Australia's best rappers in 2023: VV Pete, Srirachi   and Kahukx
© Supplied

20 Australian rappers blowing up in 2023

Meet the acts changing the face of Aussie hip-hop, rap and R&B.
By Katie Cunningham
13 min readUpdated on
Australia's hip-hop scene has never looked better. A new generation of artists have broken through, bringing with them politically-conscious rhymes that tackle race, home and heritage in vital ways. Today the local landscape is more diverse than ever before, spanning sounds from drill to dancehall.
So just who are the names leading the charge in 2023? In previous editorials, we’ve shouted out the established acts running things right now: 1300, Genesis Owusu, OneFour, Barkaa, Lisi, Youngn Lipz, A.Girl and more. But with so much bubbling up around the country, today we’re turning our attention to the fast-risers who’ve just broken through -- or are about to. While this list is mostly rappers, we’ve also included a few of the vocalists in R&B and hip-hop that we couldn’t ignore.
Some of them are a few years into the game, others just dropped their first single. They’re all incredibly talented and each bring something fresh and exciting to the scene. Dive in to get to know rappers who’ll be turning heads in 2023 and beyond.

VV Pete

Hometown: Sydney
Why they matter: “Them girls is frauds / Copies of VV Pete of course,” Mount Druitt’s newest rap sensation spits on her breakthrough track. It’s a line that will stick in your heads for days, from a song that makes a big first impression. Every element of Frauds is excellent, from the slick video to VV’s effortlessly cool delivery and the beats she spits over – an icy, minimalist production from Cassius Select and Utility.
Incredibly, Frauds is only VV Pete’s second track, released during the debut year of her music career. But it hasn’t taken long for VV – real name Veronica Peter – to start running things. Already, she’s picked up the FBi Radio SMAC Award for Next Big Thing and scored a sync on Netflix’s Heartbreak High with her first track, Bussit. We’ve zero doubt that VV Pete’s 2023 will be huge.
What to watch: Frauds, of course.


Hometown: Sydney
Why they matter: Nine million streams – that’s what Kahukx has clocked up on his 2022 smash single Due Time. The Sydney-based rapper is keeping the drill dream alive with his wildly popular releases, which he only began putting out last year. And he’s no one hit wonder – Kauhx followed up his breakthrough moment with another banger in Bonnie N Clyde, as well as appearing on Day1's big single MBappe. The best bit? He’s only 18-years-old, so this is just Kauhx on the warm-up.
What to watch: Due Time, if you haven’t already.


Hometown: Melbourne
Why they matter: Yes, we shouted out Mulalo in last year’s list of rappers to watch, but how could we not bring her back again for 2023? The Melbourne-based hip-hop act has continued to ascend at rapid pace over the past 12 months, ticking off wins like a huge set at Golden Plains, an absolutely no-holds-barred Red Bull 64 Bars and a trio of big 2022 singles.
The biggest among those new releases was Tracy Grimshaw, a two minute-40 second hit of perfectly-Australiana lines like “I’m Cathy Freeman while you’re sitting on the bench” and “ACA they talking ‘bout me / 60 Minutes they creepin’ on me.” With this much charm, charisma and talent, who wouldn’t be talking about Mulalo?
What to watch: Mulalo’s Red 64 Bars, which puts her unapologetic confidence front and centre. You love to see it.

3 min

Mulalo Red Bull 64 Bars

Australian Hip Hop artist Mulalo steps up in the booth for Red Bull 64 Bars


Hometown: Melbourne
Why they matter: Srirachi isn't just wildly talented, she also knows how to entertain. In her bars, the Melbourne rapper drops tongue-in-cheek rhymes about hook-ups and feeling herself. In her videos, she gets cinematic. And on TikTok – where she has over 300,000 followers – she posts very funny videos taking the piss out of herself.
After sharing a pair on-point singles in 2022 and gettin tapped for triple j’s Bars of Steel, Srirachi has kicked off 2023 with the banging new track El Nido. We're obsessed with everything she does, so pray she drops the music video soon.
What to watch: The tour-de-force that is U Want More Sir?.

Babyface Mal

Hometown: Melbourne
Why they matter: Babyface Mal began turning heads in 2021 when he signed with 66 Records, the Melbourne-based, African-owned label also home to acts like ECO$YSTEM. The 23-year-old came out firing with five singles in as many months, then followed that up with an even bigger 2022 that included the huge hit Ya Rab, which paired his trademark effortlessly cool, half-slurred delivery with propulsive Arabic drums.
Mal – who, a few years into things, is looking a little less baby-faced than when he began – has capitalised on that momentum by starting 2023 with a re-imagining of Ya Rab steered by Melbourne producer Willaris K as well as sharing the new single Bubblin Up. We can’t wait to see where he takes things in the rest of this year.
What to watch: Ya Rab, to see what all the fuss is about.


