Michael Christmas – “Ball” [Prod. Thelonious Martin & Aniko Thomas]

Michael Christmas – “Ball” [Prod. Thelonious Martin & Aniko Thomas]

By: Seamus Fay

Just a few weeks removed from the release of his warm-weathered anthem “Girlfriend” (which remains in heavy rotation on my personal playlist), Michael Christmas is back yet again on our pages with a brand new single, “Ball”, from his forthcoming LP, Role Model due for release June 22nd via Fool’s Gold. It’s the soundtrack to any glo-up, it’s an anthemic offering for everyone out there putting in work this summer, and above all, it’s a toast to the success that Christmas has seen as well as the success that he will see in the near future. As seen on the cover, this Boston native isn’t playing any games – he’s bringing the Jordan mentality to music, and by the sounds of the past few singles, it’s playing out wonderfully.

That being said, with production from Thelonious Martin and Aniko Thomas, this soulful take on success hits home for any listener out there with a dream. The melodies intertwine to present a hearty helping of authenticity and passion, only to be topped off with a jab at the Lakers (aside from a few select talents) whilst we continue to watch the Celtics roll through the playoffs. The weather is getting warmer, all is right in the world of Michael Christmas, and if I had to guess, this album will undoubtedly be his most accomplished work to date. Boston has a hell of a role model in our hands, so listen up, get inspired by his teachings, and most importantly, prepare yourself for a new project June 22nd.

Click play on “Ball” at the link below:

An Interview With RAMS

An Interview With RAMS

By: Seamus Fay

To make music and to be a creative, in general, is to make a promise of dedication; dedication to constantly improving one’s line of work and dedication to never compromise artistic vision. Few artists within the Boston music community exemplify this trait as well as RAMS. Whether it be writing songs, making clothes, or directing visuals, he always seems to have his hand on projects that work towards the end goal of improving as an artist, and in this way, it only follows that RAMS has grown into one of the most polished, sophisticated artistic minds in the area.

He’s been a noteworthy figure in Boston dating all the way back to the very roots of the current scene, and we here at Graduation Music had the opportunity to talk to the Dorchester native about a variety of topics pertaining to his hometown, JMP, “Diablo”, NSFW, Cam’ron, and much more. Read our conversation below.


Where are you originally from?

I’m from Boston – Dorchester. Columbia Road, to be specific. My family is from New Orleans and I used to live down there when I was super young for a short period.

What was your childhood like and where did music first come into the picture?

My childhood was pretty similar to anyone who grew up in the hood with a single mother, I think. I just always remember my mother constantly feeding me knowledge and creating such a great home environment – sometimes it didn’t feel like we were fucked up and I’m super grateful for that. Music has always been around me because of her as well, since forever.

What artists were you influenced by as a kid and why?

I would say I was influenced a lot by artists like Sade, Erykah Badu, Luther Vandross, etc. That stuff pretty much came from my mother, but one day my sister had given me all her old CDs so I started to really get into Tupac, 112, Nas & artists like that. I also went to a school with a lot of Hispanics so I was super into reggaeton too.

How did Diablo come together and what does that project mean to you? How about ‘Fear & Loathing’?

DIABLO came together pretty organically. I like to put out conceptual projects rather than singles all the time. That project means a lot to me. Everything I make is like a child of mine.

Fear & Loathing holds a special place in my heart because I feel like that was sorta the blueprint of my overall sound. [It] showed myself and others that you can make more out-of-the-box stuff. People from all over tell me how much they love that project. I love inspiring people in any way I can.

What did it mean to you seeing the Diablo Racing Club shirt in Vogue?

Shout Out to my brother Rah. It was dope! It was just some street style shit but it was still dope to me. Like damn, we did that, lol!

What is your creative process when writing treatments or making music?

Well, first things first, I have to be in my zone. I don’t have an exact process, believe it or not. My mind is just super random so things usually pop up randomly then I just make sure to get it out. Sometimes its hard to force myself to create if the right energy isn’t there.

Lately, we have seen you doing a lot of work with JMP. When did you first meet him and how has your working relationship evolved and come together?

I met JMP in like 2012. That’s my brother so I wouldn’t say we really have a working relationship. It’s definitely more of a friendship first. I appreciate him a lot for giving me the opportunity to showcase my creativity in other fields. I look up to all my friends. They all inspire me more than they know.

