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Montell2099’s New Zealand Artists You Need to Know

In honour of NZ Music Month, Rolling Stone AU/NZ asked Montell2099 to name just some of the local artists and producers who inspire him


Montell2099 thrives on collaboration. The visionary producer is a thrilling artist in his own right, but there’s always some stellar support waiting in the wings.

When he decided to traipse up The Remarkables mountain range to shoot a short film, Live From Lake Alta, a fiercely committed crew braved punishingly cold temperatures and treacherous paths to get him there. He’s previously worked with Netsky, RL Grime, Wilkinson, and many, many more to bring songs to life.

Just this month, he unveiled his first new material of 2023, the scintillating “Exodia”, which featured striking guest spots from Sydney vocalist XIRA and German producer Sublab. The bones of a great song were already there, but it was the guests that assisted in making it into an exhilarating electronic anthem.

So when Montell2099 talks favourably about another artist, you trust what he has to say; when it’s about an Aotearoa artist, you listen even closer.

The man from Katikati has proudly represented his country on the global stage for a while now – multiple short films have also immersed foreign viewers in this land’s beautiful landscapes – and he’s happily supported rising Kiwi producers at the same time.

That’s why it proved difficult for Montell2099 when Rolling Stone AU/NZ tasked him with shouting out some of his favourite local artists to celebrate NZ Music Month.

“Aotearoa’s full of so many dope artists and producers that have paved the way for artists like myself,” he says. “It’d be impossible to pay homage to every single one of them but here’s a list of just some of the artists and producers that have inspired me, as well as a couple of up-and-comers I think you should keep an eye out for.”

Check out Montell 2099’s selections below. “Exodia” is available to stream on all digital platforms here.


Smokey’s an OG in the game that I’ve always admired since I first started producing. He’s a name well-known amongst the Aotearoa hip hop community for his work with SWIDT and a plethora of established artists from the US like Kendrick Lamar and fellow TDE artist Jay Rock and more.

He’s a world-class producer that is one of the best at what he does, but he can also dibble dabble in other styles as well. Big shout out to Smokey.


Jordan Arts is one of the legends of the game. From his early works with Kids of 88, his solo project HIGH HØØPS to his work with the band LEISURE, the man has done it all.

His music to me is timeless. He dropped an album in 2018 called Seasons On Planet Earth and it’s a project I find myself coming back to at least a couple times a year. It’s a groovy masterpiece.

On top of all of this he’s a great guy as well. I feel like every time I bump into him I always walk away having learnt something. Much Love to Jordan.

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Jack (Laven) is someone who I’ve known for a while. It’s been dope to see his growth over the past few years and in that time discover a unique sound that he’s perfected. I can definitely say he’s incredibly talented and can dabble in other genres as well.

I love the grooves and pockets he finds, he’s so smooth with his rhythms and his melodies are top tier too. One of my favourite up-and-coming producers, he’s definitely one to watch over the next couple years. Big up ma man Jack.


10A is one of the OGs in the game. I’ve been a longtime supporter of his and he was a big inspiration for me when I first started getting into music production.

When I moved to Auckland in 2014, I used to go to these beat battle competitions and 10A would always win them. You can tell he’s someone that knows a lot about the craft and the art of producing music. He’s a world-class producer and has been from the jump. Big shout out to 10A.


EMWA is the bass queen of New Zealand. She’s an amazing DJ and producer and it’s been so cool to watch her rise here in New Zealand over the years. She’s someone that you can tell has put time into her craft and you can see that when she’s performing on stage and in her music.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Emma, I think she’s gonna be touring the world very soon and will be one to watch over the years. Much love to Em.