Austin Fair has had his foot on the gas in 2020. Only a few months following the release of his 17 song project Joyride, the Chicopee rapper returns with a brand new album entitled PIONEER — a lyrically dense, 29-minute reminder of why Austin’s name carries weight across the entirety of Massachusetts.
Although the pace of his recent releases may be characterized as being somewhat ambitious, the high-level of quality associated with them unquestionably stands as justification for such a rapid musical output. Laced with production elements of jazz-hop, courtesy of executive producer — and Austin Fair’s cousin — Humbeats, Fair flows from track to track with such mastery that it almost appears effortless. Bouncing between songs such as “Honor Roll”, which will motivate you to roll out of bed and do push-ups, to “Up & Away”, which will motivate you to roll up and spark, the lyrical content prevalent within this project is of a high degree. Echoing the sounds of a man punching his way through the glass ceiling that hangs over the Massachusetts Music Scene — a struggle that many artists from the Bay State know all too well — Austin Fair does a phenomenal job with respect to getting authentic sentiments out to his audience.
Anyone who’s been keeping up with the current climate of Massachusetts’ music scene will undoubtedly be aware of the mark that Van Buren Records has been leaving in 2019. Luke Bar$ and Jiles kicked things off with the release of their collaboration project, 2 Sides, and soon after they were followed up by Lord Felix with the release of In Bloom, Forever. The both of these projects have assisted in cementing Brockton as one of the Bay State’s musical powerhouses, and today, MEECH dropped his second album, ‘NineFour, which only reinforces this statement.
Sitting at a comfortable 6 tracks, ‘NineFour is a solid composition that intertwines vulnerable life experience and futuristic aspirations. Anyone who has kept up with our site throughout the last few years will assuredly recognize MEECH by name, as he’s steadily risen up the food-chain within Brockton’s long list of amazing artists. He possesses an innate ability to flow meticulously whilst keeping his lyrical content up to an extremely high par. Each track off of ‘NineFour contains a vastly different feeling, but much like life itself, flows into the next chapter with true fluidity. In a statement released by MEECH prior to the album’s release he stated:
I HIGHLY urge you to listen to the lyrics, concepts. Smoke one to it, drink to it, meditate to it, work out to it, etc.
Topics such as falling to the Demise of your own and other people’s actions, feelings of being financially/spiritually/mentally Rich & Broke. Struggle with Trusting people wholeheartedly, stress of going to outside festivities and evil aspects that’s currently infested into our world. To elevating mentally, spiritually & physically with a possible life partner. Every feature was written with so much vulnerability, and authentic ass perspectives. It’s the closest you’ll get to truly know who we are as PEOPLE and what we think and go through. If you don’t personally know us, we gave you a piece of who we are.
Stay Woke, Stay Blessed, and Stay Inspired.
MEECH via Instagram
The only features on this project are Van Buren’s Jiles, Lord Felix, and Luke Bar$, with each putting their best foot forward to assist MEECH in achieving new heights. “No House Parties (Stay Inside)” served as the first single to be released off of ‘NineFour, and throughout my first few listens to the project it remains formidable as my favorite component of this release. “We VB” which features Lord Felix, is yet another standout, as this track thoroughly encapsulates the energy persistent within Van Buren Records. This collective of highly capable artists is centered around hometown pride and the truthful bond that persists between each member. They only grow stronger as each builds upon their individual discographies, and as they continue to develop alongside one another there’s no telling where the end of their achievements will lay. We’ve already been blessed with a high volume of potent music in 2019, however it’s Van Buren Records that has been paving the way for the rest of Massachusetts.
Stream MEECH’s latest project, ‘NineFour, below:
Production by AG, B. Stanley, Godzart, AeBeats, E’ZZ, Emani Beats, & Dartizt
Making his Graduation Music debut is rapper/producer, Ronny Llama, who recently graced listeners with his first official project, Give It a Year. The project was Llamas second release of 2018, following his first single titled, “Hueman”.