Hometown: Melbourne
Why they matter: Yes, this may be a list of ‘rappers’ to watch, but for Pania we’re willing to bend the rules. The Melbourne R&B sensation had a glittering breakout year in 2022 with her single Tiki, which went large and was followed by a 7-track debut EP that cemented her talent. Since then, Pania has started 2023 by supporting Kehlani in her hometown, locked in a headline show at Sydney Opera House with Vivid and continued to grow her huge streaming numbers with the new singles 'P STANDS 4 PLAYA' & '2Sides (freestyle)'. With a start this strong, there’s no limit to how high Pania can take things.
What to watch: The incredible Tiki.

Forest Claudette

Hometown: Melbourne
Why they matter: Few had a breakout 2022 like Forest Claudette. In one short year, the 23-year-old has risen to become one of Australia’s guaranteed next-big-things. It all began with the impossibly smooth debut single Creaming Soda, an incredible success that’s clocked over a million streams between Spotify and YouTube. Proving they’ve got plenty more in the tank, Forest Claudette (real name Kobe Hamilton-Reeves) quickly followed that up by traversing R&B, hip-hop, soul and pop with tracks like Hologram, Goodbye and Gone Without A Trace – all of which you’ve likely heard by now. Can’t wait to see what they do next.
What to watch: Creaming Soda, to see where it all began.

Baby Prince

Hometown: Brisbane via Zimbabwe
Why they matter: From Lisi to Nerve, there’s a lot of good stuff coming out of Brisbane right now. Another name for the Sunshine State to feel proud of is Baby Prince. The Harare-born, River City-based rapper has been quietly grinding away for a few years now, uploading his prolific output to SoundCloud.
Baby Prince had a big 2022, collaborating with Mason Dane on Pretty Pearl and clocking up a cool 300,000 streams on his single Zimbabwe. He’s starting 2023 strong with his Purple Rag Prince EP coming out through Warner Music. Based on the strength of his recent singles, we think Baby Prince is set for his biggest year yet.
What to watch: The three minute flex that is Zimbabwe.

Gold Fang

Hometown: Sydney via Trinidad
Why they matter: We first met Gold Fang when he collaborated with Big Skeez on Where Yuh From, a track that delivered an instant dopamine hit. It was the perfect introduction to the charisma and Caribbean lilt of the now-Sydney based artist, who moved here from Trinidad as a teenager. The NLV Records-signee delivered tracks like Big Natty Rasta and Wet last year, as well as charisma-dipped Red Bull 64 Bars. He’s come through with a pair of vibey new singles and a debut mixtape already in 2023, proving once again there’s no else making reggae this fun right now.
What to watch: Gold Fang’s Red Bull 64 Bars – the charm just radiates.

3 min

Gold Fang

Trinidad-born, Sydney-based Gold Fang lays down 64 bars, rhyming on a fresh track produced by Korky Buchek.

Teether and Kuya Neil

Hometown: Melbourne
Why they matter: Rapper Teether and producer Kuya Neil began collaborating in late 2020 and immediately started making music unlike anything else out there – by their own description, future-focused rap informed by club styles like footwork, bass and South Africa's gqom. The pair’s nine-track album Stressor is a wild journey that peaks with the incredible Reno, a track they’ve spotlighted as a single to kick off 2023. Experimental, exciting and bold.
What to watch: Reno, the perfect introduction to the duo’s sonic palette.

Jamaica Moana

Hometown: Sydney
Why they matter: If you’ve watched Netflix’s Heartbreak High, you’ll already be acquainted with Jamaica Moana. The rapper, songwriter, creative director and ballroom scene stalwart had a cameo in the unforgettable Mardi Gras episode of that smash TV show. But it’s not just on screen that Jamaica Moana is killing it – 2022 also saw the multi-talent drop the fierce single CYA and follow that up with a pair of hot collaborations, including the Stereogamous and Temgazi team-up Hermione. We’re feeling it.
What to watch: CYA, a bona fide banger.

The 046

Hometown: Sydney
Why they matter: We first heard from The 046 in 2019, when they dropped the hit track Run Run and quickly clocked up a cool three million views on YouTube. Then the group from South-West Sydney went on hiatus for a spell – but now they're back and better than ever.
The 046 – made up of two brothers, their cousin and their best mate – have been busy pioneering a funk-infused style of Australian hip-hop. After having big success in years past with tracks like Runnin Game and the Lisi collab Leave Me Alone, they’ve started 2023 strong with the single Keep It Different, which has already nabbed airplay on triple j. Now with a debut album on the way, the sky’s the limit.
What to watch: Keep it Different, to see how The 046 are doing it in 2023.