How did the Cam’Ron opportunity come about? How did it feel seeing your name on a music video from such a cultural icon?

Well, actually that was kinda random. I had just written like 3 Playboi Carti videos at the time (they didn’t get made) and told one of my close friends, Pat. Pat was working at the label that Killa is on, and was like “Oh shit Rams, I didn’t know you were writing videos! Wanna write one for Cam?” And of course, I said fuck yea. That’s the first video that I did that came out and it was Cam’ron. That’s so crazy to me. 

Me and Cam had a long convo on set and he basically said that he fucked with me and what I’m tryna do. After hearing that, it was lit. I made sure to put a lot of people from Boston in it too, just cause. So yea, shout out Cam, Pat, & Cinematic Records.

Why did you relocate from Boston to New York? How do the two cities compare?

Cause I needed a change. I was doing the same things over and over again. Kind of felt trapped. And it’s so easy to have done everything in Boston. Sometimes you need new land to conquer, and they are just two very different cities. The comparisons would take all day. Love both cities but Boston will always be home. 4L.

Being around when Boston’s “new” music scene was first forming, what are your thoughts on the way it has grown and the success of artists like Cousin Stizz and Michael Christmas, for example?

We were the cool, new, young faces so it gave the city a brand new energy. We still need a lot of help in the city. Years of hidden racism and venues not wanting anything to do with hip-hop acts have really hurt the music scene for young black kids that are trying to get into music and that needs to change. I hate it. We have a long way to go.

With that being said, there are a lot of kids doing dope shit and taking things into their own hands, and I love seeing that. Stizz and Xmas popping off is great cause now the doors open. More importantly, they are able to provide more for their families and where we come from – that’s what matters the most.

What can fans expect from you and the NSFW family in 2018?

Everything. We are just gonna start hitting people over the head with great art. Keeping it raw, real, and genuine. I have visuals and videos I’ve directed coming out soon, too. I’m dropping an EP called CHOKE very soon. Then the next album, Fear & Loathing 2.


Connect with RAMS on:

Twitter

Instagram

SoundCloud

NSFW

SuperSmashBroz – “U Thought” ft. Polo $ummers & Gio Dee

SuperSmashBroz – “U Thought” ft. Polo $ummers & Gio Dee

By: Seamus Fay

Pertaining to the Massachusetts music community, one of 2017’s standout events was when the SuperSmashBroz blessed us all with their compilation mixtape, Family Cookout. Featuring music from an abundance of talents from the area as well as a number of highly-anticipated collaborations, this tape showed us all just how “for the city” the brotherly DJ duo really is, as they continue to represent their city in the best light possible. Today, they revisit this family affair with a set of comprehensive visuals for one of the standout tracks from the project, “U Thought” featuring frequent collaborators and fellow dynamic duo, Polo $ummers and Gio Dee.

Produced by Lil Rich and Dreaveli, the song itself kicks off the energy on an electrifying note, giving fans ample reason to put their faith behind the Boston-born collaboration and even more reason to keep “U Thought” on repeat all summer long. The visuals put this warm-weathered, ambitious feeling on a pedestal, taking to barbershop scenery to show the fans a familiar background where $ummers and Dee can show off their signature, charismatic flows in an environment that fits the sonic background of the song. “U Thought” is the first step into what will undoubtedly be a huge summer for the SuperSmashBroz, so be sure not to sleep.

Click play on the new visuals at the link below and catch the SuperSmashBroz and Gio Dee at the Great Scott on June 6th (via Fresh Out The Mint)!

Shot by: BarhamMedia
Directed by: NomaNomz
Edited by: Curwyn Henry

cWave$ – ‘Loading…’ [Mixtape]

cWave$ – ‘Loading…’ [Mixtape]

By: Seamus Fay

Here at Graduation Music, cWave$ has been on our radar as one of the eccentric, promising young artists in the Boston area. His music never fails to impress as both hypnotic and dense in the aesthetics that it brings to the light, and in this way, his catalog has grown to become one of the best-kept secrets in the area. Today, cWave$ is here to prove his prowess with yet another spectacular new release – a mixtape by the name of Loading…  featuring stellar guest spots from Stripes III and Dex LaMurda as well as an abundance of atmospheric production to light the way.