The Dorchester native is no stranger to the Boston scene, and his project even starts with a promise to put on for the city. Give It a Year sits at 9 tracks — with each being full of pure introspection, lyricism and a proper amount of humor. Llama mixes his lyrical prowess with nostalgic and eery beats throughout, which assist in making even the most emotionless listener feel deeply. From “Ñac Ñac”, where his production and humming is reminiscent of a young Kid Cudi, to “Days I Think of You”, where a heartbroken lover leaves a chilling voicemail — Llama captivates listeners and leaves us wanting more.
In the two months following the release of the project, Llama has dropped three singles, “What I Do”, “Passive Aggressive”, and “Goodbye”, which collectively make it known that this isn’t the artist to sleep on. His 2019 has been incredibly bright up through this point in time, and we look forward to hearing more from Ronny Llama as he continues his journey towards success.
Listen to Ronny Llama’s debut album ‘Give It A Year’ below:
Packing the entirety of his life experience into an incredibly well-written, mesmerizing debut album is Connis. Anywhere you’ve looked this week, individuals from Massachusetts and beyond have rallied around the Cambridge native’s Conn(is) — with it being one of the most thorough projects to come out of the state in recent years.
Connis’ career dates back nearly a decade to when he was making music with friends simply for the joy of doing so. From the jump, Connis’ goal has been to provide his listeners with his truest sense of self, while at the same time elevating the people around him and subsequently the music scene in Cambridge. He’s released several projects throughout his tenure as an artist, however Conn(is) is the first to really satisfy the “debut album” label.
From start to finish, Conn(is) vividly captures the instances within Connis’ life that have assisted in molding him into the individual he currently is. He possesses the ability to intricately detail the situations he’s experienced with true precision, which at times can be uplifting and at other times gut-wrenching. No matter the basis of content, Connis doesn’t shy away from dictating exactly what he’s endured. Listening through this project almost feels as if you’re reading his personal journal — each entry tells a vastly different tale, yet flows seamlessly into the next.
“Still Here”, “Stubble”, and “Change Me” were some personal standouts off of Conn(is) for me, as each capture a variety of emotions that are difficult to put into words. With each listen, you really get to know who Connis is, which is something that lacks in a lot of the music released at this point in time. He’s made a name for himself by being himself, and for that Connis will always remain a formidable artist. I honestly can’t say enough about this album, as it will ultimately end up being one of the most memorable projects to ever come out of Massachusetts — and this isn’t an overstatement in the slightest bit. Experience it for yourself if you have not yet.
Watch the short film that Connis released prior to his album dropping here!
It’s been quite the 2019 so far for artists in Massachusetts, with individuals across the state working tirelessly to gain recognition for their talents. Leading the pack by example has been the city of Brockton. Just a couple of weeks ago, Luke Bar$ and Jiles dropped arguably the most potent project that the state has seen in the last few years. Quickly following in their footsteps is Lord Felix, who’s debut album In Bloom, Forever, is a sonic adventure that puts Brockton art on a pedestal.
The content of this project circulates around the various events that have occurred throughout Felix’s life that have molded him into the individual he currently is. Whether it be tumultuous relationships, the pursuit of his goals, or the things he witnessed throughout his adolescence, one parallel exists — Felix is going to continue to thrive in any situation he’s placed in. No matter the scenario, Lord Felix has an innate ability to find the silver lining, which has ultimately assisted him in becoming an extremely formidable person.
Recruiting some of his closest Brockton collaborators to help perfect the album (Jiles, MEECH, Clyde Black, Luke Bar$, Ricky Felix, and more), Lord Felix excelled at ensuring that each element of this release was meaningful. Each artist featured had some of their best performances on this project, only helping to reinforce the level of talent prevalent within this area.
