[PREMIERE] Caliph – “King Liph Freestyle” [Prod. RELLWTHEWAVECAP]

[PREMIERE] Caliph – “King Liph Freestyle” [Prod. RELLWTHEWAVECAP]

By: Seamus Fay

In my time writing for Graduation Music, New Bedford artist Caliph has been one of only a few names that have stuck out and remained one of my favorite artists from the very start until now. Charged with an electrifying personality, a strong sense of passion, and both the lyrical and sonic direction to do some serious damage when on the mic, Caliph is always finding new ways to impress, as hit-making seems to come as an innate talent for him. Today, we’re proud to help remind the world of his prowess by premiering the budding star’s brand new release, “King Liph Freestyle”.

Produced by none other than RELLWTHEWAVECAP, this dense new offering takes fuel from an infectiously soulful instrumental. The unforgettable sample-based melody clashes against drums that hold no hesitation in garnering energy, and once everything meshes together, the final product is a hard-hitting beat that leaves a wide-open canvas for Caliph to do what he does best. Bar after bar, the New Bedford representative steps into the room and asserts his dominance, offering up an endless supply of clever lyricism that will have you flashing the stank face for every second of the song’s nearly 3 and a half minute duration. He covers a wide range of topics that justly sum up his personality, so much so that listeners will be sure never to forget Caliph’s name after this one.

Caliph absolutely snapped with his latest, so if you need a reminder as to why he’s ready for the top, I advise simply clicking play on “King Liph Freestyle” at the link below.

Produced by RELLWTHEWAVECAP
Mixed by Ryan Easter
Art by Caliph

And if you haven’t heard them already, peep the rest of the Free Liph freestyles at the link provided 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. 

WHYTRI – “GUESSWHOIDK” [Premiere]

WHYTRI – “GUESSWHOIDK” [Premiere]

By: Seamus Fay

Exuberant energy, passionate vocals, and charismatic personality. These are just three of the main traits that come to mind when trying to describe the relentless force that WHYTRI has become within Massachusetts’ budding music scene. Writing articles about his music in the past has always been both a pleasure and a privilege, as very few artists bring forth such intense bouts of illustrative, vivid feelings through their artistic expression. That being said, WHYTRI’s artistry has become increasingly refined and mastered through the lens of each successive release, and today, we here at Graduation Music are proud to help exhibit this rising talent in full form on his latest, Beato-produced offering, “GUESSWHOIDK”.

At its very core, the reason that this track seems to work so well is due to the unapologetic, spirited presence that comes to fruition within its reckless melodies and pounding drum patterns. The impassioned deliveries and melodic cadences from Tri himself shed light on his versatile talents as a vocalist, and by embracing the ominous sound of the instrumental on this one, he shows a clear understanding on how to make each bar as impactful as possible. With this, “GUESSWHOIDK” is an anthem of self-confidence and the value of treating yourself like a boss if you want to be a boss. The song doesn’t slow for anything or anyone, and WHYTRI clearly defies the idea of being held back by anyone who is in the way of his progression as both an artist and an individual.

That being said, this is yet another undeniable banger to add to the collection of hits that WHYTRI has given us in the past, so be sure to spin this one at the link below:

[PREMIERE] Marvelous Stefan – “On My Side” ft. Saint Lyor (Prod. Isaiah Valmont)

[PREMIERE] Marvelous Stefan – “On My Side” ft. Saint Lyor (Prod. Isaiah Valmont)

By: Seamus Fay

It comes as no surprise that Brockton is a hotbed of talent right now, filled to the brim with a number of standout acts that will undoubtedly be taking their careers to new heights as 2018 moves on. Among these artists are Marvelous Stefan, Saint Lyor, and Isaiah Valmont – three Graduation Music frequent flyers and inarguably three of Brockton’s finest talents out at the moment. Hearing them come together on a track would be nothing less than a privilege, and today, they’re here to bring that dream to life with a new single entitled “On My Side”, premiering via the Graduation Music SoundCloud.

Right off of the bat, this song proclaims both pace and energy, as Lyor and Stefan bounce off of another’s flows, going back and forth between smooth vocals and quick shipments of rap. By creating this stark contrast early on, the two are able to compliment Valmont’s hypnotic production and the burgeoning force of the drums – two elements that define the very essence of “On My Side” at its finest. With all of these features perfected to a common point of chemistry, it’s important to note that the lyrical content of the song decides who’s on Stefan and Lyor’s side, who’s pocket watching, and everything in between. They’re here to claim the top spots in MA rap, and no one is about to get in their way.

Listen to “On My Side” at the link below:

[PREMIERE] Keanyon – “Gundam” [Prod. IKnowShellz]

[PREMIERE] Keanyon – “Gundam” [Prod. IKnowShellz]

By: Seamus Fay

In a hard-hitting display of both personality and powerful mic presence, New Hampshire artist Keanyon is here to make his Graduation Music debut with a new single titled “Gundam”. This song may be our first exposure to the rising talent and his wide range of unique skills, but considering the sound and charismatic deliveries on this one, I feel confident in saying that we have yet another artist to start paying attention to in 2018. Before we come to a full conclusion, however, let’s unpack the single and just agree that for Keanyon, the stocks are rising, and rightfully so.

Featuring production from none other than local producer IKnowShellz, “Gundam” takes fans to an aggressive place, allowing full capacity for Keanyon to come in and take over with his unforgiving personality. It conjoins a gritty display of inimitable cadences with a knocking beat, making for a banger of a release from the first second to the last. With this, the song acts as direct proof that Keanyon could potentially be yet another standout player in the New England scene, so I wouldn’t sleep on him anytime soon.

Listen to “Gundam” at the link below:

[PREMIERE] LiBossi x Dan Esab – “Hearts and Flowers”

[PREMIERE] LiBossi x Dan Esab – “Hearts and Flowers”

By: Seamus Fay

Just a few weeks ago, an artist by the name LiBossi made his Graduation Music debut with an energetic single entitled “Cheryl David” – an anthemic offering and personally, one of my favorite songs to come out of the Boston area in recent months. Today, the Dorchester native makes his return to our pages with a brand new song, “Hearts and Flowers”, alongside London-based artist Dan Esab. The minute that LiBossi gave me a listen to this one prior to release, I knew that we had to do a Graduation Music premiere. “Hearts and Flowers” is quite simply something special.

The reason that I first fell in love with LiBossi’s sound was due to his unrivaled ability to bring lively energy to a song while maintaining a polished authenticity that not many artists can hold. He clearly showed an advanced artistry far beyond his years, and “Hearts and Flowers” follows this same trend. Its melodic textures and illustrative, bellowing soundscapes make for an unbelievable release in whole, and with this song as proof, it truly goes without saying that LiBossi and Dan Esab are the perfect duo.

From the first second to the last, this track acts as the perfect offering to bring listeners from the winter months into the spring, so don’t sleep. Listen to “Hearts and Flowers” below and embrace all of the passionate, infectious energy that both LiBossi and Esab bring to the table.

[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: