The Time is Now: An Interview With Valley and KorHef

By: Seamus Fay

Life is funny. As humans, we naturally take things for granted, with one of our most under-appreciated assets being that of time. From a young age, we’re constantly told that we have decades upon decades in front of us, but the truth is, whether one has many years ahead or not, life is short and more importantly, it’s not guaranteed.

Being that life isn’t guaranteed, it’s only sensible to say that procrastination isn’t worth it. If tomorrow isn’t promised, then why wait? Why push our dreams down the line when in reality, the further we push these dreams out, the less likely they are to get accomplished?

Asking themselves many of these same questions, Boston artists Valley and KorHef are here today for an interview ahead of Valley’s forthcoming debut mixtape. 

Having turned heads around the city for a few years at this point, Valley’s slow-burning come-up has been best characterized by infrequent releases and a keen sense of individuality. Simply put, no one in the city sounds quite like the Dorchester native, and now paired with producers KorHef and Stoop Kid for his debut project, Valley is roaring with the creative ambition and motivation to make a profound mark on the city’s music scene with his formal introduction. However, as many fans have taken note, this full-circle moment in Valley’s rise may seem quite sudden.

Born out of tragedy, the release of the project was actually pushed far ahead of schedule due to the untimely and deeply unfortunate loss of Corey “Flee” Thompson. Beloved by music and fashion communities in Boston and beyond, Corey’s passing acted as a wake-up call for Valley, KorHef, and countless other creatives, reminding them that if they’re going to make their mark, the time is now — but more on that later.

Below is a conversation I was fortunate enough to have with Valley and KorHef about the creation of the project, their collective headspace amidst such a tough loss for the city, and so much more.

Thank you to Valley and Kor for taking the time. 

Rest in peace to Flee and thank you to a young legend for all of the early encouragement in regards to Graduation Music. The city wouldn’t be where it is without Corey’s inspiring presence, long-term vision, and ahead-of-the-curve style. 

And just as a reminder — reach out to your loved ones and let them know that you appreciate them. Tomorrow’s not promised, so let’s enjoy and make the most of today.


How did you and Kor start working together in the first place?

Valley: To be honest, when Kor first started making beats, he always wanted to work with me, so I kept telling him, “yo — you gotta get a little better and work on your craft some more.” And Corey was always the one that was right there to be back that up and tell Kor, “man, keep working, keep working.”

At the time, I was getting beats from [Dreaveli] and Stoop Kid, so I was already situated with the producers. Mind you, though, Dre and Stoop had also been helping Kor with his beats. A couple months went by, bro was playing me some new shit from Kor, and I said, “wait a minute — this is Kor?” [Dreaveli] was like, “yeah, this n***a been working on beats every day — and I knew that wasn’t cap because that’s the person that Kor is, you feel me? He’s very determined on anything he wants to do.

From there, I started hearing more beats from him and hit him like, “yo, we definitely gotta tap in.” At the time, though, I was still working with Stoop heavy, and me and Stoop were actually going to put out a tape. I fell back from it, though, because I still wanted to go deeper into my craft. I took that time to link with Kor and we just started going crazy.

KorHef: I got in contact with Valley through Corey — just being around Corey and knowing that Valley did music. Then one day, we got up and started working on music together. Ever since then, the chemistry just kept getting built up and it’s still building right now. I found out about Valley in like 2010, but I’ve only been making beats for about three years now, so that’s when we started working.

Also, coming up as a drummer, I just have a different ear for music. When I would hear different sounds, I would call up bro and be like, “oh, this is it,” you feel me? So by the time we would link up, [Valley] could just start writing and we’d be ready to go. And we’d be on that type of shit all the time.

What was going on before music? What made you want to take it more seriously?

Valley: Mainly based on how I would dress, people would always be like “oh, you like a rapper,” and to me, I was cool with all the rappers — Cousin Stizz, Mikey Christmas, OG Swaggerdick… This was around that era when they were still on the rise. I was in the back just bussin’ plays with all the bitches, doing fly shit and really whatever I could do. At the time, I was also fucking with some other artists from the city. Through them, I was involved with the forefront of the scene, but I was still that fly n***a in the back. 

At some point while they were doing their thing, I just split because I didn’t like the direction they were going in at the time — it wasn’t the music I was trying get behind and stand on, so I stopped. 

Then my boy died. He was always tryna rap but I was never on no rap shit. I probably did a couple freestyles here and there just to fuck with the game, but I was never serious about that shit until he died. After that, I took time to figure out what I wanted to do in life and then, I decided to take a spin with the music thing. Still, though, at the time, I was doing mad shit in the street, just not focusing. That changed over time, though.

