theworldbirdie – “ARTx Intro” [Music Video]

theworldbirdie – “ARTx Intro” [Music Video]

By: Shamus Hill 

Making his debut onto the Graduation Music site today is an artist going by the name theworldbirdie with the video for his latest single, “ARTx Intro”. Directed by former UMass Amherst student, Alexander Hagani, the pair joined forces to deliver us some exceptional visuals, which grasp both the meaning and the overarching feeling of the song tremendously well.

This music video was actually my very first taste of theworldbirdie’s music, and I’m thrilled to say that the Cape-native is yet another addition to the mixing pot of talented artists from Massachusetts. “ARTx Intro” has this sort of meditative, shimmering touch that has its roots set in theworldbirdie’s criss-crossing thoughts. He opens up about how his self-confidence flutters from left to right, how his past shapes his future, and how he’s on a seemingly never-ending journey towards solace. All of this is delivered over a smooth, melodic instrumental that’s perfect for this beautiful time of year. I’m only one song in, but theworldbirdie’s artistry is truly shining through with “ARTx Intro”.

I can’t commend Alex Hagani enough for his role in bringing theworldbirdie’s vision to life. The extremely talented pair aren’t finished here either, with another music video AND a 3-part interview series set to come out during the coming weeks. I’m ecstatic to see what their next move is going to be, as theworldbirdie is on a mission to prove to the world that he’s got what it takes to blossom as an artist.

Peep the video for “ARTx Intro” down below:

 

Gio $hyne – “Insane” [Prod. Christian Yoon]

Gio $hyne – “Insane” [Prod. Christian Yoon]

By: Shamus Hill 

Following a nine-month-long hiatus from releasing music, Gio $hyne returns to the Graduation Music pages today with his latest track “Insane”, which features production at the hands of Christian Yoon. 2020 is one of my favorite collectives of artists in the area, so naturally, I was thrilled when I saw that both Gio and Christian had combined efforts here. The mysterious, ominous sound emitted from the underlying instrumental perfectly suites Gio’s style, making “Insane” a new favorite of mine from the Dorchester-native.

Compact full of bars referencing Boston nights, fashion, and even other members of 2020, “Insane” ultimately becomes a moment for Gio to speak on his life as of late. Despite, at times, feeling like he’s going “insane” and losing control of what’s around him, Gio takes some time to realign his thoughts, and enjoy the spare moments when his homies are around. We all reach periods of time where we feel helpless and unsure of the future, but it’s important not to get lost in that, and find moments of solace however possible. Being surrounded by close friends and the city of Boston, Gio $hyne is here to speak on that solace.

Listening through Gio’s discography, it’s easy to note the amount of growth his music has undergone since beginning to release music over a year ago. He possesses this nonchalant, alluring sound that fits seamlessly over numerous styles of production. One thing, in particular, I really love about Gio’s artistry is his ability to adapt to different sounds, which, at least over the last year, has become customary for him. I’m really looking forward to what his next release will be sounding like. If you haven’t yet, definitely check out our interview with Boston’s 2020 here.

Listen to Gio $hyne’s “Insane” down below:

 

KMerc ’57 Columbia’ (Album Review)

KMerc ’57 Columbia’ (Album Review)

By: Shamus Hill 

Cambridge, MA continues to prove to the world that it’s a hotspot for music. From the likes of Connis and Rothstein all the way to Millyz, Cambridge has shown that it possesses a variety of high-caliber artists. Recently, I was hipped to another young talent from the area, KMerc, whose 57 Columbia project dropped last week. It isn’t every day where you discover a new artist with an exceptional debut album, however, that’s the position we find ourselves in today with this ambitious young act.

Upon first listen to 57 Columbia, it’s easy to note the dominant presence which KMerc exhibits over each instrumental. Entirely produced by HD, the pair possesses an exuberant ability to work well with one another. The beats are tailored perfectly towards KMerc’s saucy, emotion-filled sound, which assists in making the project both thorough and cohesive.

