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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos



Image: Burrows CBR.

Ngunnawal/Canberra-based hip-hop artist Ike(from)Pluto is back with his new single, BRICKY SUNSHINE. To celebrate the release, the musician has shared with MILKY five emerging artists he thinks we should all be listening to.

"BRICKY SUNSHINE is the first song I created in full to break a year-long bout with writer's block," the musician shares. "After finishing my demo tape (like it's) stolen in July 2021, Ngunnawa/Canberra went into lockdown which completely derailed my creativity as I had a bad case of COVID, and then had no access to my normal routine of work, exercise, and socialising. The theme of 'BRICKY SUNSHINE' is seeing the light that breaks through the cracks in the wall, rather than at the end of the tunnel. Life always has little gems for me even in the worst of times, so I try to focus on those rather than the destination or what I don't have. The track itself is an exuberant delivery of bars about my obstacles and how I cope with them, dripping with thugged-out swagger from start to finish, almost a rapper's gallows laugh."

To celebrate the release, Ike(from)Pluto will perform a run of shows across his hometown of Ngunnawal/Canberra. Having already taken to the stage at Sideway and 5th Underground, the musician is set to appear at Hotbox Festival tomorrow, before playing at Gorman Arts Centre on November 26.

I want to preface these takes with the confession that I STRUGGLED to choose just 5 artists to cover. To make the process easier I didn’t allow myself to write about artists that I’ve made my acquaintance or hold a friendship with (except for one I couldn’t avoid) and forced myself to choose artists from 5 different (sub)genre spaces, but that still didn’t make it easy to choose just 5 up and coming artists from Australia’s abundantly talented music scene!


I first heard Brisbane-based Baby Prince in April this year at Factory Theatre where he was performing live for Èkó Festival. He immediately caught my eye before his music even started because his stage presence oozed swagger and a calm confidence that let me know he was well within his bag. Prince’s cadence reminded me of a lot of Gunna with hints of that iconic Lil Uzi Vert charm and even a personal favourite of mine, Isaiah Rashad, which along with his great diction made the audience “ohh” and “ah”, laugh and cheer when he delivered his punchlines and relatable bars such as ‘flew in from Zimbabwe, young black and Australian’ off his at the time unreleased single ‘Zimbabwe’. Along with Zimbabwe, Prince performed other soon-to-be-released bangers ‘Fall Thru’ and ‘Betty Crocker’, both of which boasted choruses that were so catchy, they left an imprint on my mind for months until their release. Baby Prince is definitely an artist I expected to climb many mountains both locally and internationally.


Since the age of 13 when I first started forming my own music taste independent of parents and peers, Neo-Soul has been the crutch of my highly introspective moments, with icons like Erykah Badu and D’Angelo regularly permeating my eardrums. I feel as though Sydney’s Ms. Thandi is the modern era’s answer to the legends and pioneers of Neo-Soul’s golden age. Equipped with a voice that effortlessly traverses octaves and gently kisses notes harmoniously intertwined with her consistently luscious instrumental choices, along with a sultry cadence that really FEELS like she’s singing directly into your ears and the ability to morph into a polished rap queen that can bar out with Sydney’s best, Thandi’s potential is limitless in the vast world of RnB. I personally felt Thandi’s first single of 2022 ‘You Could Be’, which she describes as being “a song about the love we deserve”, was massively slept on, ironically not receiving the love it DESERVED, however, Australia’s RnB fans seem to be making up for it now by spinning her newest release, equally amazing ‘Want It All’. Ms. Thandi has played the heartstrings of hopeless romantics on 5 single drops including her late 2019 debut ‘On The Table’ along with two bouncy collab tracks in ‘DEMONS’ with JONCE and ‘H.G.S’ with Arona Mane but is yet to release a project. Here’s to hoping 2023 will be the year all us lovers will receive a Ms. Thandi EP or Album!


Elsy is a Kenyan-born Adelaide native, whose vocal talents in both singing and rap combined with her bold, authentic production scream pioneer in the making! Elsy’s 2022 EP ‘Nilotic’ has found the sweet spot between her ethnic influences, and traditional and modern Hip Hop/ RnB conventions, something I feel most Afro-Australian artists find very elusive. Nilotic is incredibly polished for an artist of Wameyo’s stature, the songwriting, lyrical content, and production value allow it to stand out amongst peers in a similar genre space such as Sampa the Great and OSHUN. I was very impressed by the attention to detail in every aspect of the EP, every instrument, phrase and transition seem to have a specific purpose and provide emotional shifts that constantly move the listener with the music and narrative. The cover art itself amplifies the intent behind the art, with the blurring of the portrait forcing the listener to pay closer attention to the music rather than the voice behind it (I hope I’m not reaching for meaning in an English teacher-esque fashion with that take). I can say without exaggeration that I feel lucky to exist in the same era as an artist as exceptional as Elsy Wameyo.


Love has gotta be one of the most criminally underrated and underacknowledged artists in Melbourne. A member of the YKM collective, I first met Love and the entire YKM Topboyz crew at The Gasometer where we both featured on the Melbourne stop of Yibby’s ‘City2City Tour’ back in 2019. YKM exchanged @’s with the gvng and I soon came across Prince Love’s dreamy lo-fi ballads ‘Girl’ and ‘Bump’, instantly becoming a fan. When Love dropped ‘2 Birds’ in October 2020 (my favourite work of his but sadly his most recent), I remember being so impressed and in love with the track that I immediately took to Instagram to share the music video and tell anyone and everyone I knew about Love’s new jam. If you’re a fan of Steve Lacy, Sunni Colón or Stevan then you have got to listen to Prince Love!


If you’re an Afrobeats lover, you need to add Joanny’s music to your playlists. Located in Melbourne, the Nigerian-born singer/songwriter is the owner of a smooth, rich sound that feels expensive. Joanny is the type of artist you play while bossing up your lifestyle, falling in love with that person that checks every box for you or popping out in your absolute flyest fit. In an era where content is king, Joanny has consistently delivered riddims since 2018 which is difficult to accomplish in the competitive Melbourne music scene, with 2 EPs and a slew of singles on his catalogue, I’m sure this work ethic and tenacity will find him a prominent voice in Australia’s fast-growing Afro music scene.



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