KorHef: I’m from a music family. I was originally a drummer and a percussionist, so I played in churches and stuff like that. I didn’t finish college, so after that, I made my decision to become a producer and decided to learn as much as I could. I just ran with it and created my own sound.

Valley, how did it feel when your debut release, “Landed,” came out and the city started to show love right away?

Valley: When I did “Landed,” I was in the moment with life and everything, so I really just painted a picture of what was going on. I feel like the city was fucking with it because it wasn’t something they had seen before. 

I felt like that was a little gift to the city in a lot of ways — it was never something that I really wanted to set ears on, though — that was an in-the-moment flow. When I first did that shit, I was like, “oh this how we going in on ‘em — they think this is how I’m coming, but this really isn’t how I’m coming. That was basically the whole mindfuck in the beginning of it all. I still get hit up to this day about the video, no cap.

That really introduced people to the idea of how different your style was, too.

Valley: Exactly. Music is a lot like when I put on clothes, honestly, because it’s such an aesthetic. When I put on clothes, I just want every piece to be hitting, so how I do it, I definitely go outside the box. 

I’m talented, myself, so I’m always challenging the ear that’s listening. If you wanted to walk in my path, always do it different and then get better because there are a thousand ways to do this shit. With the music, it’s dope because even though it’s light, you can really feel that shit. 

When I make music, I want to make it seem like I’m gliding. But then, the other side of it is that I want to make people really feel my shit. You never really know what side you might get — it could be the side you know about or the side you really don’t know too much about.

Right now, at least in my opinion, it feels as though Boston music is on the verge of a tipping point. Do you guys feel the same way?

Valley: Yeah, coming from last year and seeing where shit is at now, I definitely feel like there are a lot of things bubbling up and coming to their peaking point. It’s definitely there — it’s definitely the right time to lay claim.

KorHef: Definitely yeah, with summertime and all that.

With that in mind, how did Corey’s passing influence the decision to release the project so soon?

Valley: I’m going to be honest with you, we weren’t even thinking about dropping. In the past, though, Corey was always saying that he wanted me to drop a tape. I’ve always been hearing from Corey, “bro, drop a tape, drop a tape, what are you waiting for?” And I always just felt like n****s wasn’t ready — that was just me in my head. 

So when this shit happened, I just told Kor, “yo this shit needs to happen now — for Flee.” Because now, I don’t get to hear that anymore and looking back, I realize I should have been listened to Corey and seen what could have happened if I did. Maybe this shit would have never happened and maybe we would be somewhere else. And that shit hurt me, you know? So now, it’s really just like fuck it Kor, let’s go. The time is now.

KorHef: Yeah, Corey used to always tell me the same kind of thing — “just drop more music so that people know you’re really out here making beats.” Either that, or he would tell me to start working with this person or start working with that person. But now, those people are starting to reach out to me so it’s time to start making everything happen. I know [Corey] would want me to keep going. Shit is just different now, but it’s come a long way.

What will this project mean for the city?

Valley: I think the project will be something to consider as a new sound. It will be something to finally stick for my generation and under. I feel like I’m the big brother to all these little n***as that are tryna be on the shit that me and Flee were on. And that’s just real life, too — even when I go to New York, in the fashion scene over there with all the models and everything, that’s actually how it goes. 

I feel like this tape is about to stamp everything. Almost everybody from around here has gotten on some fan shit with me — in a good way, though. You can understand how that would make a person feel bigheaded at the end of the day, but with me, I’m not that kind of n***a — I show love. 

And really, n*****s been waiting for this for a long time, even from back when I dropped “Color Diamonds” and “Kiss”. This is about to be that moment of “okay, this is what n****s have been waiting to hear up out of here. Because you already got Stizz, you already got Christmas, you already got Vintage, you already got Sean Wire — you already got mad people that have dropped that are hella talented. Now, you got me.

And you have to understand, this is real life. I could be gone the next day, so I got a different perspective thanks to Corey. That’s why it’s time to drop now. For every n***a that’s like me and every n***a that’s not like me — I want everybody to be able to hear the pain and be able to really feel the lyrics, you dig what I’m saying?

KorHef: I just feel like with my beats, after three year of working, I’m definitely slept on. I’m not a producer that has all these placements with Christmas, Replay, Vintage, and all them, so like Valley said, it’s going to be a real moment for a lot of people between the beats and the lyrics.

And when this project does drop, what’s the goal? What impact do you want it to make?

Valley: The goal with this project is to appreciate life and never take nothing for granted. The goal is to cherish the ones that’s in front of you and protect them with everything you got. The goal is to always check up on your loved ones. The goal is to always have confidence in your self in any circumstances. 

The goal is just to live life above. Touch as many people as you can and change your mindset, because if you don’t change your mindset, look what happens. I just want people to live their life, and if you want to cleanse your soul of any bad shit you’ve done, you’d better do it now. We lose so much to wasting time, so if you want to do some shit, you’d better do it now — don’t overthink it, do it now.

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Artistic Investment: Connis & Lord Felix Come Full Circle

By: Seamus Fay

Subconscious and gradual as it may be at times, becoming a fan of an artist is no different than investing in a stock. It starts with the initial discovery of an artist — a chance to spark the listener’s attention and encourage them to conduct further research. Assuming that the music passes this test, long term fans are often born out of some sort of value proposition in regards to two key factors — artistic development and longevity.

Realistically, becoming a fan of an artist is an investment — sometimes long term, sometimes short term — of time and energy into following this artist and their journey. If a fan suspects that the artist will only improve or that the music will grow as the fan grows, they will be willing to make this investment; if a fan suspects that the artist is a product of quick excitement or cheap virality and therefore, won’t peak much higher, they may hang onto the artist for a short moment, but no long term investment will be made.

With this in mind, it’s important to be picky as a listener. Viral moments are fun, of course, but rare are those that last and end up becoming something greater than this singular moment. Instead, picking and choosing to invest time, energy, and even money (buying merch, concert tickets, etc.) into an artist should be a thoughtful decision, and one that supports the logic behind one’s listening habits in the long run.


When I first created Graduation Music, the aforementioned concept was what provided me a sense of direction in my writing. I had to figure out who was worth paying attention to, what was worth paying attention to, and why it was worth the attention in the first place. Then, as these artists grew, my early investments of time and energy in the form of writing would begin to pay off, growing Graduation Music as the artists, themselves, grew.

This mentality was a notable portion of the reasoning behind the name of the site, itself — Graduation Music. From the very beginning, it was all about providing artists with the attention and support they needed as “underclassmen” — or smaller, still-developing artists — in order to work toward that moment of “graduation” that would some day come. Whether this moment manifested itself in a great project, a deal with a label, a cosign, or something else, didn’t really matter — it was all about giving artists a sense of encouragement so that they could work toward this moment, realizing their potential in the process.


This anecdote brings to the spotlight two artists who have perfectly navigated the arts of development and long-term investment — Lord Felix and Connis.

I’ve been writing about Lord Felix since the very beginnings of Graduation Music (yes, I’m still waiting on “Ferrari Felix” to release, for those who know). From the voice memo series to the random singles released throughout his journey, Felix has remained a prominent mainstay in the Massachusetts music scene mainly because he’s always kept his sights set on the long game. Personally, I found myself impatiently awaiting a full project from Felix for what seemed like a long time there, but now, reflecting on the final product that it yielded, I must say that Lord Felix’s devotion to development was, and is, a brave and thorough principle to hold onto. Nowadays, it feels as though many artists rush themselves into careers to match the pace of the internet, but Felix laid low and plotted on the moment he would rise up, developing a strong creative direction and remarkably loyal fan base in the process.

With Connis, it wasn’t quite the same story.

In the case of Cambridge native Connis — or Connor Donovan, as he was known when I first started writing — I wasn’t a huge fan of his music at first. Sure, he always had some promise, but for a long time, it just didn’t click with me. Nevertheless, Connis kept creating and kept improving, so much so that I truly had no choice but to pay attention.

This persistence taught me a lesson. No, I was not a fan of Connis in the beginning and I’m not even sure I felt as though he had a project like Conn(is) in him, at first. However, I stuck with him, kept listening to his music, and when he began to show the signs of life I was waiting for, I made sure to jump on the opportunity, making a long-term investment in his music and becoming a huge fan along the way, writing aside.


Now, not even half way through 2019, I can safely say that each of these artists have reached their long-awaited moments of graduation — for Connis, in the form of Conn(is) and it’s accompanying short film, and for Lord Felix, in the form of In Bloom, Forever. Each of the two certainly took different paths to reach this destination, but nevertheless, their respective senses of artistry have finally come full circle, achieving the refined potential that we always knew was there, but wasn’t fully realized until now.