Listening through this album, you’ll stumble upon an array of noteworthy tracks. The intro, titled “Intro (Favors)”, is one of those noteworthy songs that deserves mentioning. KMerc comes at you right away with his high-energy vocals, establishing the feel for the remainder of the project. Speaking on not owing anyone any favors and how he’ll achieve his goals on his own if need be, KMerc quickly begins to showcase his high level of talent. “Quicksand”, which features Kye Bills, is the second song on the album, and it’s here where the duo communicate how they won’t be “sinking” anytime soon. Overall, I’m a really big fan of how this track, in particular, was put together, but the continuous Patriots references throughout were what really made me throw this song on repeat.

“Real You” which features AC Gotti and Kye Bills, was an additional favorite of mine. The trio brings some real dancehall vibes into the mix with this record, and I’m 100% here for it. Helping to diversify KMerc’s sound, “Real You” is a shining example of how versatile he really is. “With You” is the second to last song on the project, and it’s here where KMerc offers an emotional, appreciative display towards the girl he loves. An ode to how much more pleasant life is when she’s around, KMerc exhibits the respectable ability to insert truth and feeling into the music he creates. Assisting in bringing this undivided offering to a close, 57 Columbia proves to be an album worth listening to.

I’m beyond excited to see what’s next to come from Cambridge’s newest sensation. He has a large appetite for success, and as his music states, he won’t be letting up whatsoever until he achieves his goals. Keep KMerc on your radar.

Listen to KMerc’s debut album 57 Columbia below:

Jerome B – “Gudgud” [Prod. sesåme]

Jerome B – “Gudgud” [Prod. sesåme]

By: Shamus Hill 

Fresh off of a trip to Cuba, Somerville’s Jerome B returns to the Graduation Music pages with a song that’s perfect for your Summer playlist. His latest offering, “Gudgud”, circulates around feeling good and the struggle to achieve that feeling. Detailing something we’ve all dealt with at one point or another, Jerome B is here to help remind you that happiness doesn’t always have to be so challenging to obtain.

Produced by sesåme, “Gudgud” possesses an energetic, warm sound that truly helps put you in a better mood. We all experience periods of time where we set our expectations too high, especially in regards to our emotional state. This record nonchalantly addresses these expectations, and how they can be lowered. Towards the end of the track, Jerome B states “H20 and the sunshine, all that I need to unwind” reminding us of how simplistic our happiness can really be. It’s the little things that really count at the end of the day, and Jerome B wants us to continue to be aware of that. A beautiful message to a world that could really use it, “Gudgud” is a wonderful addition to Jerome B’s catalog.

Listen to “Gudgud” below:

Kingfrom98 – “Black Balenciagas”

Kingfrom98 – “Black Balenciagas”

By: Shamus Hill 

Making his debut onto the Graduation Music pages is none other than Boston’s own, Kingfrom98. “Black Balenciagas” is the catchy record that you need in your life right about now, with Kingfrom98 detailing his desire to put on for the people in his life who’ve continuously shown him love and support.

While Kingfrom98 has a noteworthy presence on this track, what ultimately blew me away was the fact that he was also responsible for mixing and mastering the song. In addition to “Black Balenciagas”, he mixed and mastered the rest of his catalog as well, showcasing how much of a multi-faceted artist he truly is. This record in particular features some high-energy production, which Kingfrom98 captures well. While things may not have always been easy in his life, he’s got his eyes set on being a successful artist, and is willing to do whatever necessary to achieve that goal.

As you dive deeper and deeper into his Soundcloud, you’ll ultimately end up with a few new additions to your musical rotation. “Attention” was his most recent release prior to “Black Balenciagas”, and I honestly love that track as much as I do this one. Kingfrom98 is already showing that he can successfully diversify his sound, so I’m really excited to see what he’s got coming for us next.

Listen to “Black Balenciagas” below:

Connis ft. Rothstein – “Rude” [Prod. Yang]

Connis ft. Rothstein – “Rude” [Prod. Yang]

By: Shamus Hill 

Connis is here today on Graduation Music with the second single off of his upcoming project, Conn(is), due for release this August. With this, alongside fellow Cambridge native Rothstein, the two standout acts combine forces to gift fans an undoubtedly wonderful record with their new song, “Rude” produced by Yang.

