Ven – ‘Ventige’ EP

By: Shamus Hill 

Making his debut onto the Graduation Music pages today is Boston’s own, Ven, with the release of his two-song EP titled Ventige. I was first introduced to the tranquil-sounding rapper by the homie Sammy over at Selfmade Designs, and since diving into his music there’s been absolutely no turning back. Following the drop of Ventige, it’s apparent that Ven is willing to do whatever it takes to prove to everyone around him that he has what it takes to see his goals through.

That said, dubbing himself as the “Basquiat of the rap game”, Ven is on a mission to transform aspects of hip-hop’s original roots into some new art that entangles itself within the current fabric of modern culture. What really drew me towards Ven’s music at first was the nonchalant feeling that can be derived from both his raps and melodies. As one continues to listen deeper into his discography though, the seriousness of his wordplay begins to be revealed, and despite facing choppy seas during specific periods of his life, Ven has come out the other end unscathed, fully prepared to share his experiences with the world. As the young rapper continues to develop as time progresses, it’s going to be exciting to witness how his musical abilities grow.

Don’t hesitate to show Ven some love on his latest project, especially considering that he’s living proof of the fact that our area is only continuing to blossom. As new artists emerge from the cracks on the daily, the future of the music scene in the state of Massachusetts is only getting brighter. If you find yourself liking the sound present on Ventige, I highly recommend taking the time to listen-through Ven’s prior project titled U • FAME • ISMS, as it offers feels which are very reminiscent of this release.

Stream OfficialVen’s new EP titled Ventige below:

Nick Gray Speaks on Brand New ‘Bittersweet’ EP

By: Shamus Hill 

This past weekend, Massachusetts’ own Nick Gray released his sophomore project, Bittersweet — an introspective EP that seamlessly balances wonderful sounds and genuine meaning. One of the most outstanding aspects of Nick Gray’s artistry is his innate ability to speak on life experience in a manner that’s borderline addicting to listen to, and while Gray’s entire discography is filled with these profound talking points, his latest effort brings this sentiment one step forward, marking some of his best artistic progression to date. Alongside the main act here, we need to dish out some well-deserved shoutouts to Shame, BBY J, RolexDaytona, 10Fifty, and FlashBeats for their phenomenal work on production throughout Bittersweet. Watching how Gray’s sound has developed with time has been an absolute privilege to see, and it’s safe to say that Nick Gray is only going to continue to blossom in the future.

To honor the occasion, I took a few moments to speak with Nick about the meaning behind the Bittersweet EP, and some of what he’s learned throughout his tenure as an artist. Read all about it down below:

What is the meaning behind naming this project Bittersweet?

I’ve noticed you can’t have all good without something going bad. Putting time into one thing means less time for another. It’s sweet for the thing you’re putting time into but, bitter for the other. And that’s what I’ve been feeling lately. It’s life I guess.

Money appears to be a large portion of your motivation on Bittersweet, but what else drives you to be the artist/person that you are? 

Emotion. Seeing things get done. Seeing people be affected by things I do for a positive outcome. I wanna take care of people. It’s just who I am as a person. A provider. I’m selfish for my side. Deeper down though, maybe it’s a flaw, but I want to feel of value. That I have worth. I think it’s a general human thing to feel like that. But, I guess the things I do are because I’m trying to appease that feeling.

Prior to the start of working on this EP, what did you want your listeners to take-away from this body of work? Did it pan out as you had hoped? 

I just wanted to give people stuff I like listening too. Stuff I enjoy making. The stuff I make stems from emotion, even if it is just about money or hustling. I also wanted to put some deeper personal stuff in it. It’s tucked away behind the metaphors but if you can break through them you’ll see who I am. I’m hyped on the outcome. All the tracks hit exactly how I wanted.

Despite the use of an array of producers on this project, you still managed to achieve a formidable sound that develops throughout the entirety of this project. What were you looking for in terms of production on this project? 

I don’t really ever have an overall whole sound I’m thinking of. I just listen to beats and if they hit I make a song. Once I get enough songs that hit on sort of the same wave, I see how I can put them together. I like emotional slaps hahaha. I like bangers and stuff I can get introspective on. I think this project has a little of everything.

How has Massachusetts/Boston helped to mold you into the being that you currently are?

I grew up in MA my whole life. In the cold ass winter. Having to work outside, then moving to the city and learning how to navigate the underworlds and inner workings of it. It’s made me appreciate some things I’d taken for granted and also showed me sides of human nature I hadn’t previously seen. I think it’s turning me into exactly who I want to be.

You’ve been making high-quality music for a very lengthy period of time now. If you could give a single piece of advice to younger artists, what would that be? 

Don’t try to do everything yourself. Find what you’re good at and get better at it. Everything costs money in this world and making your music into a finished product is no different. If you truly believe in yourself, you’ll invest in yourself.

Stream Nick Gray’s Bittersweet EP below:

Click here to stream on all other platforms

Jovian Martian – ‘Sailor’s Pick’ [EP]

By: Seamus Fay

The name Jovian Martian, also known as Jovian Marshon, has been floating around near me for quite some time, but admittedly, I’ve never really taken the chance to listen to his music until now. There was never any specific reason as to why I wasn’t hip, but now that I finally have given Martian a chance, I must say, he holds some serious promise for the future. Today, the rising talent makes his Graduation Music debut and hits our pages with a brand new EP entitled Sailor’s Pick.

