GRADUATION MUSIC RADIO EPISODE #4

GRADUATION MUSIC RADIO EPISODE #4

By: Shamus Hill 

Here to present you with the fourth episode of Graduation Music Radio today are none other than your hosts, Shamus Hill and Shlomo Bowe. Featuring talents from Boston and beyond, GRADUATION MUSIC RADIO sets out to shine a light on some of our area’s most talented individuals. Be on the lookout for a new episode every other Monday!

Stream: 

Tracklist: 

Maverick ft. Michael Christmas – “Galaga” (Prod. Twaynethekidd)

Maka – “Throwback” 

Connor Donovan – “Spent” (Prod. Connis)

MEECH – “Sometimes Pain Can Be A Drug Too Pt. II” (Prod. Tone Beats) 

Kayce ft. MyCompiledThoughts – “Sleep” (Prod. Arthur Maressa/Anthony Malary)

Bouve – “You” (Prod. SonoBeats)

StupidGenius – “Legacy” (Prod. POUNDA)

XNDRSOUND – “Cnflctd” (Prod. Humbeats)

Skaa – “About It” (Prod. Young Taylor x Jura Kez)

Maeko ft. BLAKE – “Amber” (Prod. BLAKE) 

Tai Chi – “PROBLEMZ” 

iLL Addicts – “Rich Together” (Prod. ProSwervez) 

Artem Bell – “2 Counties” (Prod. Thornbed) 

86 (Dirty Dan) – “Threat Level Tiger” 

Kleo – “Bands” 

Briefcvse – “Pockets” (Prod. briefbeets)

Major Baby – “Chips N Dip” (Prod. Slight)

Superior – “NO HESITATION” (Prod. Slick) 

Mizzie CA$H – “Splash” (Prod. NonBruh)

Keanyon – “Gundam” (Prod. IKnowShellz) 

NABI – “Glover” (Prod. SUBJXCT 5)

Donald Grunge – “Tyler Jeans” (Prod. Elz) 

Reek Money – “Smoking Kills” (Prod. Grovesidework)

bLAck pARty – “FRIDAY MORNING FREESTYLE” 

PuddaH – “Clouty” (Prod. Cor Blanco)

Bernard Jabs – “Polo Robe” (Prod. Mike Hector)

Album Review: Maeko’s ‘Dead Center, Looking Around’

Album Review: Maeko’s ‘Dead Center, Looking Around’

By: Shamus Hill

Dead Center, Looking Around is Maeko’s debut album, and the Boston-based artist has crafted a genuinely intelligent project that covers a wide array of human experience, listenable for anyone out there in search of introspection. With this, the UMass Amherst alum demonstrates his progression as both an artist and a person with this release, utilizing a stellar production team featuring BLAKE, Dave Chapman, Natty Reeves, and Esbe. The buoyant, poised sonic structure effectively assists him in achieving a solid concept, which centers around entering, coexisting with, and moving past the hardships of life at its very core. I highly recommend listening to the album from front to back to truly experience his marvelous concept.

Furthering this, Maeko’s latest bestowal navigates through a variety of subjects, ranging from deep loss to  the beauty of life. If there’s anything he wants you to know about Dead Center, Looking Around, it’s that:

The project is a trip to the “hive” from front to back, both sonically and conceptually. The “hive” represents the chaotic, hectic, messed-up aspects of life… Flying in, seeing it dead center, and flying out having learned more.”

As you begin listening to the album, Maeko gives insight towards how he felt upon entry to the world of music as an artist. Soon following this, he dwells on his aspirations to be like some of the artists he sees on stage from afar. He’s confident that his dreams will manifest eventually, however as time continues and more negative events unfold, Maeko’s hopes begin to diminish. This behavior combines with conflicting trains of thought, which ultimately result in Maeko being in “the center of the hive” – a place where he’s seemingly watching all of the chaos unfold all around him. Instead of remaining on the sidelines, he reflects on how he can truly make an impact on the world, and from there begins moving with new knowledge that he’ll carry into the next challenges of his life.

Some standout tracks for me off of Dead Center, Looking Around were “Amber” (ft./Prod. BLAKE), “Scarlett Lining” (Prod. Esbe), and “Rather Bee” (Prod. Natty Reeves). “Amber” is a groovy, yet mellow track which perfectly encapsulates the feeling you get on late summer nights. BLAKE continues his sensational production job on this track, and even hops on the record to add a verse of his own. “Scarlett Lining” features some tremendous production at the hands of Esbe, who excels in helping Maeko continue the lively spirit of this project. This song, in particular, features Maeko’s cry for positivity in the world – something that’s of utmost importance in the current climate in our country. The Natty Reeves-produced “Rather Bee” is a jazzy, ambient record that helps you cool down and reflect, which is exactly the purpose of the end of Dead Center, Looking Around; No matter what we experience, we have to reflect upon these experiences so that we may grow appropriately and learn from them.