Hometown: Sydney
Why they matter: Nigerian-born, Campbelltown-raised rapper DSP has been making serious noise over the past year with tracks like NJ and Fall Back, which showcase his whip-fast flow and natural charisma. He’s the sort of rapper you can’t help but stop and pay attention to, so it’s no surprise he’s been getting a lot of love from Spotify and Apple Music. He even tapped Brisbane’s Day1 for a single and we’ve no doubt there’s more big collaborations in DSP’s very near future.
What to watch: Fall Back, which you’ll have on repeat in no time.

Zion Garcia

Hometown: Sydney
Why they matter: You may have heard Zion Garcia on Solly’s 2022 single Apply the Pressure, where he went hard over a propulsive beat. But we like the Western Sydney-bred talent even better when he’s taking things slow – weaving introspective bars over smooth, jazzy production on tracks like Overthinking.
Garcia’s a producer, filmmaker and writer as well as a rapper, so there’s no shortage of talent here. Couple that with his status as a tapped-in name in the Western Sydney cultural scene and we think he’s poised to make an impact this year.
What to watch: Prim Proper Freestyle, which puts Garcia's lyrical prowess and incredible flow front and centre.

Mali Jose

Hometown: Perth
Why they matter: After warming up with a few years of steady releases, Mali Jose unlocked a new level in 2022 with the big success of his Sunseeker EP, which gave us the tracks Interventions and Clouds. The Fremantle-based talent also spent the year kicking some live show goals, supporting Baker Boy on tour and taking the stage at Listen Out. Now after starting 2023 strong with the Kobie Dee collaboration NEVA THAT – and with a new EP arriving soon – we think Mali is poised to break all the way through this year.
What to watch: Interventions, the track that clocked up a quarter of a million Spotify streams.


Hometown: Sydney
Why they matter: Beatboxer, producer, actor, voice over artist and rapper BVT certainly has no shortage of talent. In song, the Sydney based artist – real name Bernie Van Tiel – creates music that speaks to the experience of living as a queer person of colour. Their whip-fast rhymes have earned them performance slots at Sissy Ball and WorldPride, as well as a spot touring with Haiku Hands. 2022 saw BVT drop their debut mixtape Lalaki, an urgent and stirring release. You might have also spotted Van Tiel in the new Amazon Prime series Class of 07, where they acted alongside the likes of Caitlin Stasey and Emily Browning. Talk about a quintuple threat.
What to watch: Lalaki, a song about finding strength in queer identity and reclaiming space.


Hometown: Northern NSW
Why they matter: For her debut single, Siala tackled a topic Australia needs to speak about more. On Blackout, she shared her experiences of growing up in a home with domestic violence – and fighting back against her mother’s abuser at age 15. It was a powerful introduction to the rapper and vocalist, made all the more impactful by production from Brisbane polymath Nerve. 2022 also saw Siala share the single Black Coffee, which put her strong flow front-and-centre. With a start this strong, you can bet 2023 will be a big one.
What to watch: Blackout, for an unforgettable introduction to Siala.


Hometown: Sydney
Why they matter: Sahxl started turning heads when he was just 18 and began putting out impressively polished singles like My Mind – as well popping up on unreleased Kid Laroi tracks (in a big endorsement, that globe-conquering rap star also described Sahxl's music as “dope”). But his path into music began even earlier, with Sahxl recording demos in his bedroom from age 12 and getting the attention of hit producer Khaled Rohaim at 13-years-old, who then began working with him on his sound.
Now only just out of his teens, it feels like the Western Sydney-bred talent is on the verge of breaking the big time. Last year he snagged a guest verse on Open Till 8’s Come Over Capsule EP and he has already kicked off 2023 with the new single Closure. Watch this space.
What to watch: The slick breakthrough hit My Mind.

And Beyond

Hometown: Perth
Why they matter: We love the Caribbean flavour to the music of And Beyond, who have quietly been at work on some Australia’s most exciting new music over in Perth. The hip-hop duo – comprising of rapper Insane the Prince and producer ZYTGYST – have put out a pair of strong singles in the last few months, both of which blend reggae and rap and show off Insane the Prince’s breakneck-speed flow. They’ve got a new EP coming in early 2023, which ought to do big things. Don’t sleep on And Beyond.
What to watch: The dark and dastardly Dungeons.


Hometown: North Coast NSW
Why they matter: You know JK-47 – now meet his brothers. East Coast Brotherhood – or ECB for short – is the rap duo made up of Chiggz and Nate G, siblings of that incredible local rap star. After a few years of building momentum, the brothers levelled up in 2022. As well as setting the booth ablaze for triple j’s Bars of Steel, they shared the singles ZIP! and Slime. Talent clearly runs in the family.
What to watch: Slime, their new one.

Part of this story

Red Bull 64 Bars Australia

Rapper and producer duos collaborate in a lyrical marathon where rhymes and the beat are all that matter.

1 Season · 7 episodes
View All Episodes