2022 In Review: Day 13 – Rookie Artist of the Year

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2022 In Review

1. Introduction + Best Album Art
2. Song of the Year
3. Album of the Year
4. R&B and Soul
5. Rock and Alternative
6. Rap and Hip-hop
7. Dance and Electronic
8. Pop and Ballad
9. Folk and Country
10. Jazz and Blues
11. Crossover and World
12. Best Collaborative Work
13. Rookie Artist of the Year
14. Artist of the Year
15. Other Recognition
16. Concluding Remarks

Given the fact that rookie artists tend to be, you know, new, our Rookie Artist of the Year picks seldom have any relation to each other. 2022 is the first exception, as the top two picks are producer and produced-for; this was only made possible because the producer, despite having been around for years, hadn’t ever released anything as the primary artist until 2022.

  • To be considered as a rookie, an artist or group must have released their first album (EP or LP) no earlier than December 1, 2021. They are allowed to have released singles prior to that.
  • Work done in compilation albums, audition shows, soundtracks, and featured performances are not disqualifying: We only count full-fledged singles/albums carrying the artist’s billing.
  • Group and band members who debut solo, or form new groups without any actual debuts, are not considered rookies outside of exceptional circumstances.
  • The “Next 10” and Honorable Mentions are in alphabetical order.

Rookie Artist of the Year 2022

For LP 뽕 (Ppong); single “Bang Bus”; and production credits with NewJeans

We’ve discussed the seminal importance of 250’s debut album on Day 7 already, so let’s talk about something else. Arguably the most commercially successful idol producer of the year also owned arguably the most critically acclaimed album of the year. It’s hard to imagine that “Hype Boy” will meet “Give Me” straight-up (though maybe that’s not as far-fetched as we think), but we did learn the tenaciously exploratory spirit of Ppong and the effusive elegance of New Jeans meet in one man. Does he bring it all back to his hip-hop home ground or his DJing roots next? Whatever happens, 2022 saw the birth of the next superstar producer.

The Runner-Up

For EP New Jeans

As Hybe associates NewJeans were certainly no kind of underdogs, but the relatively bright nature of their debut also could have made it harder to stand out. Yet they made the strongest impression out of this historic girl group cohort, and I think it’s because their music was just familiar and unfamiliar enough. We’re in the 2022 series so I can only talk about the New Jeans EP, but even just there, “Attention”‘s scattering sound was nostalgic (in many ways similar to E Sens’ “Back in Time” beat), and “Hype Boy” had a mysterious edge while invoking tropes of decades-past R&B. Ubiquitous yet nowhere tangible. Timeless yet unmoored in time. This was the kind of group that, out of some intuition, just felt like they belong to a new generation.

The Next 10

Heo Hoy-kyung
For LP Memoirs and singles “그렇게 살아가는 것 (So Life Goes On)”, “Baby, 나를 (Hug Me Tight)”, “사랑 속엔 언제나 (Our Forgiveness)”

For singles “Eleven”, “Love Dive”, and “After Like”

Kim Pureum
For EP 16; single “꿈이었기에 더 슬펐던 꿈 (Dream That Can Never Be)”; and compilation work with Stars Awakening

Kwon So-jeong
For EP 아름답고 무모하게 (Recklessly but Beautifully) and single “숲 (Forest)”

Lee Jung-in
For EP 나의 정체 (My Stagnation)

For EP Rainbow Season

For EP Love; single “Braindead”; production credits with Big Naughty and Be’o; and numerous project singles

Son Moeun Project
For LP Intérieurs

For LP 1969년의 청년 (A Youth in 1969)

For LP 1집이 아닙니다 (This Is the 0th Album)

Honorable Mentions

Asian Boys, Crying
Fifty Fifty
Gwak Tae-poong
Gwon So-man
Le Sserafim
Mooneik and Jiyeon
Ryu Jeoung-woon
Scorched Evrth
Shin Yun-su
Song Eun-chae
Song Soo-woo
Soony Cosmos
The Williams
Van Siian
Yoon Sai-han

Lyric translations by author. Artist profile and album cover images from Bugs Music.

Read our past series:

2021 In Review

2020 In Review

2019 In Review

2018 In Review

2017 In Review

2016 In Review

2015 In Review

2014 In Review

2013 In Review

2012 In Review