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
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.
Fresh off of a groundbreaking 2019 that ultimately resulted in an R&B Artist of the Year Award (Boston Music Awards), the ever-so-talented $ean Wire is prepared to unveil his most notable body of work yet, Internal Dialect, tonight at midnight.
“Pull Up” served as the second single to debut from the album, and was accompanied by an extremely well thought out visual — the first that $ean Wire has released up through this point in his career. Both the song and the Creek-directed video do a superb job at capturing the pure essence of who $ean Wire is as an individual, and it appears as if he’s only growing more comfortable with respect to opening up to his listeners about his personal life experience. Living proof of the fact that authenticity and originality will always prevail, $ean Wire is assuredly the next talented artist to blow out of Massachusetts.
Simply put, it’s ridiculously difficult to find an artist of $ean Wire’s caliber, and tonight he’s going to prove exactly why this sentiment rings true.
If you haven’t yet, watch the official music video for $ean Wire’s “Pull Up” below:
This upcoming Monday, December 30th, is set to be an incredible one as Chase Murphy will be headlining ‘The Roaring 20s’ at the Brighton Music Hall alongside both Swooli and Packy Marciano. Each of these Massachusetts-born artists are in possession of sensational discographies, so the Graduation Music staff thought that it’d only be right to select a few tracks that fans should familiarize themselves with prior to Monday night. If you consider yourself a fan of the local music scene, then this event is definitely a must-see, with each of these talents being some of the most reputable that our area has to offer.
Chase Murphy – “Miami Vices”
Featured on his latest project, Long Winters, “Miami Vices” is one of our favorite Chase releases to-date. While the majority of his songs make use of a pop-infused sound, this project allowed the Brookline native to experiment more with the Hip-Hop side of his artistry, which ultimately resulted in a project that his highly-pleasurable to listen to.
Swooli – “Millennial 20s”
Swooli’s “Millennial 20s” dropped towards the end of this past September, and is an excellent preview of what fans will see this Monday, as the music video literally shows Swooli performing with natural grace. He relays an infectious energy throughout each of his songs, and this feeling will only be amplified once he touches the stage at the Brighton Music Hall.
Packy Marciano – “Perfect”
More than 2 years since it’s release, Packy Marciano’s “Perfect” is quite literally that, perfect. He’s released a handful of tracks since Side Effects dropped, however this one will always be the first I think of when it comes to Packy. He’s consistently been one of the most electric performers that Massachusetts has to offer, so if you’ve yet to see this Brockton native on stage then there’s no better time than now.
Neither $ean Wire or Gibson (formerly known as Tropicana Bwoy) are strangers to the Boston music scene, as the pair have spent years cultivating their unique sound alongside numerous talents throughout the Boston area. Some may recognize Gibson for his multiple producer placements or even from his former days as a party thrower in his parents Allston garage, whilst others may recognize $ean from his deep discography and collaborations. No matter how it’s framed, it’s safe to say that the two are heavily involved in the local scene.
It’s already been an incredible year for the pair, with $ean having been nominated in multiple categories for this year’s Boston Music Awards, and for the both of them gaining major exposure with a Cousin Stizz placement. It’s without a doubt that they’re both on the path towards great accomplishments.
Possessing a unique and natural bond, it was only right to capture the duo together. I was lucky enough to sit down with these old friends of mine — huddled intimately in their home studio space — to talk about their process, intention, and outlook towards the future.
Where are you from?
$ean: I was born in Newton, and I moved to Dorchester when I was 2. I’ve been a Dorchester baby ever since.
Gibson: The hospital was in Stoneham, but I’ve been in Allston all my life.
How did the two of you meet?
$ean: I met you (Gib) through Najee.
Najee’s like the key to a lot of things. He linked a lot of people together.
Gib: It’s so weird how it all happened. I liked to wear — you know my collared shirts tucked into the khakis — you know that’s just what I did. That’s what I liked to do — with the stripes and the flowers and everything. I’m in the bathroom at school and while I was p*ssing this guy is like “Hey I like your style”
I turn around — I didn’t know him and it’s Najee and I’m like “Oh thank you man.” And he’s wearing a snapback and a hoodie.
