Southern California has been the epicenter for so much in the music world, producing countless incredible talents over the years. While the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Vince Staples have been on the top of the game for so long, it’s time to shed some light on some of the artists you must have on your radar this year.
Greg Aram and Zach Michel have built something special with Junior Varsity since forming in 2019. They signed a record deal with Warner after generating a massive online presence through their snippets, free concerts across the country dubbed “A Fucking Weekend,” and meticulously crafted content, all while having no songs out. Since then, they have released both their debut single “Cold Blood” which has generated over 2 million streams and their debut self titled EP which was one of my favorites of 2021. Oh, and also put a massive painting of a cow over the Hollywood sign.
“Weather,” featuring spill tab, is the perfect encapsulation of their ever growing DIY-rock influenced sound, while “Premade” displays their bedroom pop-esque ability. Everything they do is fairly unexpected, so we can only hope for new music to come in 2022.
Yet another duo paving ways in unconventional manners is Paris Texas. There’s too much to say about what they accomplished in their first year officially releasing music, accumulating in what would’ve been an opening act on BROCKAHMPTON’s tour. They created a series of short films to accompany their two projects in 2021 which are well worth the watch. I love artists who utilize various mediums, and Paris Texas are some of the best at it. Their debut album, BOY ANONYMOUS, is the perfect entrance to their sound, while the later released EP Red Hand Akimbo displayed tremendous strides after only 5 months, unifying their experimental sound more than ever before. The sky's the limit for where the new year will take them.
Joyce Wrice’s long awaited debut album, Overgrown, finally arrived early last year, and it delivered on every account. It’s perfect, showing off her voice in so many ways, highlighted by “Addicted.” My favorite track from the album is the groovy, upbeat “On One,” featuring Freddie Gibbs, which is also accompanied by an incredible music video. Gibbs is just one of the big name features across the project, which include the likes of Westside Gunn, UMI, and Lucky Daye, who Wrice will be opening for on tour this year. The bar is set high for what Joyce Wrice will do next, but there is no doubt that it will be even more amazing.
Although having stayed quiet for a while, Asha Imuno has been busy since his 2020 debut album Good News, a great introduction into what he’s capable of. It’s full of so many different sounds, from the beautiful display of his vocal range on “SWITCHES” to showing off his rapping ability on “WOODGRAIN” to the groovy “LATELY” featuring Alan Warhol, there is no sound that Asha Imuno shies away from. He is currently working on his sophomore album, alongside a new series, titled WAITINGROOM, with the first episode out now featuring a snippet of a new song. His 20,000 monthly listeners is sure to grow exponentially this year, and while we wait for new music you can keep up with his progress on his Instagram.
You may know ICECOLDBISHOP from his work with AG Club, Boldy James and the Alchemist, or Kembe X and Ab-Soul, but he’s ready to deliver as a solo artist this year after hinting at his debut album on Twitter. He has one of the most distinct voices out there, highlighted by the Kenny Beats produced “TRICK DADDY” which displays his variety of flows. My favorite verse of his is on AG Club’s “NOHO,” which is just such an incredible example of what his voice is capable of achieving, hitting a variety of ranges while showing off impeccable flows. This is just the beginning of something even bigger coming for ICECOLDBISHOP.