And wow, have the years it took to get here paid off. Nowadays, Connis has delved into a realm of remarkable introspection and sharp storytelling, using songs like the heart-pulling “New Orleans” and the ever-so-hypnotic “Kiss The Moon” to prove the extent of his skills. Furthermore, the cohesive sonics of Conn(is) make note of the fact that Cambridge’s own has found balance in his art, realizing how to allure fans into his stories and keep them there throughout the duration of a full project.

Resulting from this artistic improvement is a profound sense of comfortability and vulnerability that fuels many of Connis’ standout moments throughout the project. Whether or not you watched Connis take shape all the way back to his days as Connor Donovan or not, Conn(is) brings each and every listener eye-to-eye with his soul-searching journey — a personal tint to the project that I’m sure we can all connect with on some level.

On the other hand, Lord Felix’s forward-thinking, even cutting-edge creative vision recently yielded one of the best projects to come out of Massachusetts, nevermind Brockton, in quite some time.

I’ve always felt as though Felix’s art mirrored his use of music as a therapeutic outlet, but with In Bloom, Forever, he brought this honesty to a level that I never could have predicted. One song after another, this project establishes an unpredictable, electrifying burst of colorful emotion and sound, weaving in and out of versatile styles of production while maintaining its striking, true-to-self lyricism. Felix’s naturally charismatic presence keeps listeners just as locked into the somber, smooth stylings of “Love Is Fleeting, I Promise” as it does the Elton John-sampling dramatics of “The Worst Summer Ever,” with each song taking on a life of its own along the way.

In this sense, In Bloom, Forever is a direct reflection of its title, refusing to stay stagnant and constantly chasing peace of mind throughout a series of diverse emotions. To say I’ve found myself revisiting this one on occasion is an understatement.


Providing some context here, while Lord Felix and Connis may be the subjects of this article, that’s not to forget that Massachusetts, as a whole, has experienced immense growth within the past few years during which Connis and Felix’s development has taken place. Take, for example, Brockton — a city that has fostered one of the closest-knit, most supportive and overall inspiring artistic communities in the entire state.

From Jiles and Luke Bar$’ new project 2 Sides all the way to Luke Bar$ and Ricky Felix attending the infamous Dreamville sessions, Packy Marciano dropping one of my favorite Massachusetts projects in Side Effects, and even the incredible recent work of Garrett Merk, Leo The Kind, and countless others, you can’t help but root for Brockton right now. The entire slew of artists in Brockton not only cares about their own art, but also about the growth and development of their peers, exemplifying the infectious mindset that “rising tides lift all boats.”

Okay, sorry, I got a little off track there.


Shifting back into focus, above all things, Connis and Lord Felix’s newest projects are worthy of mention because they bring us back to the idea of long-term investment as a fan. Seeing two artists try so many different directions, fail and succeed several times (including the countless trials that I’m sure occurred behind the scenes), and continuously refine their respective crafts, it’s easy to see why these two are amongst Massachusetts’ most promising artists right now. They were both willing to stick it out and give the fans a journey to grow with, the reward being a sustainable career and an insurmountably bright future now that they’ve found their footing.

Taking this into account, I suppose this article is almost meant to act as a sort of “state of the union” address. I’ve been writing about Massachusetts artists ever since 2016 when I first started Graduation Music, and now, looking back at all the artists I invested my time and energy into at the beginning, I realize that many of these names have finally found their creative strides, forming themselves into the artists that they’ve always had the potential to be.

With that, I want to say thank you. Thank you to all the artists out there who invest in themselves and refuse to step away from their art until they finally reach the full circle moments that Lord Felix and Connis recently achieved. And for the fans, thank you for sticking around, both for the artists, and for myself and Graduation Music.

Don’t be afraid to be picky with the artists you root for in the long run. Supporting great art fosters great art, just trust your ear.

VALLEY – “Dasani” [Prod. KorHefBeatz]

By: Seamus Fay

VALLEY isn’t the kind of artist who needs to speak very often in order to be heard. He moves at his own pace, and even if this means only dropping new music once in a blue moon, it’s always going to be worth it, as VALLEY is sure to turn heads no matter when or where he chooses to make himself present. Today, we see this in full effect as the Dorchester native blesses us with a brand new single entitled “Dasani”.

Produced by KorHefBeatz, this track uses bright production to shed a light on the eclectic style that VALLEY has been perfecting throughout 2018. The world of sound that the budding talent is able to tap into reflects a vision entirely of his own creation, and consequently, it’s tailored perfectly to the strengths of the Dorchester representative both in style and sound. “Dasani” is a bright look toward an even brighter 2019, so make sure you don’t let this one fall through the cracks.

