Tomorrow’s Five: Sugarhill Ddot, sign crushes motorist, Saint Harison, Jey One, and Lijay

This bi-weekly column highlights emerging artists using a combination of Chartmetric data and music experts' knowledge.

Tomorrow’s Five: Sugarhill Ddot, sign crushes motorist, Saint Harison, Jey One, and Lijay
Third Bridge Creative
Third Bridge Creative
July 13, 20235 min read
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By Colin Joyce, Kemet High, and Leah Mandel of Third Bridge Creative

This week, our column spotlighting artists that you’ll be hearing more from very soon features a rising Harlem rapper, a surprisingly popular slowcore artist, a young R&B singer with a keen sense of history, a breaking dembow singer, and a new rapper who brings to mind an earlier era of SoundCloud rap.

Sugarhill Ddot

Chartmetric Artist Rank: 6,576

Genre: Hip-Hop/ Rap

Country: U.S.

Fifteen-year-old Sugarhill Ddot has been dominating Harlem’s diss-heavy drill scene, with a scrappy flow rapped over sample-laden beats. Though Ddot has yet to release a full project, the rapper is finding success on TikTok with tracks like “I Wanna Love You,” “Evil Twins, Pt. 2,” and “Let Ha Go” (produced by popular Jersey club producer MCVertt). The talented teen has seen significant growth on Spotify, jumping from 100k monthly listeners to over 500k since December and has been featured on popular playlists like Most Necessary and State of Mind. In June, he hopped on “Spinnin” alongside Newark’s BBG Steppaa, only building more anticipation for his next project.

sign crushes motorist

Chartmetric Artist Rank: 3,190

Genre: Alternative

Country: Ireland

Liam McCay has released music under many different names, but the heavy-hearted lyricism of his sign crushes motorists project is his most popular. On June 30, the slowcore artist released the album Hurting, catapulting his Chartmetric artist rank from the top 10,000 artists to the top 5,000 in less than a week. Moody in the vein of Salvia Plath and Duster, McCay’s drowsy lo-fi tracks have garnered millions of streams. Only one song from 2022’s i’ll be okay falls below 1M streams, while the best performing track, “Better,” currently has over 8M. With little press coverage, the young Irish songwriter is finding success on apps like Spotify and TikTok: his monthly listeners have increased by over a million since the start of the year and his music can be found on many prominent playlists (like All New Indie, Spooky, and undercurrents), while #signcrushesmotorist has 20.5m views on TikTok.

Saint Harison

Chartmetric Artist Rank: 15,692

Genre: R&B/Soul

Country: U.K.

This Southampton-born singer/songwriter found his way into songwriting through the vocal pop legends he grew up listening to as a kid, like Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, and Adele. It shows in his moody, yet virtuosic music, which draws on R&B, jazz, and classic pop music to transmute pain and introspection into powerful, uplifting music. He originally went viral in 2020 on TikTok with a cover of Jasmine Sullivan’s “Pick Up Your Feelings,” but he’s currently on the rise again thanks to the success of his new single “ego talkin,” which he recently performed on the tastemaking YouTube channel COLORSxSTUDIOS in a video that now sits at 1.3m views. The track is also popular on TikTok, where it has been used in over 2,000 videos since its mid-May release. His tracks also appear on popular editorial playlists like Chilled R&B, Channel-X, and idk, which have helped power him to over 735k monthly listeners on Spotify.

Jey One

Chartmetric Artist Rank: 1,368

Genre: Latin Hip-Hop/Rap

Country: Dominican Republic

The high-energy Dominican genre known as dembow has been having a global moment over the last few years and Jey One, a 22-year-old rapper from Santo Domingo, is the scene’s latest rising star. Powered by cosigns from some of the genre’s most popular acts like Yomel El Meloso, Bulova, and Chimbala, Jey’s ascent has been dramatic—with tracks like “Socorro” and “Gemelo” garnering millions of streams on Spotify. “Onana” is proving to be his big breakout, thanks in part to its wide reach on TikTok, where it’s been used in nearly 320k videos since being released this May. This viral success has led to his placement on popular playlists for the genre like Dembow Pegao. Time will tell if he’s able to attain the international success of the scene’s biggest stars like El Alfa, but he seems well on his way.


Chartmetric Artist Rank: 6,441

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Country: U.S.

Lijay’s style is reminiscent of the 2010s SoundCloud rap era of heavily computerized and animated beats. The recent high school grad has capitalized on an ingenious marketing formula: riffing on famous imagery and sayings adding the word “Freak,” like “live laugh love freaks,” and “i love freaks.” The “I love NY” logo designed by Milton Glaser inspired the artwork for the latter, which has been used in over 117k TikToks and has 5.1m views on YouTube. With additional placements on playlists like Internet People and Most Necessary, Lijay is establishing a carefree community of fans that make up his 2.56m monthly Spotify listeners, while still only having released 7 singles.

The Method: Never Underestimate the Power of Tastemakers

Since the advent of streaming, it’s been easier than ever for regular listeners and fans to decide the trajectory of popular music. And while some may argue that the traditional mechanisms of music gatekeeping—the critics, publicists, and radio promoters of the world—is on the decline, it’s important to remember that tastemakers are still around and are as influential as ever. We know about the popularity of editorially-curated playlists led by DSPs (covered in an Tomorrow’s Five article from April), but listeners also value direction from independent curators, as seen from the massive rise of Saint Harison’s live performance of “ego talkin” on COLORSxSTUDIOS. In comparing the COLORS version of “ego talkin” to Saint Harison’s original single, it’s easy to see the power of tastemaking first hand: COLORS’ take on the song has its counterpart beat in Spotify streams, TikTok videos, and YouTube views.

The next time you find yourself uninspired while looking at another iteration of Today’s Top Hits, see what’s popular on smaller, but no less changemaking corners of the curation space: browse through a COLORS-branded playlist, or for a more inventive deep dive, search through Chartmetric’s database of independently curated playlists by filtering the playlist view. You might be surprised with what you find.

Portions of this are included in Sound Signal, a bi-weekly newsletter from Third Bridge Creative. Sign up here.

Graphics by Nicki Camberg and cover image by Crasianne Tirado.