It’s been nearly a week since Kadeem unveiled Passing Exchange — a 5-track visual project that features some of the most remarkable raps to come out of the city of Boston in recent memory. From start to finish, Kadeem exudes thought-provoking lyricism that manages to connect with the listener at their core. Each individual bar leaves a lasting impression, as the Mattapan native provides yet another example of the high caliber of art that’s being pieced together in our own backyard.
According to Kadeem’s Bandcamp page, Passing Exchange is only the tip of the iceberg with respect to what’s to come:
This project is meant to be my steppingstone. I’ve always used music as an outlet, but for mostly thoughts rather than emotions. This project is my first attempt at beginning to break through. A quick-lived glimpse into what my journey will offer. During your listen, I hope it sparks anything. I hope you continue to create as your spirit intends.
Via Kadeem (Bandcamp)
Helping to catch the pure essence of each of these songs are filmmakers JR Alexander and Colin Pagnoni, who’ve successfully displayed why they’re some of the most capable within their craft that Massachusetts has to offer. Kadeem has always been applauded for his distinctive discography, however each passing moment of Passing Exchange brings the viewer a step closer towards knowing who Kadeem really is. Whether it be shots of him cooking some breakfast at home, or sipping Hennessy on Morton St., both JR and Colin manage to capture the essence of these raps — and Kadeem — in a wholistic fashion.
Typically, I like to point out standout tracks on every body of work that I discuss, however doing so here would be foolish as Passing Exchange is more of an experience than simply just an EP or mixtape. I strongly urge every one of you to play each of these tracks in their entirety, in the order that they’re presented so that the true experience may be retained.
Watch the Passing Exchange visuals below:
Direction by JR Alexander + Colin Pagnoni
Production by bza, no.pulp, Jeff Alan Gore, useeit, and Skunkz
Brockton, Massachusetts has played a sort of mitochondrial role within the Bay State’s music scene over the last year or two, with notable acts such as DTheFlyest and Van Buren Records spreading the City of Champions’ influence far beyond its borders. Attached with this surge in music coming out of the Brockton area has been an influx of truly profound artists that — together — have assisted in shining a light on the diverse landscape of music that exists within Massachusetts. Helping to validate this statement is Premo.Dee, who recently gifted his listeners with his first project — Satellite.Blvd.
Since releasing his first song more than two years ago, Premo.Dee has been making strides with respect to developing his sound. His recent string of releases prior to Satellite.Blvd were extremely promising, as each showcased a different side of Premo’s artistic capabiities. Satellite.Blvd is where he really ties everything together, with each of the EP’s five tracks being a fitting addition to his discography.
Featuring Van Buren’s Saint Lyor, Lord Felix, and Jiles, in addition to James Boy — Premo.Dee included the perfect cast of individuals to bring this body of work to fruition. Some notable standouts on this release are “Watch It” and “How We Get Here” as both of these songs do a superb job at detailing why Premo.Dee is as promising as an artist as he is. If you’re a fan of Satellite.Blvd, be sure to listen to Premo’s verse on Briefcvse’s new album as well.
Wherever you find yourself in this current moment — close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Think about the moments in your life that have brought you tremendous amounts of joy and tranquility. Search for that peace that lies within you. Can you feel it yet? That overwhelming sensation of joy that seemingly seizes control of whatever negative emotion that surrounds you? It’s beautiful isn’t it? Let all of your problems and worries melt away. Even if you only close your eyes for five seconds, you’ll notice a tremendous amount of change in how you’re feeling.
This change in thought is what drives Plymouth’s Jack Karowak to make music. No matter who you are, or what you’re going through — we all need a break from the daily challenges that we endure throughout the course of our lives. The Myth of the Mechanical Universe serves as a sonic embodiment of this. Sitting at 9 songs and approximately 27 minutes in length, Jack Karowak’s latest release seeks to provide the listener with the motivation to be in full-control of their lives, and subsequently their destiny. Though this is only the second body of work to be released by Jack up through this point in time, it packs the depth of someone who’s had an incredibly long tenure in music.
