songs like “Peanut Butter,” “Apple Eyes,” and “Whatever,” while the rest of his new EP I Used To Think Forever introduces us to other aspects of his versatility with the bilingual “Handle” and the hazy guitars of “November Rain.”

The EP was “influenced by my personal growing pains and journey to becoming more myself and open to expressing myself in different ways,” Porsh explained, and the process included a cross-country move to LA where he couch surfed for a year and ended up working with producer KoOoLkOjAk on the project.

With songs that sound like summer and a fun-filled visual world that’s being built with each video release, Porsh Bet$ is putting all the building blocks in place for a bright future.—Alex Gardner



For the sake of this feature, we use the term “new” very liberally. $ilkMoney isn’t really a new artist—the Richmond, VA rapper got his start with now defunct group Divine Council, he’s already collaborated with Tyler, The Creator, and even the song that’s currently taking off on TikTok is a couple of years old. 

But the time feels right for $ilkMoney, and his recent success with the 2019 song “My Potna Dem” got us digging back into everything he’s released. The conclusion: unlike some artists who find viral success on TikTok early on, it’s clear that $ilkMoney’s runaway hit isn’t a fluke. And instead of leaning into this moment, he’s already thinking about the next.

“I’m working on an album called IDGAFATRS,IJDUIDFLIA,” he says via email. “It’s coming very soon, and will be my greatest album yet. Each album is like a tablet, a message, a lore that continues and relates back to the previous body of work. The entirety of my catalog is a storyline, a score of my life.”

Similarly, he’s not too caught up in the Tyler connection: “Dude said he was a fan and wanted to work. So I did some songs with him. Nothing special at all.”

Aside from that, $ilkMoney has been into mycology (the study of fungi) and he says he’s not interested in music industry or the politics that come with it. Unconventional and eccentric in every sense of the word, things should get very interesting now that $ilkMoney has more eyes and ears on him than ever before.—Jacob Moore

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