Circulating around romantic complications, “Rude” serves as Connis’ moment to get some things off of his mind. Emotional outbursts, miscommunication, and the desire to grow with someone you genuinely care about are a few of the themes prevalent throughout this track, all of which are communicated in an artful, alluring way. The feature from Rothstein works in a similar way, offering a straight-up addictive, melodic sound that takes this dope record and makes it that much better.

As I listen through Connis’ discography, it’s easy to note the high level of talent he possesses, and no matter what the subject may be, you can rest assured that the Cambridge native will deliver a high-quality song. Rothstein works just as efficiently, offering reason as to why he has skyrocketed into the position of one of my favorite artists in Massachusetts.

With that being said, these two Cambridge representatives are truly putting on for their hometown in a venerable light. Get ready for Conn(is) this August and also keep an eye out for Rothstein’s forthcoming effort, HIGH WATER.

Listen to “Rude” below:

[PREMIERE] DJ Chuck ft. NLITEN & jakilace – “Brave” + A Conversation with NLITEN

[PREMIERE] DJ Chuck ft. NLITEN & jakilace – “Brave” + A Conversation with NLITEN

By: Shamus Hill 

NliteN returns to the Graduation Music pages today alongside both his uncle and sister, DJ Chuck and jakilace, with a record that circulates itself around being both brave and free. A very fitting theme for Juneteenth, NLITEN, whose music grows more versatile and thorough by the day, has delivered once again. I spoke with NLITEN about making music with his family, the significance of Juneteenth, and what he’s been up to as of late. Read the conversation, and listen to “Brave” below:

What have you been up to since graduating from UMass Amherst? 

That’s a loaded question haha. In the 5 months since graduating college…I’ve really just been networking and learning how to become a better musician, son/brother/family man, and person. I was both John Legend’s and Bryan Stevenson’s personal assistant for a few hours, and that was pretty dope. Otherwise, just creating the best art that I can make, and rubbing pennies together to feed myself. 

What was the driving factor behind leaving Massachusetts? Was it entirely based in music? How has it been adapting to such a dramatic change? 

Do you believe in destiny? lol, jkjk. But really, since I was 3 years old my biggest dream was to move to California. Once I was free from university, I really didn’t give myself a choice besides to follow my dream. It just kinda happened that, at that time, I was in the heat of trying to become the best rapper I could become. Dramatic? Kindaaa…yeah. I’m still kind of walking the line between homeless and pro couch surfer, because whenever I have a few bucks I’m calculating risks to invest in my dream. I’ve paid no less in total rent than $950 every month, which equals a meal or less a day at times. That dramatic enough? 

Your first release of 2018 was “Mother’s Day”, an ode to your mother who played a highly impactful role in your life. What did it mean to you, personally, to put that record out there? Has she always influenced your music? 

My mother means everything to me. I’m a momma’s boy and I’ll admit it! But growing up she never told us what we were going through, she just went through it for me and my older brother and sister. So when it comes to paying it back…it’s legit impossible. There’s a line where I say “Imma make it so you get that lil pad with the garden in the back / know we good now so you’d never let me pay you back / but I have to” and that basically saying….she bossed up! And although I owe her my world, she’s such a powerful woman that she went out and got it her damn self! My mother and family in general have been the biggest musical influencers that I have. Father and aunt are traveling musicians. My sister, @jakilace, is a recording artist as of 5 days ago. Brother has been singing and acting for as long as I can remember. Its all love, family, and music.

 Your latest release, “Brave”, features both your Uncle and your sister, making the track a true family affair. For how long now have the two of them been making music? Does your creative process remain the same when your family is brought into the equation? Do you plan on continuing this effort to produce records with your own family members? 