I took some time to speak with the Plymouth native about what motivated The Myth of the Mechanical Universe, how Ricky Felix and Brad Feeney played a role in the project’s inception, and his path towards showcasing a free-range of emotion in his discography.
When starting your journey towards the creation of ‘The Myth of the Mechanical Universe’, what were some of your early goals with respect to how you envisioned this album?
Jack: Sonically, I wanted it to embody all the elements of music that I love the most. I wanted it to sound refreshing to the listener and provide an experience you wouldn’t really find on any other album. Another goal of mine was to show a side of me that wasn’t fully expressed in my first project. I wanted this one to really show the range in my music
What were some of your sources of inspiration when making this project?
Jack: I was listening to a lot of philosophical/spiritual lectures from Alan Watts, Ram Dass, Terrence McKenna, and Hunter Thompson. Musically, I was inspired by people like Lauryn Hill, Earl, John Mayer, and a lot of old blues and soul music. I also drew a lot of inspiration from horror movies, specifically A24.
There’s a long list of names attached with the creation of this album, however both Ricky Felix and Brad Feeney were staples throughout the entire project’s tracklist. How did they assist you in molding the sonic structure of ‘The Myth of the Mechanical Universe’?
Jack: This project wouldn’t exist without Ricky and Brad. I linked up with Ricky for the first time about a year ago, and right when he started playing me shit I knew our sounds would mix perfectly. Ricky is a great producer because he started off the session by asking questions, trying to get a clear picture of the idea in my head. He wanted to help me make my project, not *just* a project. Brad has been the homie, and my engineer, for about 4 years now. I recorded the both of my projects with him, slowly but surely finding my sound and figuring out how to execute ideas in the studio. I got nothing but love for that man, he’s been putting up with me calling his phone, waking him up for 9AM sessions every other day for the past 2.5 years hahaha
What’s music-making process typically like? Do you prefer any specific settings when writing?
Jack: Yeah I definitely like to be alone when I’m writing, I feel like the more people there are, the further my attention gets spread and pulled around. When I’m alone I can really settle into an idea and move freely inside that train of thought.
If you had to single out one song from this album as being your favorite, or the one that you want fans to listen to the most, which would you pick?
Jack: I’d have to say Playing in traffic. That song felt like it made itself. Writing it was very therapeutic and I had never articulated my feelings in lyrics so easily. It almost felt like I was singing along to it as I was writing it. Not to mention pfey laid down an incredible bass line on that track
Has it always been easy for you to pour your real life emotions and experiences into your music?
Jack: I think so because emotion has always been the thing that drew me to music. Regaurdless of the story I always looked for and admired authenticity in artists. Emotion is the thing that connects the artist and the listener and if your trying to cover up certain regions of your emotion then you cheat everyone involved
How would you say being from Plymouth, and Massachusetts in general, has effected you as a person, and subsequently the music you create?
Jack: I think it’s inspired me to just create the shit I’m into. Growing up in MA there wasn’t a huge music scene to look up to, so I pulled my inspirations from all over the place, their only consistency being that they resonated with me. Now the city is starting to get a little bigger on the map and it’s beautiful. There’s a big collaborative mentality, and one person’s success is celebrated by all. I think the main effect it had on me was teaching me to trust my ear.
What do you want your listeners to get from your musical catalog? What message do you want to relay on ‘The Myth of the Mechanical Universe’?
Jack: I hope the listeners get whatever they need, whether it’s just a three minute escape from their own head, or they end up walking away with new ideas about life. Listening to Ram Dass, I noticed that another person introducing new ways of thought provides you with the freedom to identify with it, and see yourself from a whole new perspective. The message behind TMOTMU, to put it simply, is don’t be Mechanical. Mechanical means you ain’t thinking about what your doing, you’re just bouncing around imaginary social structures and reacting to life as opposed to responding to it. You ain’t in the moment and using your full awareness. The Myth is that nature is the same way but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
What’s next for you?