That being said, this project is the perfect microcosm of life. We all strive to not only have experiences, but to both learn and grow from said experiences all along the way. Maeko puts these lessons and what he’s learned on display through the use of the metaphorical “hive” in Dead Center, Looking Around in a clear light, making this a must-listen for any fan out there. Be sure to go see Maeko live in Northampton at this year’s Extravaganja event, next Saturday April 21st.

Listen to Boston-based artists’ debut album below:

Weekly Discovery: ace.

Weekly Discovery: ace.

By: Shamus Hill 

Every now and then, you stumble upon a gem in the crowd of an artist that possesses a phenomenal catalog of music. It didn’t take much time at all for me to realize that ace. was that artist. Since getting put onto his hit single “Big Fact” and subsequently diving into the remainder of his discography, there hasn’t been any turning back.

That being said, Graduation Music is proud to present an interview with ace., discussing his entrance to music, some of his influences/interests outside of music, and an announcement that he’s dropping a short project on April 13th (a week from this upcoming Friday). With his recent string of exceptional records, ace. is here to prove why NYC is still a major playmaker in the rap game, so be sure to read about him below:


How old are you, and where are you from? 

I’m 20 years old, out of Queens, NY.

For how long now have you been releasing music?

I started recording music in the 9th grade, so like six years now. I started off recording songs myself on Garageband, using the built-in microphone on my laptop. I would say I started taking music more seriously when I bought an actual microphone about 4 years ago.

If you could describe your music in your own words, how would you do so?

That’s always been difficult for me, finding a way to label it. I’ve had conversations with my manager about it, just so we could kind of know who we’re marketing to. But yeah, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to label it because it’s so varied. Really, I’ll make whatever conveys what I’m feeling. I’d probably release a deep, house track if it’s what I felt at that moment.

Which of your tracks would you list as your favorite thus far?

It’s definitely hard for me to pick just one, but I’d say two tracks stand out to me. “Big Fact” connected for me instantly. As soon as I had recorded it, I sent it to a few of my friends before releasing it, and I told them, this is the one that people are going to connect with. It’s something I’ve never said about any other song, but I knew with that one immediately. But besides that, “They Whisper” would have to be a personal favorite of mine. It’s my favorite because it’s the most experimental track, sonically, to me, and I had wanted to do an Alternative-Rock-influenced track for a while. I wrote and recorded that song while watching the Blair Witch Project with the sound off, because that’s the image that came to mind when I heard that beat.

Looking through your discography, I’ve noticed that the majority of your music falls under the Hip-Hop/Rap genre, however you do have two Alternative-Rock tracks under your belt. Do you see your sound remaining within these categories in the future, or do you plan on exploring new genres as time progresses?

Honestly, like I said, I don’t know if those labels accurately represent the music I’ve made either. I feel like very few songs I make would be traditional to any genre. But I’d say yeah, I’ll always be expanding my range musically. That’s the fun part about making my own music, I can take from all the different sounds I love and put them together.

Who are some of your influences, both musically and personally?

I’m influenced by A LOT of people, but if I had to narrow it down, I’d probably say Kanye West and Childish Gambino are two of my biggest influences. Beyond just musically-speaking though. I feel like I can relate to those two especially, just based on the way their minds work. They’re true creatives to me. True creatives because they see no boundaries in their creativity. Even when making music, to them it’s about more than just the music. The process doesn’t end for them when an album’s finished, they have a complete vision. From art to tour designs, merchandise, etc.

Another big influence I’ll never forget to mention is the entire A$AP Mob, they influenced all the people around me in every way. Plus, they came out of NY doing it.

What’s the music scene like in Queens? Is there anyone from your area that people should really be listening to? 

The music scene is bubbling, and not just in Queens, but New York in general. I feel like New York has a chip on its shoulder after years of being disregarded in Hip-Hop, while places like Atlanta thrive. It’s definitely a movement coming though, we can thank A$AP Mob for paving the way for us. They dont get the credit they deserve, especially Rocky as far as being a NY artist. I feel like his name is never mentioned when people debate over who’s the hottest NY has had to offer over the last few years. He’s the one without question. He’s a megastar and he’s from Harlem. As far as up-and-comers from NY, I see a lot of talent in the people around me. Friends, people I’m working with currently. Zoe Cartier, Adamaneven (Angelnumber 8, Lotto, Justine, Slakapat), Sensei Idai, Tommy Revenge. Soundcloud any of those names, I promise you’ll find something new you’ll love.