Show some love and stream VALLEY’s latest at the link provided below!

Young Seuss – “Reflections”

By: Seamus Fay

Making it through 2018 was no easy task. We’ve all experienced different successes, failures, triumphs, and struggles, but the one universal lesson should be that reflection is a must. Whether 2018 was the best year of your life or the worst, understanding how to reflect and learn from your experiences is vital toward having a prosperous 2019. Here to master this skill is Graduation Music favorite Young Seuss with his brand new project, Reflections.

As written in the tape’s description on SoundCloud, Seuss notes the genesis of Reflections as the following:

I fell in love, and I fucked it up. But it found its way back. Travel with me through my many emotions as I show you the reflections of my inner demons, the battles they carry, and the individualistic self-representation of “god” that lives within me.

As one might infer from this description, 2018 has been a year of self-discovery for Seuss. With his latest project, he unravels and breaks down the things he’s failed at as well as the things he’s found hope in, and as a result, we receive the rising talent’s most authentic, heart-led project to date. Reflections is impulsive and emotional in the truest of ways, and if not anything else, it should allow us all the opportunity to reflect on our own version of 2018.

Stream this project below and be sure to show some love to one of Boston’s most promising budding talents!

Michael Christmas – “Say Cheese” & “Sideways”

By: Seamus Fay

For fans of Boston’s budding music scene, I think I speak for us all when I say that new music from Michael Christmas was certainly on our wish lists this year. After all, Role Model was Christmas’ most refined work to date, and with the up-trend of things, it only made sense that he would cap off a prosperous year with a generous gift(s) to all of his supporters. That said, today, Michael Christmas is back on our pages to drop off two brand new presents: “Say Cheese” featuring Elevator Jay and “Sideways”.

Announced just a few days back in the form of a festive infomercial, these singles each give us a taste of the work that Christmas has been putting in since Role Model. His sound and deliveries are only getting sharper, and taking into consideration the contrasting stylistic directions of “Say Cheese” and “Sideways”, it can also be said that Christmas is proving to be versatile as ever. Needless to say, these two songs act as the perfect transitions out of 2018 and into a clear-minded 2019, so be sure not to sleep.

Show some love to Michael Christmas by unwrapping his latest gifts under the tree at the links below!

MyCompiledThoughts – “Fallen Angel”

By: Seamus Fay

Just last week, we here at Graduation Music shined our spotlight on MyCompiledThoughts and his deeply genuine new series of music, the “thought bubble” series. Meant to communicate Thoughts’ deepest emotions and bring something new to the table with each successive entry, this series has proven to make for some of the finest moments of the rising artist’s career to date, and today, this is kept going with the latest “thought bubble” entry: “Fallen Angel”, or Thought Bubble 003.

As described by the man of the hour, himself, the meaning of “Fallen Angel” revolves around the following:

An artist is a messenger and so are angels. You’ve fallen from Heaven to Earth sent here to save as many people as you can. Just like Superman.

Falling in line with this description, the song uses an ethereal, floating instrumental to match up with Thoughts’ energetic vocals. It’s upbeat and downright beautiful, allowing fans a look deep into the heart of such a passionate rising talent. “Fallen Angel” is a fantastic addition to the “thought bubble” series, and it certainly has me excited for what we’ll be receiving next. Be sure to show some love and stream the song on SoundCloud below!

Connis – “Lost It” [Prod. bby._J]

By: Seamus Fay

All throughout 2018, Connis has been throwing away outside expectations and creating the art that he wants to create. The authenticity in his sound has become increasingly noticeable, and by sticking to his own plan, this Cambridge native has become one of the brightest budding stars in the state, without a doubt. Today, as the credits begin to roll on 2018, Connis caps off a fantastic year with a brand new single entitled “Lost It”.

Produced by bby._j, this track may just be a loose release, but the effortlessness in which the smooth instrumentation and genuine lyricism mesh together is something that I could talk about all day long. With “Lost It”, Connis just wants to clear out his closet and get rid of everything he doesn’t wear, which is a sentiment easily applicable to any facet of life that needs a clean-out in order to make room for the new. This song seemingly shreds the old form Connis while watching him grow into an impressive young artist, and with that in mind, it’s a perfect release for the end of a prosperous year. 

Connis is heading into 2019 with a clear, focused mindset, so keep your eye out for him and listen to “Lost It” at the link below!