Crate Digging with the Tribune – Week 2

Here’s the Tribune’s recommendations for this month’s new and up and coming artists.


Artist: Carter Ace

Genre: R&B, Hip-Hop

As the popularity of R&B and hip-hop continues to take over the music industry, thousands of new artists are emerging, exploring different forms of the genre. Among them, Carter Ace has recently gained popularity over social media platforms like Tiktok and Instagram by promoting his hit singles. Being the son of both a musician and a dancer, Ace was exposed to the wonders of music at a young age and after becoming more fond of hip-hop, he began creating his own music, releasing his first song in 2015. Since then, he has gained over 200,000 listeners on Spotify, with his top song “I Think I’m Normal” having over ten million streams. The song displays a blend of upbeat hip-hop, soul, and even some punk, all coming together to form a masterpiece of exhilarating and vibey music. With a chill beat and a combination of catchy instruments, mainly the electric guitar, this song is undoubtedly one of his bests. On top of that, Ace’s vocal range bridges with the snappy instrumental beats and telling lyrics, creating an overall beautiful track. In fact, most of his songs dabble into a combination of hard rap and soft vocals, illustrating his immense talents in music production. Fundamentally, Carter Ace’s music is a feel-good set of songs that could soon be taking over the ever-changing music industry. 


Artist: Newjeans 

Genre: K-Pop

When it comes to the newest K-pop phenomenon, the five member girl group NewJeans will most definitely be mentioned. Unlike the usual format of pre-releasing clips of new songs on social media, NewJeans’ debut was completely unexpected. They had no prior teasers or announcements before they dropped their first music video, “Attention,” on July 22, 2022, yet they captured the attention of both K-pop and non K-pop fans from all over the world. Despite being a young group, they use their youth to their advantage, appealing to Generation Z with their refreshing Y2K concept. Their four-track debut album contains diverse melodies and unique sounds that depict multiple perspectives of young love. While the lyrics seem simple on the surface –  you got me looking for attention in “Attention” or  I’m not gonna be the one to get hurt  in “Hurt” –  there is a deeper meaning to them. As a group formed during a time where social media is prevalent more than ever, NewJeans illustrate the message of how our generation will do anything for attention in order to fit into society, both on or offline. To cope with these struggles, we turn to idols who give us feelings of happiness, love, and acceptance. At first it’s a good thing, as seen by the classmate dancing with the members in “Ditto,” however, fans eventually get so caught up in their fantasies that they often forget idols are only a temporary escape from reality. Continuing on with this idea, the storyline in “OMG” reflects how our generation is getting more and more attached to the media that is slowly consuming us. All in all, their concept is creative and colorful, incorporating simple yet fun elements into their music videos, focusing on messages to the youth, as opposed to the usual fast and flashy videos of other K-pop groups. Check them out to see what the hype is all about!


Artist: Joshua Milo

Genre: Japanese jazz fusion, funk

Joshua Milo is a German artist who specializes in Japanese jazz fusion, heavy inspiration from Nintendo game music and blending together jazz, soul, and funk. At age six, Milo picked up the piano and soon after, the saxophone. As an early teen, he began experimenting with music production, mixing different genres and styles of music together. Being the son of a flight attendant also exposed him to many areas and cultures of the world. Milo was especially fond of Japanese culture which would serve as one his biggest inspiration in music later on. Milo began gaining traction on Youtube with his videos which showcased his unorthodox ways of expressing music and experimentation. His unique pieces attracted many views and won him several remix contests on the platform. Along with these achievements, Milo has opened shows for Tom Jones, Bill Evans, Nils Landgren and played in the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam. His latest single, “SUPERHIGHWAY,” was released January 2023 and exemplifies Milo’s tasteful blend of Japanese jazz fusion.


Artist: Rocco

Genre: R&B, Indie pop

With the rise of smaller artists promoted in mainstream social media such as TikTok or Instagram, Rocco George, whose stage name is just Rocco, is undeniably an artist that has taken social media and the music community by storm. As an 18-year-old artist from Los Angeles, California, he pulls inspiration for his songs from teenage experiences of love and coming-of-age. He’s had a passion for music since he was young and ended up officially posting his music in 2020. Gaining over 100,000 TikTok followers in under a month from comedy skits to music covers, his passion for music is truly displayed in his work. With a quickly-growing fanbase, his potential for success in the music industry is inevitable. Clearly taking influence from artists like Luke Chiang, Grant Perez and Kali Uchis, his gentle melodies, symphonies and calming vocals are masterpieces to be savored. His most popular song, “spin you round,” has over 8 million streams and is a frequently used song on Tiktok with 18.7k videos. Without a doubt, this song is deserving of its popularity, with its sped-up, pitched vocals and chill instrumentals. The backing track, being a combination of electric guitar, drums and unique twinkle sounds, is a beat that I assure will linger. His newest single, “l-o-v-e”, features his soft vocals and vibey melodies. Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or enjoy some feel-good music, Rocco is unquestionably an artist to add to your playlist. I guarantee you’ll ‘l-o-v-e’ him!


Artists: FLO

Genre: R&B

Renée Downer, Jorja Douglas, and Stella Quaresma form the London-based trio FLO, who have made a name for themselves through their nostalgic R&B sounds. Their debut single “Cardboard Box” was released March 2022 and became a viral sensation due to its mixing of fresh, youthful energy with rhythms reminiscent of late 90’s and early 00’s R&B girl groups such as TLC and Destiny’s Child. After major music scenes became overpopulated with pop, hip hop, and the very recent viral TikTok songs, FLO’s debut sticks out as not only a girl group, which is a minority in mainstream western music, but as a R&B girl group. Composed of three women of color, FLO puts emphasis on empowering their listeners, especially other young women of color. In December 2022, they won the Rising Star Brits Award and BBC’s Sound of 2023. Bringing back old R&B sounds with the energy of Generation Z, FLO will undoubtedly pave an unprecedented path to the top of the music industry. 


Artist: León Cordero

Genre: Glitch Pop, Art Pop

A lot of underground artists may never find mainstream appeal. In part, that’s due to the nature of their music. South Asian Black Metal, Harsh Noise, these genres will simply never have the same reach as Pop or R&B. But León Cordero isn’t like most underground artists. No, Cordero is the real deal, and is about to take the world by storm. In fact, Cordero’s debut record, “Jueves,” is the most slept on album of the year. His vocals are an effervescent range of intimate, moody Latin R&B vocals mixed with glitchy and blistering production, resembling the likes of Rosalia and Charli XCX. Yet he distinguishes himself by sheer force, his voice simply holding one of the most radiant, precise presences out there today. No matter the track, he cuts through the chaotic production with his sexy and biting affect. On the production side, he embraces the eclectic, constantly shifting glitch pop overproduced aesthetics of PC Music to create a dizzying array of tracks focused only by his immaculate vocal performances. One moment Cordero will be pulsing airy, bubbly synths against the delicate, ethereal arpeggios echoing through a piano. The next, his tracks overwhelming you with blown-out, bone-rattlingly hollow drums and noisy, grimy guitars and field samples. And all of it orbits around his celestially magnetic vocal performance. At once, he is bombastic, intimate, devastating and heartbroken. He is the voice of a thousand emotions fluttering through his mind, captured into the momentary and earth-shattering experience of his music. León Cordero is truly unlike any other artist at the bleeding-edge of experimental pop, and deserves not only yours but all of the world’s attention towards his generational rise to stardom.