Videos and merch otw ✌🏽
Listen to The Myth of The Mechanical Universe below:
Brevin Kim, a duo of brothers from the Greater Boston area, release “swim!” and announce that they have a collab EP with Lil West that’s set to drop this upcoming Friday.
Consistent with the majority of the pair’s discography, both Bren and Cal play somewhat of a balancing act throughout “swim!”. Bren sings with an overwhelmed, almost aching torment that revolves around the various hurdles that life throws one’s way. Just when his thoughts seem to spiral out of control, Cal arrives with the important reminder to “swim” as Bren belts out, “it’s hard to forget, when you’re focused on forgetting”. Not only does their lyricism evoke a vast amount of emotion, but the manner in which they deliver these lyrics takes that feeling and expands it exponentially. In short, “swim!” is a powerful anecdote that emphasizes the necessity to persevere through the depths of life’s tumultuous moments. No matter how bad things may seem — we can never give up.
More than four years since the initial debut of the song, Nick Gray has finally unleashed the official music video for his timeless single “Slow Motion”.
This track in particular comes attached with an extreme level of nostalgia for me, being that it was one I played a countless amount of times when I first started working at UMass Amherst’s 91.1 WMUA. Despite the song’s age — and the amount of times that I’ve played it — I found myself watching the video for “Slow Motion” and falling in love with the record all over again.
Ryan Schaefer, who shot, edited, and assisted with direction on this visual, really knocked this project out of the park. A listen through “Slow Motion” is highly comparable to day dreaming — in a sense that the listener feels transported to an entirely different time and place. This hypnotic, yet powerful feeling is wonderfully represented in this video, making it one of the more prominent music video releases that I’ve seen in some time.
Watch the official music video for “Slow Motion” below:
When speaking of raw authenticity within the circuit of Massachusetts music, it’d be difficult not to include Boston rapper BoriRock in the conversation. Since coming on to my radar last year with the music video for “La Vida”, BoriRock has developed a truly dominant artistic presence. His ability to portray Boston street life through his raps is second to none, and as time has progressed he’s successfully pieced together a formidable catalog of music like no other.
“MOSHPIT” is the latest component of this musical catalog, which features a verse from Coke Boyz-affiliate Swipey. Cambridge’s Maka was responsible for the production on this single, and while he’s typically known for his more tropical/soothing sound, “MOSHPIT” serves as proof that he’s capable of making hard-hitting drill beats as well.
While the song itself is already well-done, Henry McGowan truly outdid himself here with respect to the direction of this music video. Each word that BoriRock utters comes attached with a sense of regality, and this sentiment is represented perfectly as he raps with Massachusetts casino Encore as his backdrop. If this is the first time you’re hearing of BoriRock, I strongly urge you to dive deeper into his discography, as “MOSHPIT” is merely the tip of the iceberg with respect to the amount of solid music he has within his discography.
Watch the official music video for “MOSHPIT” below:
When it comes to crafting one’s own sound, there aren’t many artists within the state of Massachusetts — or elsewhere for that matter — that can compete with Pistola. The Boston rapper’s latest single “Sellin’ Dreams” certainly helps to reinforce this statement, as Pistola delivers yet another undeniable track for his listeners.
Known mostly for his past singles “Swang” and “P.I.S.T.O.L.A.”, Pistola is no stranger when it comes to the Massachusetts music community. He’s never been one to shy away from experimenting within his catalog of music, something that’s ultimately been a key factor in his overall development as an artist. Utilizing a sound like feels almost intergalactic, time and time again Pistola manages to float on each instrumental that crosses his path with ease. In my eyes, he’s been making his best music as of late, with both “Sellin’ Dreams” and “Disstracktoeverybodyidontlike” being living proof that Pistola is more determined than ever to make exceptional music.