Then one whole year later he stops me at the bus stop and he’s like “Listen man can I just hug you. I gotta hug you man you’re great” and I was kinda shy but I was touched. No one told me that before.
And then one day in the hallway he was like “I bet you make music” and I was like “Yeah I kinda do” and I showed him this really weird beat. I was trying to be like Hudson Mohawk at the time and I showed him this beat in that period and he was like “Yo this was the best beat I’ve ever heard” and I was like, “Okay, you’re crazy — that’s mad dramatic, but thank you.” and he asked me to come to his house and we just started hanging out.
You know a few months later he went to Seans school.
$ean: When you dapped me up your hand was mad wet. The dap you gave me was mad off. After that dap I was just like iight..you cool. I remember you had the Dark World hoodie on. That was like Super Saiyan 1 Gibby.
Gib: Yeah, and after that we were just coming here every week to make music.
$ean: Yup, we would be here everyday. It would be hot as sh*t in here. No fan. We would just be going back to back to back.
Gib: This is like 10th/11th grade and it really picked up senior year.
I love how organic that is and it even leads into my next question about the music — how was it creating the DEAR project and how was the process similar to or different than working on HIM$?
$ean: The process with HIM$ was really fun. Like I said before, it was really just us having fun in the room. Making beats, jumping around, and acting a fool. Versus
DEAR was done in like two months. It was really like “let’s bang this out”. At the time I hadn’t released music in a while because I had been in a management situation where it was just like they wanted us to write and build. I spent some time ghostwriting and Gib was producing for some other artists.
DEAR was really a sweet process. I was going through a real dark time from 2017 into 2018. I feel like DEAR was the conclusion of a heavy mindset. I lost my uncle, I got hit by a car, I lost mad memory and was forgetting song lyrics.
I met my girlfriend — well I knew her for a grip, but I got with her and she inspired a lot of the records too. It was just a lot of life changing moments in DEAR and in that whole process. I found out a lot about myself and I just expressed it as much as I could in the music.
So the difference between HIM$ and DEAR is that HIM$ was just like me having fun versus DEAR I was having fun but I was also giving a real message of who I am to myself.
Gib: There was a reason for making it. HIM$ was kind of like “huh we don’t have like an album yet”.
How was it being apart of the Stizz project, Trying To Find My Next Thrill?
$ean: That experience was so stressful but so fun. Let me give you the whole story.
Gib: You got the story?
$ean: I got the story. This is what happened. Sebastian Mikael had a tour date in New York at Baby’s All Right and I had to get to New York. At the time it was snowing like crazy and I had to record a Stizz verse and send it to Tim.
Gibson: No no no you started too late.
So I was in Atlanta working for Jeezy — I was hanging out with Jeezy and some of his people & making music.
$ean: Let em know!
Gibson: I was there for 14 days, and I felt I wasn’t meeting a lot of people. I felt like I could get more — so I took a chance.
I had heard of this guy Tim, Tim Larew, who manages Stizz and I reached out to him just off the cuff completely. I was like maybe he can help me out I want to meet people. So I DM’d him like “Yo who do you know in Atlanta that I could f*ck with — I’m here for a little while and I’m tryna make it happen”. And he was like “Yo I love you and Sean’s music so much — Stizz is working on an album, please send anything that has an open verse thats you and Sean. Please send it right now.” That was the end of the DM, nothing to do with Atlanta. I was like word I got you. And then like right then I sent him ($ean) a few beats, I told him what it was and he was like okay let’s go.
$ean: He sent me like three or four beats. I was kind of stressed out because I was having like the illest writers block and that is the worst thing when it’s crunch time and an opportunity comes. Still, I was in my room and I wrote at least eight verses.
$ean: You know how I be.
Gib: There was a deleted verse for Soso?