“When I was a freshman in high school we all wanted Pyrex shorts, now Virgil’s working at Louis Vuitton. That’s the type of shit that really inspires me. Growth and process. Everyone has their own process.”

What are you into besides music?

Everything. I really believe in that true creative concept, and I have ideas for just about everything. Somewhere on the internet there’s a Donda chart that Kanye drew up with different fields he wanted to impact using Donda. I’ll probably draw up my own (just as long) soon. One of the main things I want to get into in the future though is writing, specifically screenwriting. TV Shows & Movies, I have well drawn out ideas for both already. I believe it’ll all come together when it’s supposed to, don’t be surprised if you see one of my ideas as a Netflix-original one day.

Fashion is mentioned throughout your music, which leads me to ask, how much of a role does fashion play in your life, and subsequently the music you put out to the world? 

Fashion is definitely a big influence, but I’m not the fashion guy in my collective of creative friends. Marvin (@m6rvin on social) is really the fashion guy, and he’s already working on his own thing, with a foot in the fashion industry. I’d say all of us are fashion-forward, but if I’m in 2020 with it, he’s definitely in the year 3000.  A few of my biggest influences I didn’t really mention come from the fashion world. When I was a freshman in high school we all wanted Pyrex shorts, now Virgil’s working at Louis Vuitton. That’s the type of shit that really inspires me, growth and process. Everyone has their own process.

What can we expect next from ace. ?

Next for me is more music and more music. Really I’m just getting started. Currently, I’m working on a short project that I plan on dropping April 13th. I haven’t officially announced that anywhere yet, but yeah that’s what I’m working on. I hope to have a few friends on there, and they will definitely be people you should be looking out for too.


Connect with ace. on: 

SoundCloud

Twitter

Instagram 

Bouvé – “You Would Know” [Prod. Heavy Keyzz]

Bouvé – “You Would Know” [Prod. Heavy Keyzz]

By: Shamus Hill 

Any time I see Bouvé’s name pop up in my SoundCloud stream, I know I’m in for a blessed day. Following the release of his last anthem, “978”, Bouvé returns with another high-quality record, reminding everyone out there that the North Shore possesses some truly tremendous talent.

“You Would Know” features elegant production provided by Heavy Keyzz, allowing Bouvé to really dive into his vocals and provide a concrete sound that aligns with the rest of his catalog. The hook rings out the lines “I passed out in the studio, something only you would know“, conveying the true tension that arises when trying to balance relationships and life goals. When the money and glory aren’t immediate, true love and support are needed more than ever, and a part of Bouvé’s message here is that while this need is prevalent, he won’t sacrifice his goals in life to simply fulfill that need. Bouvé is aware of what he’s destined to be, and won’t give up on that no matter what obstacle comes his way.

That being said, keep Bouvé on your radar because he’s going to be a name you’ll be hearing more and more as 2018 continues. It has been said many times, but the stocks are rising out here and Bouvé is living proof of that. There hasn’t been any looking back following his transition from Booty Bae to Bouvé, and I’m tremendously excited to hear what his next moves will be.

Stream “You Would Know” below:

Maka – “Kool” [Prod. Maka]

Maka – “Kool” [Prod. Maka]

By: Shamus Hill 

If there’s anyone coming correct this Spring, it’s the man himself, Maka. Following the release of “Look At U” featuring iWearDadJeans, Maka has unleashed yet another majestic record that will help you shake off that last bit of winter and transcend into the warmer months with ease.

“Kool” is an energetic, lively offering which will get you off your feet and dancing no matter where you’re at. The self-produced song samples Kool & The Gang’s hit record “Get Down On It”, which assists Maka in obtaining the joyous feeling from beginning to end.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Maka somehow found the perfect equation for making music that’s meant to be played on gorgeous, sunny days, and throughout his catalog, he has proven to master this sound to an emphatic extent. With this aspect on lock, it’s also worth mentioning that Maka’s discography basically became the soundtrack for my recent trip to San Juan, helping make a wonderful time that much better. It’s like you can almost feel the endorphins rushing towards your brain every time Maka whips up a new masterpiece, and “Kool” is no different.

Continuing a noteworthy 2018 with the release of “Kool”, Maka makes another tremendous stride towards cementing his spot amongst Boston’s current best artists. Stream the vibrant track below:

GRADUATION MUSIC RADIO EPISODE #3

GRADUATION MUSIC RADIO EPISODE #3

By: Shamus Hill 

We’re back in action! Shamus Hill and Shlomo Bowe are here today to present our readers with the third episode of GRADUATION MUSIC RADIO. Featuring talents from Boston and beyond, GRADUATION MUSIC RADIO sets out to shine a light on some of our area’s most talented individuals. Be on the lookout for a new episode every other Monday!