As the title entails, this rising talent’s artistry always seems to be growing and developing, and no body of work could prove this fact better than the 10 tracks that his newest offering brings to the spotlight. No moment is anything short of entertaining, sticking to cWave$’ unapologetic personality which he communicates over the mic with seamless skill. I could go about this project all day, but the fact of the matter is that the music speaks for itself on this one. Be sure not to sleep on cWave$ and his strong new release, Loading….

Click play at the link below and enjoy:

Swooli – “240,000” [Prod. Eris]

Swooli – “240,000” [Prod. Eris]

By: Seamus Fay

If you’ve been following us on Graduation Music for some time now, “Swooli” is a name that you have undoubtedly stumbled across at least once or twice. Even if you haven’t heard of him, today is the perfect day for an introduction, as this Boston talent is here on our pages to deliver his latest offering, a single entitled “240,000”. Acting as the perfect testament to the songwriting and vocal styles that set Swooli apart from the pack, this track tells you everything you need to know about the young talent, all packaged within about 3 minutes of smooth sounds and infectious verses.

“240,000” is produced by none other than Eris, and fitting in with the atmospheric themes featured in the song, the instrumental of this one plays on the hypnotic effects of Swooli’s vocals with a complementary touch. The artist-producer chemistry is on full display here, and by taking this sound and enhancing it with his own stylistic choices, the Boston singer shows us that he’s ready to get his sound out there, and deservedly so. This is yet another solid single to add to a string of well-rounded releases for Swooli, so be sure not to sleep.

Listen to “240,000” at the link below:

Artwork: Malik Carter
Mixed: Robie Rowland

KH Lyor – ‘M5’ [EP]

KH Lyor – ‘M5’ [EP]

By: Seamus Fay

The last time we heard from KH Lyor, it was with his anthemic offering, “Smoke At The Party” – a single which has undoubtedly stuck in our heads here at Graduation Music as a standout release in recent months. Today, he continues the theme of creating warm-weathered soundtracks to life with a brand new, 2-track EP entitled M5. Consisting of “GO!” and “Sunday Morning”, the latest from the KH representative may be short in length, but before we delve further into this one, it must be understood that it lives on and lengthens its impact through the genuine creation of a summer-minded aesthetic. M5 is ready to take over our playlists, and thankfully so.

That being said, when you dig a little deeper, the prowess of this EP is only natural considering the production credits from Niaggi and Christian Yoon – two names that have hit our pages plenty of times as hit machines in and of themselves. Additionally, the song “Sunday Morning” takes to guest spots from KH Belo and WayUp Rui, and all in all, every name featured on the short project alongside KH Lyor absolutely kills it in their respective roles. This EP is a showcase of raw talent in its finest form, and with that, it’s no wonder that M5 is about to do some serious numbers this summer. The weather is warming up, the stocks are rising for the KH team, and now, we have the soundtrack to the moment.

Listen to KH Lyor’s latest at the link below:

 

NOTSAFE FORWORK – “Sandman” ft. Rams, Donald Grunge, Cave

NOTSAFE FORWORK – “Sandman” ft. Rams, Donald Grunge, Cave

By: Seamus Fay

If you’ve been tapped into the Boston music community in recent months, the group name “NSFW” has undoubtedly surfaced right in front of your eyes at least once or twice. Encapsulating a number of unbelievable talents from the area such as Rams, Donald Gunge, Cave, and Maka, this collective of rising artists holds the firepower to do some serious damage, just as shown in their debut single as a group, “Sandman”, which came out just yesterday. Sometimes putting all your chips into one bet isn’t the best idea, but when you throw these all-stars on one track together, it most certainly is a fantastic idea, equipped with a seamless chemistry that already shows through in their first offering.

That being said, “Sandman” immediately forms its identity by way of key-led production courtesy of Maka, only to clash against electrifying verses from Rams, Grunge, and Cave to follow. Each artist follows right after the last, not just adding to the excitement but also bringing it to the next level, and in this way, I believe that “Sandman” is an early indication of the heat that NSFW, or NOTSAFE FORWORK, has on the way for us. I’ve been a fan of the individual talents contained within the group for quite some time in their solo careers, so seeing them come together feels like a full circle moment that nobody will be forgetting about anytime soon.

Listen to “Sandman” below and experience that sky-high potential that NSFW is bringing to the table.