$ean: Plenty. So I did that & Gib came back and we recorded it with Christian Yoon. and the next day I had to go to New York.
Gib: It happened mad organic.
$ean: Tim and Stizz are just cool and genuine dudes and they’re about the culture, making good music, having fun with it and being smart with your decisions.
How does it feel being in Boston — in your hometown, after putting out two full projects and having this Stizz placement?
$ean: It feels good. It’s definitely a boost of confidence. It was so many days we would be in here like what are we doing. We would get frustrated.
Gibson: I was frustrated, but I would fake try to hype you up.
$ean: We’ve had multiple conversations where its just like damn sh*ts not moving cuz Gib was in school at McGill and I don’t blame you because shit wasn’t moving and we weren’t getting exposure like that.
So that’s really the difference now. It’s a lot of love, people are seeing the growth in the music and me as a person and Gib as a person. It just feels more welcoming — the love is immaculate.
Gib: Everyone says congratulations. I’m mad humbled. I get emotional. A stranger will be like “Ohh you’re gib I heard you got that shit on Stizz’s album.”
$ean: My cheekbones are hurting.
It was dope for me to see really. I saw Stizz’s story and there was a billboard in my neighborhood. Me and my boy Nick went to go see it. So being part of that has just been an amazing experience.
Have y’all been doing music full time or are you planning on it?
$ean: I’ve been doing music full time since 2016. I’ve only had two jobs in my whole life.
I was really trying to force myself to be great at what I do. I didn’t want to come in second place, I don’t want to ask for handouts — I just wanted my work to speak for itself. If I walk in any door and they ask me to play them three songs, I know I have three songs they could f*ck with. And I never want to be a miss, ever, ever, ever. That’s definitely the mission.
Gib: I’m not in school anymore — I left, but I do some teaching and lecturing at the ICA for music, and some catering.
The lecturing is fun, and teaching. It’s just like these free classes for the teens who want to learn music, and want to make beats. It’s pretty fun. Teenagers are hard to engage but I think I might’ve got it. You know you can learn sh*t from anybody and I learned sh*t from these kids.
So whats next? It’s already been disclosed to me that yall are working on a new album is that safe to share?
$ean: I’m so proud of this upcoming project. I’ve never channeled this much energy into a tape before. It’s just great, great music. I’m very confident about this one. Both the delivery and timing are perfect. Now we’re just trying to get some videos out and get shit going. It’s an exciting chapter right now.
What impact are yall looking to leave? If any?
$ean: My whole end goal is to inspire the world — not even just the city but the world. I want to reach as many people as possible and for them to be like “Remember when Sean and Gib did that?” I just want to inspire because there’s a cycle of love in that.
Gib: I want to inspire people too.
If I can leave an impact I would say… patience is boring, but if you’re not thinking about it being boring — it’s fun.
Stream $ean Wire’s music and Gibson’s production below:
The Graduation Music staff is thrilled to present our readers with the official music video for Sleeping Bela’s brand new track, “Tidal”.
Simply put, this video consists of some of the best visual work that I’ve seen in the last several years. Daymian Mejia does a truly wondrous job at accurately capturing the precise feeling that can be derived from this track, as the video assists Sleeping Bela in making her already meaningful song mean that much more to the listener.
Sleeping Bela’s “Tidal” may be the first time you’ve heard of the young artist’s name, but it will most definitely not be the last. Not only is her vocal work top-tier, but her abstract lyricism hits its mark every single time. I’m a huge fan of her discography, and if you haven’t yet, definitely set aside some time to listen to Sleeping Bela’s music. For now, enjoy “Tidal”.
Chelsea’s Donald Grunge makes his long-awaited return to the Graduation Music site today with an incredibly hypnotic offering titled “Cantaloupe”.