4 tracks long, this highly energetic and deeply entertaining project lets listeners know precisely why Jovian Martian needs to be known. His deliveries are confident, and backed by a melodic sonic direction and solid lyricism to keep things interesting, each song on this project hits with a similar ability to keep fans locked in for every second of its duration. At the moment, “Her World” and “Too Late” are my two favorites on the EP, but the more I listen, the more I realize that every track is in a close competition to be the best.

That said, Jovian Martian outdid himself with this one, so be sure to show some love and click play on Sailor’s Pick at the link provided below!

Production by JGONTHEKEYS, Smackdown Beats, Fly Melodies

Cousin Stizz – ‘Cold Times’ [EP]

By: Seamus Fay

Representing Boston with an endless supply of hits, Cousin Stizz has been applying some serious full-court pressure in all of 2018. Just a few weeks back, he blessed us with a three-track EP entitled All Adds Up, and today, he’s here to drop off yet another trio of heaters with Cold Times, housing the songs “Made”, “Butterfly”, and “Brain Freeze”. At the core of the project, Stizz reflects on his rise from the mud to the mountaintops, grateful and energetic as ever. He translates his determination to keep working hard into a collection of anthems that any listener can find inspiration from, and in doing so, reminds us all why he’s starting to realize his full potential as a bona fide star in the world of rap.

That said, sonically, Cold Times represents an important moment for Stizz. As it seems, looking at the last 6 tracks that he has dropped, the Fields Corner native has truly found the sonic direction in which his talents are best applicable. Doused in ethereal, ice-cold melodies and crisp drum patterns, he navigates his way through booming 808s, doing so on his own terms with a diamond-flashing grin to light the way. Stizz really made it, and Cold Times tells listeners that they can do it, too. Especially in rap today, it can feel as though artists are flexing at you rather than doing anything to inspire you, but with our favorite cousin, he always takes listeners right by his side and shows them the way that things can be if we just believe and put in the work.

This is a stellar release to keep the stocks on an insuppressible rise, so show some love to Boston’s own and listen to Cold Times at the link below!

Cam Meekins – ‘Yellow’ [EP]

By: Seamus Fay

Turning some heads and providing an undeniable anthem with the release of his new song, “Big Joints”, Cam Meekins has been in heavy rotation as of late. Quite apparently, he’s making some of the best music of his life and having ample amounts of fun doing it, so much so that this infectious joy translates right into the Boston-bred artist’s new EP, Yellow. If there’s any project that symbolizes a moment of pure, heart-led artistry, it has to be this one, as Meekins so passionately shows a love for what he does with his latest project. “Big Joints” was a heater in and of itself, but listening to the full EP, it clearly shows that he has even more heat to keep the hot streak coming.

With this, over the span of just 4 tracks, Yellow is able to paint a clear picture of the life that Meekins has been living as of late. What the EP lacks in length it makes up for in soul, offering up hearty deliveries and bellowing vocals that show vivid accounts of what life consists of for the rising talent — and quite frankly, it seems like a great time. Communicating these themes by way of addictive runs and unforgettable lyrics, each and every track on this one is destined to get stuck in your head with ease, even with all of the major rap releases that came out this Friday (at the moment, “Crazy” is stuck on the brain).

Needless to say, Cam Meekins is ready to do some serious numbers with this project, so be sure to show some love and click play on Yellow at the link below!

Maka & Durkin – ‘Waterproof’ [EP]

By: Seamus Fay

When it comes to the finest of duos in music right now, two of Massachusetts’ own, Maka and Durkin, simply need to come to mind. They proved themselves to be a powerful pair in all of the tropical glory of Another Island, and today, following up the lead single “Malie“, this Jordan-Pippen team is back to drop off yet another collaborative project entitled Waterproof. And quite frankly, it’s some of their finest work to date. I didn’t know how much better it could get from Another Island, but they’ve outdone themselves, and I can’t wait for you to hear.

That being said, over the course of 9 songs, the latest from Maka and Durkin finds them at their most polished forms to date. Durkin’s production brings out the best in Maka, and by riding each beat with an equal supply of effortlessness and melodic touch, Maka makes the most of these addictive sonic backgrounds. One heater after another, this EP brings to fruition a dance-inspiring mood that you simply can’t help but fall in love with, and at its core, it’s an incredibly fun project for listeners to keep on repeat during any and all upcoming functions they may have.

Listen to Waterproof at the link below and hear Maka and Durkin making some of the best music of their careers!

Alejandro Blanco – ‘Risky Business’ [EP]

By: Seamus Fay

Massachusetts offers an incredibly wide range of talented artists, and our goal here at Graduation Music is to shed light on as many of these acts as possible and get our readers hip to the next stars out of MA. That said, when it comes to the music scene in the state, one artist artist that you simply have to make sure you know goes by the name of Alejandro Blanco. You may remember him from the stellar project, AUGU$T, but even if you don’t, you should understand that this rising talent has been relentlessly churning out hits for quite some time now. He’s on a rapid ascent to the top, and making his case arrives a brand new EP today entitled Risky Business.

8 tracks long, this project is doused in the very artistic elements that made us fall in love with Alejandro Blanco’s music in the first place. His vocals remain at the intersection of sharp and smooth as ever, while lyrically, Blanco has only improved from his past offerings. Sonically, Risky Business finds its identity within the first three tracks, and from there, Blanco is able to remain is his bag while balancing a beautifully cohesive set of sounds on the production side of things at the very same time. In this way, the project is incredibly well put together, so make sure you show some love and click play at the link below. Alejandro Blanco is ready to be a star.

Production by LDG Beats, Love2x, SOUNDSBLVCEY, MORSHABZZ, Ricky Flaire, RoxburySound, and YOUNGINTRUE