“Love Is Fleeting, I Promise” serves as the introduction to In Bloom, Forever, and was certainly a favorite amongst the Graduation Music staff. Full of light-hearted, peaceful guitar rifts and a wondrous vocal performance, it’s here where new listeners can grow accustomed to the vibrant “aura” that Lord Felix possesses:
“You know that the aura so infectious // I make sure that you cannot forget me”
Lord Felix – “Love Is Fleeting, I Promise”
One of the most notable aspects of In Bloom, Forever is the seemingly “random” placement of emotion within the track-list. For example “Blue Valentine” is a short offering that serves as almost a vent session for Lord Felix. The single-verse interlude is layered with Felix’s true feelings about the unclear relationship he has with someone, and just as he’s about to let go of the truth, the track swiftly cuts into “Off Fifth”, a braggadocios song where Lord Felix, Notebook P, and Clyde Black talk their shit. After this, “The Worst Summer Ever” begins which is based around the hardships that Lord Felix endured throughout a specific summer. Bouncing back and fourth between seriousness and light-heartedness, Lord Felix’s In Bloom, Forever serves as a microcosm for the impermanence of life. Tomorrow is going to be vastly different than today, and it’s all about embracing this fact so that we can go into the future with our best foot forward.
Lord Felix has been one of the most hardworking artists in the state for years now, and he’s put everything he’s learned and experienced into In Bloom, Forever. Setting the bar absurdly high for artists in Massachusetts from here-on-out, get hip to Lord Felix now before he’s an international icon.
Moving from a brighter, upbeat tone towards a more self-reflective direction is the Duxbury band, Surfliner, who grace the Graduation Music pages today with their debut project, KISKA LP. Making their presence known across the world through the release of their first three singles, Surfliner have found themselves at an extremely vital point within their musical careers. An artist’s debut project is one of their most important pieces of work, with it ultimately being what a lot of listeners will remember them by. With the ball in their court, Surfliner are prepared to prove that they have what it takes to bring their music to the next level.
“Foolish Heart” is the first song off of the LP, and it’s here that Surfliner gently ease into the sonic experience. It’s one of the many songs featured on this project that quite literally draws you in closer, similar to moving towards a fire when its freezing cold. As was the case with their first three singles, “Foolish Heart” is accompanied by exquisite instrumentation that allows for a plethora of emotion to be evoked.
As the LP continues further, listeners are met by even more harmonically-rich, well-rounded songs that are the direct result of lengthy periods of learning. A lot of amazing music comes as the direct result of life experience, and it’s overwhelmingly apparent that this was the case with Surfliner as they prepared their debut project.
From here, the LP continues down this reflective, yet smooth-sounding path, with each song engraining itself into the fabric of the listener’s mind. This project is very comparable to Jack Karowak’s Treehouse Audio, in a sense that the instrumentation is the pivotal point for the entirety of the project. With it being so robust, the vocal work is able to be received at an even higher caliber, ensuring that the meaning within this LP isn’t lost. My favorite attribute of KISKA LP is the fact that Surfliner is able to piece together a number of well put-together tracks that seamlessly build off of the last.
We’ve said it a countless amount of times, but the bar for Massachusetts artists has been continuously raised thus far in 2019. With bands like Surfliner only pushing this narrative further, artists across the state will be in need of some thorough development to make sure their name remains relevant as the year progresses. If you find yourself unfamiliar with Surfliner’s discography, get hip now before it’s too late.
Just look at 2016’s Mass Ave & Lennox for proof — Avenue is undeniably one of the coldest rappers in Boston right now. Equipped with chilling rhymes and ominous, unforgiving tales of street life, he never fails to paint a vivid picture with his lyrics, and further so, he never misses, holding consistency as perhaps his most deadly weapon. Today, Avenue takes the spotlight back alongside Deon Chase for an incredible new album, Nightfall.
9 tracks long, this project is devoid of any fluff, jam-packing every second with charismatic tales of life after the sun goes down. The features from Hil Holla, Bodega Bamz, and Willie The Kid complement these themes of restlessness and unwavering confidence to an emphatic extent, and the result is a dense project that calls for no extra response other than to be spun back, again and again. Nightfall is the jackpot for storytelling rap, and Avenue & Deon Chase are the hard-earned winners.