Serving as the first addition to his discography since the December 2018 release of his ‘Cowboy Talk’ project, “Cantaloupe” features a soft-spoken, poised Grunge who makes use of some highly meticulous wordplay and melodies. Jonny Doobs was tasked with production here, and similar to their collaboration on “Time After Time” — “Cantaloupe” aligns as a solid example of Grunge’s multi-faceted artistry. Capable of making both boisterous, high-energy records alongside tracks that can accurately depict some of the more somber moments of life — there’s truly no telling which direction Grunge will take with each new addition to his musical catalog. No matter which path he takes, one thing remains consistent, and it’s that Donald Grunge simply fails to miss. Hopefully “Cantaloupe” is proof that the Chelsea native has more to come as 2019 comes to a close.
The combination of BoriRock and CAEV proves to be formidable as the pair recruit Henry McGowan to bring the official music video for “Out My Business” to life.
Not only do the both of these artists hail from Boston, but they’ve constructed highly-unique discographies that are entirely based in authenticity. BoriRock has been featured on the Graduation Music site a handful of times this year, and as each new song is released he exhibits tremendous growth in terms of his artistry. CAEV has been a relevant name within the Boston music scene for quite some time now, with 2019 being one of his most prominent years to date. He was actually responsible for putting me onto BoriRock in the first place, so I was extremely happy to see that they had collaborated on this release.
While I had always enjoyed both artists’ music separately, the duo prove to be even better when rapping side-by-side. “Out My Business” is one of the Graduation Music staff’s favorite releases up through this point in the year, so if you haven’t, be sure to give this video your undivided attention.
Watch the official music video for “Out My Business” below:
Boston’s J Wavy makes his debut onto the Graduation Music site today with the official music video for his highly-addictive single, “New Me”.
The audio for this release dropped a little more than three months ago, however “New Me” has managed to endure the test of time as J Wavy’s delectable, harmonically-rich style of delivery puts the listener into a trance time and time again. It isn’t often that we’re blessed with music that checks off all boxes, but this is exactly where we find ourselves today. Equipped with both intoxicating melodies and lyrical prowess — J Wavy’s skillset is of an extremely high level, and at the young age of 16, it appears as if he’s only just getting started.
Once again, Tanj comes through to provide an incredible visual that takes the song to entirely new heights. If you’ve been paying attention to any of his video work in 2019, you’ll notice two parallels: the first being that he’s one of the most talented videographers coming out of Massachusetts, and the second being that he’s quickly become one of the biggest talent-hunters within the Bay State. With each new project he works on, a brand new artist is put onto our radar, and there aren’t many individuals out here who possess the same effect.
J Wavy is only the latest artist from Massachusetts to construct a formidable sound, so be sure to be on the lookout for what he has coming next.
Watch the official music video for J Wavy’s “New Me” below:
The iLL Addicts have made a name for themselves through their boisterous energy, unparalleled chemistry, and undeniably fun music — with all of this being perfectly articulated in their brand new music video for “YSL”.
The single debuted towards the end of March this year, and since has been making rounds throughout the internet racking up nearly 100K plays up through this point in time. Each member of the group possesses a strikingly unique personality, however when combined together they unite to produce a force of positive energy that will legitimately put a smile on your face. If you’ve ever been blessed with the opportunity to see them perform live, you’ll know how accurate this statement truly is. Listening to each of their releases can be categorized as more of an experience than simply a listen, and it’s for this reason that I’m sure the iLL Addicts have a bright future ahead. With each passing year their talents have grown exponentially, so be sure to keep them on your radar as they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down their pace.
One of the best combinations that the city of Boston has to offer is Dun Dealy and BoriRock who consistently deliver powerful anecdotes related to street life within some of the city’s core neighborhoods.
The pair made their debut onto the Graduation Music site earlier this year with the official music video for “La Vida”, and are back today with an equally as impressive visual for “24”. Utilizing some captivating production at the hands of Chasey Peralta, both Dun Dealy and BoriRock execute their verses with severe precision, making this track some of the best work that they’ve put out up through this point in their careers. They both possess the ability to paint the scenery surrounding their raps with true precision and authenticity, which in turn has made me an incredibly big fan of their music. Be on the lookout for what they’ve got next to come, as 2019 has proven to be one of their most successful years yet.