Holland Izz Shines on ‘Stay Sunny’

Everybody loves the sunshine, and Holland Izz does too. Of course, it’s not surprising; with the amount of enthusiasm, vibrancy, and blinding brightness he puts into his music, few metaphors could be more fitting. Last year he made a splash with the colorful Sunny Tapes Vol. 1, and now his latest summer release titled Stay Sunny picks up right where he left off, showcasing an exciting amount of growth in the process.

Where Holland Izz showed the willingness to try new sounds on Sunny Tapes Vol 1, he shows near mastery on the follow-up. The Compton-bred wizard has never lacked for creativity, and there’s plenty of it on Stay Sunny, weaving in and out of moods for an album that soundtracks every side of the summer. It gets off to a woozy start with “Numba One Stunna,” as Holland talks himself up even as he admits to losing his mind and being betrayed by those close to him. Still, his faith in himself never wavers, as he ends the song by repeating, “I’m out of my mind, I’m out of my own, I’m out of my business / Don’t be worried about my shit, I’m doing just fine.”

He carries this confidence for the rest of Stay Sunny, and it’s apparent not just by what he says, but by how he says it. Swooping ad-libs and inflections that stretch higher than Zion Williamson’s vertical make Holland Izz one of the most engaging artists in Los Angeles, adding layers of flavor that can make even the most non-descriptive lyric sound fresh. When “Classless” supplies him with production that’s as engaging as his vocal performance, it’s a lethal combination, bursting with energy for the most rousing song on the project. On down-tempo songs like “Do Wit It,” his presence is more than enough to keep things interesting, flipping between low warbles and high-pitched shrieks as if it was no harder than changing channels on the TV.

His most cutting songs arrive near the end, when he brings in the guitars to strum the heartstrings and bring it all home. A scratchy recording of two children squabbling at the start of “Penny Proud” sets a sentimental tone early, before Holland enters to spill his mind over melodic crooning from Moon. The outro “Rum Pum Pum” finds him setting aside the shit-talking for more encoraging lyrics, urging you to “Talk about it, be about it, little nigga, better get your stuff / You better strut your stuff.” 

For most of the tape, Holland positions himself as the unflinching underdog, with a chip on his shoulder and a fierce determination to reach his destined heights. He lets you in just close enough to understand his struggles and what he’s overcoming, but never enough to see him at his breaking point. “Neglect” is a prime example, doubling down on his resiliency as he proclaims “coming from the slums, pocket full of hundos … Check me, check who, check you, bitch / You’d feel this way if they neglected you, bitch.” 

There’s enough diversity on Stay Sunny to keep you coming back for more, while he wraps it up in less than 30 minutes to ensure he doesn’t overstay his welcome either. This one should be in rotation whether it’s sunny outside or not; even on the cloudiest of days, Holland’s zeal is sure to shine through.