They have both been making music since before I was born. It’s in our nature to make records. My uncle (DJ Chuck) has DJ’d all over the world and has fans internationally. When we were kids he used to DJ for Hot 97 in NY and when we visited, we would drive around the city in the HOT 97 van (which of course had no AC) and just bump the station live around the city. The creative process with my sister (Jakilace) and uncle was actually an experiment…that went near flawlessly. We came back from this lit karaoke event, I sat down and made the beat. My sister lead me with the concept because she was reading about a positive pre-sleep meditation practice, which is to list your decisions made from Fear in one column and the decisions made from Bravery in another. I embedded that in the beat. My uncle came upstairs to the stu and I was singing the hook. He goes “Lets record it!” puts on the headphones and goes in! He mixed that…I wrote my verse…recorded that, While I recorded, my sister fleshed out her verse. I put down a rough mix and changed some arrangement pieces. Then we went to sleep, woke up. My uncle put some final touches on the mix and boom! I would love to continue making music with my family. I believe if you can find peace with your family you can learn to find peace anywhere in the world. And I know we touched that in the making of this track. I’m no one to say it will always run smoothly…because family is family, but damn it feels good to be in sync like that!

The message that rings most prominent throughout “Brave” is “I don’t wanna be a slave”. In 2018, what’s the significance of this line? Are there any personal experiences that helped to shape this message, or does it speak more to the current state of the world in which we live in? 

It is what it is. Slavery is systemic. There’s a narrative of color and inferiority that we continue to perpetuate in our culture. We are enslaved physically, having to work minimum wage jobs that are typically heavy on the manual labor. We are enslaved mentally. Check this: just yesterday I realized that I have been the token black guy my whole life. Brought up in Boston, I was one of, if not, the only black person in my classes growing up (K1-through college). Without realizing it, that mentality became so engraved in my mind and person that everywhere I went, I felt like the only black person. It’s the “House Nigga” complex. But it’s 2018. Black people learn to hate you because you’re as black as them but seem to be benefitting more. White people make you their servant. Also the while… “I don’t want to be a slave!!” just….like…you. 

Historically speaking, Juneteenth, is representative of the day in which the slaves present in Texas learned of their freedom from slavery. How does it feel to release such an important, meaningful song on such a significant day? 

It was an accident. I believe that god has a plan. And we may not always know that it’s happening, but there are instances like this where you make a song, and then check the calendar for release dates and boom: The most historic day of liberation for a region of people is coming up! It feels like being in the right place at the right time. 

How has traveling around the world helped to shape your perception of the Boston music scene? Comparatively speaking, where would you say Boston ranks amongst the other “big” players such as Los Angeles and New York? 

In all honesty, it’s shown me how entitled Boston artists are. Everyone thinks that their lil clique is the one that’s gonna “put the city on”. Everyone feels like their the hottest in the city (myself included). But niggas rarely LEAVE the city. RAMS made a post on Twitter yesterday saying “niggas act like the world isn’t bigger than your city” and it’s a fact. I commented “is not” (with a bunch of shamrocks) as a joke, but it’s for real. If you never leave, you will always feel like that! Boston….Massachusetts…New England…its a non-factor. We can claim Cousin Stizz, and there are a bunch of independent artists making moves, but there’s no infrastructure for a scene. No agents. No label A&Rs finding and developing new raw talent. It’s crabs in a barrel. New York and LA are, geographically, just way bigger. 

What advice would you give to any readers out there working on ventures of their own? 

You have to be willing to take risks. And start early. A lot of us are still looking for our passions, but if you are blessed to know at any point, pursue it relentlessly! I was already on stage performing with Wale over a year ago. I took a risk to move to LA where I had no traction. Why take this risk? In my head, opportunities are not a limited resource. At some point, if you stay focused and hone your craft, you will get a chance to take the stage…then it’s just a question of how prepared you are. Put your faith in something: God, self, love…and RUN WITH IT! 

If there’s a single piece of advice you could give to a younger version of yourself, what would that advice be? 

Give less fucks! Speak your mind. Have more fun. Don’t stop listening to people. Don’t overthink. You are going to make it…but you have to want it more than anything. No one said it was gonna be easy.

What can we expect next from NliteN?

100K followers. Platinum & gold records. A few Grammys. A lot of pictures of family and people of color being fabulously successful and happy.