Stream Here:

Tracklist:

David-James – “Loyal” 

Tai Chi – “Self-Employed”

Maka ft. iWearDadJeans – “Look At U” 

Seuss – “Water is Forever” (Prod. Maka)

StupidGenius – “Unconditional (For Bill)” [Prod. TJ Beats]

Che Ecru – “Before I Die” (Prod. Che Ecru)

NliteN – “Drive” 

Austin Fair – “WALK” (Prod. HETRIKS)

Boogie Da God – “Hood N***a” (Prod. Trillo)

Juxi – “FullCourtPress” 

Major Baby ft. Big Baby Scumbag – “Stereotypes” (Prod. Lil Rich) 

Mizzie CA$H – “Problems” (Prod. CashMoney AP)

Caliph ft. Greedy P – “Right Now” (Prod. Roca Beats)

Sauve – “Check” (Prod. Hella Sketchy)

demar defrozen – “thankful” (Prod. wavy drexler) 

FLEE ft. Cash Cobain – “YTO3GHOSTGANGSMOKEY” (Prod. Cash Cobain)

ace. – “FLEXED UP SHAWTY”

Big Baby Gucci – “Swim Don’t Float” (Prod. Joe Dirt)

38MELL – “Came From Nothing” 

OG SWAGGERDICK – “F**k Gentrification” (Prod. OG SWAGGERDICK)

KHBelo ft. Alejandro Blanco & KHLyor – “SIP (Stuck In Park)” [Prod. Christian Yoon]

Bouve – “You Would Know” (prod. Heavy Keyzz)

Latrell James – “Okay” (Prod. Billy Loman)

Lord Felix – “Hold It Down” (Prod. Yellow Synth)

Clairo – “waste (brockhampton)”

Pe$o Boii – “Touched Down” (Prod. Isaiah Valmont) 

Maeko – “Wide Eyes” (Prod. Dave Chapman) 

Chase Murphy – “30 Below” (Prod. Mantra) 

Maka – “Kool” (Prod. Maka)

Haasan Barclay – “Santa Monica, CA” 

[PREMIERE] Caliph – “Right Now” ft. Greedy P

[PREMIERE] Caliph – “Right Now” ft. Greedy P

By: Shamus Hill

Graduation Music is thrilled to present to you today Caliph’s latest offering, “Right Now” featuring Greedy P – the first single off of his forthcoming EP, Szn: The Saffron Edition, due out for release on April 24th. But before we can get into it, it’s only right that we warn you: this song will not only be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, but it will also be in HEAVY rotation for the weeks to come, so proceed with caution and get ready to be singing Caliph lyrics all day long.

At its core, “Right Now” is a standout performance from every name involved. For starters, Roca Beats comes through with ethereal yet heavy production, elegantly executed and wonderfully blended into the vocal deliveries. Amidst all of this, Caliph channels a similar energy to that of a few of his previous singles such as “Tropical Spalding” and “How Do You Know“, creating another brilliant record to add to the list and maintaining a high level of artistry within his respective parts. Just when you think the song can’t elevate any further, however, Greedy P comes through with the cherry on top and gives us quite the memorable guest spot, blessing “Right Now” with a final, emphatic touch.

After listening, you truly understand that New Bedford is making some big moves, and it goes without saying that the stocks are rising for every artist involved this year. That being said, Caliph stands at the forefront of all this with his aforementioned EP, Szn: The Saffron Edition, on the way, so we wanted to help relay the message and gives fans an idea as to what this EP will include.

In addition to Greedy P, the project is also set to feature the works of Jon Gin and RELLTHEWAVECAP. Described by Caliph, it works to tie two of main passions in life together:

“The concept of the tape was inspired by my love for making music and cooking. I’ve always said I would be a chef if I wasn’t an artist. The process of making a song and cooking are the same to me. The beat is your base, for example, your rice and peas or arroz con habichuela; the hook is your favorite side dish like some platanos; the verses are your proteins; and each word, flow, and melody is a spice… and the way we individually choose our spices creates a sauce… We all grew up with that Sazon in almost every meal we ate and it’s Spring season aka Liph season, so yeah…. I’m giving niggas sauce… #SZN!”

And “Right Now” is a perfect taste of the sauce that Caliph’s speaking of.

The New Bedford native has always done an exceptional job at being a voice for the often, overlooked population of Massachusetts, and that trend continues here. Taking a look at the Sazon-inspired cover art for Szn: The Saffron Edition, my inner-Puerto Rican shot through the roof. Caliph said it himself, he’s coming with the sauce this Spring, so get prepared and be ready for a standout project to kick things off on a high note for this rising star.

Listen to “Right Now” below: