Benjy Ali – ‘Grace’ [EP]

By: Shamus Hill

The versatility prevalent within the music exiting Brockton, Massachusetts is staggering to say the least. It makes sense that the city is dubbed “The City of Champions” given the exorbitant amount of high-level musicians that have their foundations set in this area. Adding his name to this roster of individuals is Benjy Ali, who just recently shared the first component of his discography — Grace.

The 3-song EP rests just shy of 10 minutes, however do not let this fool you into thinking that Grace is something that’s meant to be breezed through. Each singular song carries extreme depth, showcasing the multi-faceted artist that Benjy Ali is at his core. Full of lush harmonies that are crossed with some truly masterful production, Grace is substantial from every view point. Benjy carves in and out of the underlying instrumental with the strength and precision of a fighter jet dancing amongst the clouds. He intertwines deep-seated emotion that tears at the listener’s heart with well-balanced sonic elements that help to create a standout body of work. Justin Bloom, with assistance from Baby J and Isaiah Valmont, swung for the fences with respect to the production on Grace, with the end result being a grand slam.

“Be My Home” is without a doubt my personal favorite from this project, as Benjy encapsulates all of the above sentiments into this one track. He emphasizes the true prowess that’s associated with his vocal capabilities here, while at the same time maintaining lyrical dominance. I’m confident that this will not be the last time you hear Benjy Ali, as this Brockton artist is quite literally just getting started with what’s to come.

Listen to Grace below:

Lord Felix – “Bad Bwodie”

By: Frankie Wahlberg

If you’ve been keeping your ears open to the music rising out of Massachusetts, it’d be safe to assume that you’re familiar with Brockton’s Van Buren Records.  With a team of unique and polished artists that includes growing acts such as Jiles, Luke Bar$ and Saint Lyor — they’re a collective that is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

Playing an instrumental role in this group is Lord Felix, but despite being at the epicenter of one of the more prominent collectives in the area, Lord Felix himself has been rather silent thus far in 2020. Other than his handful of features, the man behind the infamous mask has remained somewhat reserved since his victory as Best New Artist at the Boston Music Awards this past December. Now with the release of his newest single “Bad Bwodie”, it appears as though Lord Felix’s silence over the last few months has been spent building momentum — the pulling back of an arrow with the intention of a powerful release. 

The single, released in tandem with a short clip entitled “Hometown Hero”, reverberates an anthem of triumph. Produced by MultiplePetes, a Boston native who astonishingly balances law school and music, Lord Felix rides the track with high energy and prideful lyrics, undoubtedly mirroring feelings still lingering from a breakthrough year in 2019. “Wifey ‘round my arm cuz she watched me beat the odds!” he proclaims in victory.  

From the energy and magnitude of this single, one can only assume that Lord Felix, along with the rest of his Van Buren clique, have big things coming on the horizon. As his sound continues to refine with each coming release, it is safe to say that if you’re not paying attention to Lord Felix right now, you should be. 

Listen to “Bad Bwodie” below:

CLICK HERE TO STREAM “BAD BWODIE” ON ALL MAJOR STREAMING PLATFORMS

Photo Above by Andrew Regis

Premo.Dee – ‘Satellite.Blvd’ [EP]

By: Shamus Hill

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.

Listen to Satellite.Blvd below:

CLICK HERE TO STREAM ‘SATELLITE.BLVD’

Jiles – “Freestyle 001” + “Big Homie” [Official Music Video]

By: Shamus Hill

Van Buren Records continues to amaze the masses, as the collective of Brockton artists elevates with each and every new release. Today, Jiles makes his way onto the Graduation Music site with a two-for-one special that includes the official music video for both “Freestyle 001” and “Big Homie”.

What impresses me the most about Jiles’ discography is how he manages to exemplify realism. Rather than shying away from his life experiences and rapping about the many superficial topics that plague modern music, Jiles takes pride in what he’s endured — whether positive or negative. Daymian Mejia does a phenomenal job at incorporating these sentiments into this visual.

“Freestyle 001” takes on a gritty approach, as Jiles takes some time to remind his listeners of the struggles that he’s faced throughout his life. He’s been molded to be an extremely formidable individual no matter what life throws his way, and it’s this attitude that will continue to steer the Brockton native towards a successful future. “Big Homie” takes on a bit more of braggadocios approach than “Freestyle 001”, allowing for Jiles to talk his shit. Equipped with scenes full of his Brockton counterparts, “Big Homie” rests as one of my favorite visuals to-date in 2020. It’s most certainly evident that Jiles has been steadily improving his craft, and it’s a blessing to be able to see his progression in real time. Be on the lookout for more Van Buren Records releases each and every Tuesday, as #VBTuesdays are only just beginning.

Watch the official video for both “Freestyle 001” and “Big Homie” below:

‘The Roaring 20s’ Show Preview

By: Shamus Hill

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.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS TO ‘THE ROARING 20s’ FEATURING CHASE MURPHY, SWOOLI, AND PACKY MARCIANO

Garrett Merk – “AWOL” (Prod. by Shag) [Official Music Video]

By: Shamus Hill

While we may presently find ourselves within the dark, gloomy depths of a freezing cold December, Garrett Merk is here today to deliver us some uplifting energy as he recently dropped the official music video for his new single, “AWOL”.

Directed by Frace Media, this visual features scenes throughout Brockton as Garrett reminisces on both the city and people that have assisted in molding him into the individual that he currently is. Anyone who’s followed Graduation Music over the course of the last few years will undoubtedly recognize Garrett’s name, as he’s consistently released music of a ridiculously high caliber. He manages to infuse each component of his discography with an infectious aurora that is distinctly unique to him, and it’s because of this that Garrett’s fanbase has grown at the rate it has. He’s gearing up for the release of his debut album in approximately a month, and if “AWOL” is any sign of what this project is going to be sounding like, then it may ultimately be one of the best to come out of the state of Massachusetts in several years. If you’ve yet to explore Garrett’s discography up through this point, then there’s no better time to do so than right now.

Watch the official music video for “AWOL” below:

CLICK HERE TO STREAM “AWOL”

Packy Marciano – “Groundhog Day” (Prod. tplaflare)

By: Shamus Hill

Following up his February release of “Don Ricardo Drive [Paranoia]” is Brockton’s Packy Marciano with a highly expressive single titled “Groundhog Day”.

Equipped with artwork that depicts Packy as Bill Murray on the cover of the 1993 film Groundhog Day — this offering is of a much more serene, laid-back feel than the typical releases that have filled Packy Marciano’s discography up through this point in time. Utilizing a combination of humorous, yet meaningful bars and powerful vocals, “Groundhog Day” serves as a glimpse towards the future of what this Brockton artist has to offer. Rather than limiting his creativity and remaining confined to a box, Packy is on a mission to break the cycle and share his multifaceted artistry with his listeners in a holistic fashion. Yet another example of the vast amount of talent prevalent within Brockton, MA — make sure to keep Packy Marciano on your radar in 2020.

Go get a brand new fit from the Burlington Coat Factory and listen to Packy Marciano’s “Groundhog Day” below:

Saint Lyor – “Gossip” [Official Music Video]

By: Shamus Hill

Van Buren Records continues their groundbreaking 2019 as Saint Lyor unleashes the official music video for his anthemic single, “Gossip”.

Setting the scene at Brockton High School and various other spots throughout the City of Champions, Saint Lyor’s debut music video wonderfully portrays the communal bond prevalent within this well-accomplished group of artists. Brockton is truly a special place with amazing people, and while the city’s reputation is often misconstrued by outsiders — Saint Lyor and company are here to provide these outsiders with a glimpse of the resilient nature that is instilled within the people from this city.

“No I’m not from Boston! ET I’m from Brockton!!” echoes Saint Lyor as he stands in front of Brockton High School, and it’s at this moment where all of the sentiments I mentioned above come full circle. While this proud, boisterous release may be considered to be centered around Saint Lyor himself, it largely speaks for Van Buren Records and the city of Brockton as a whole — making this video one of the most well-executed that I’ve seen in quite some time.

Helping bring this music video to life was Daymian Mejia and Anthony Picanzi who respectively shot and edited the visual.

Watch the official music video for “Gossip” at the link below:

CLICK HERE TO STREAM “GOSSIP”

[PREMIERE] Premo ft. Saint Lyor + Lord Felix – “How We Get Here” (Prod. James Boy)

By: Shamus Hill

If you’ve been paying attention to the Massachusetts music scene in even the slightest bit this year, you’ll note the narrative surrounding the fact that Brockton has swiftly become the Bay State’s powerhouse with respect to the production of high-caliber music. Seemingly every week some new sounds manage to escape the grasp of the city’s young, prominent artists, and today Premo, Saint Lyor, and Lord Felix are here to add some more flavor into the mix.

“How We Get Here” serves as Premo’s first release in more than 7 months, however this statement doesn’t do justice to the amount of work the Brockton native has been putting in over the course of the year. Working diligently alongside Bodega as a model, Premo is one of the few artists from Massachusetts that has successfully trekked multiple lanes of local art. Much like his eclectic fashion sense, Premo’s ability to piece a song together can be characterized as both innovative and diverse. Similar to both Saint Lyor and Lord Felix, Premo possesses an innate ability to flow meticulously whilst maintaining lyrical formidability throughout — which is something that has ultimately made his discography wonderfully thorough.

Circulating around what it took for these artists to rise into the positions that they’re currently in, “How We Get Here” serves as a reminder for us all to put out heads down and keep working no matter what. In the cases of Premo, Saint Lyor, and Lord Felix — this is exactly what they’ve done to reach the level of artistic mastery that they currently possess. Complete with both beautiful sonic elements and thoughtful purpose, “How We Get Here” is one of the Graduation Music staff’s favorite drops up through this point in the year.

Listen to “How We Get Here” below:

Van Buren Records – “Live @ The Oberon” [Official Music Video]

By: Eden Bekele

The boys at Van Buren Records have done it again. 

The Brockton group continues to dominate the Massachusetts music scene, and their latest release undoubtedly amplifies the year of success that they’ve been having. The brotherhood has managed to have an already explosive 2019 — from the release of Luke Bar$ and Jiles’ 2 Sides to Lord Felix’s Ultraviolet to Meech’s ‘NineFour, they continue to move with unrelenting force. 

Van Buren’s “Live @ the Oberon” is their debut video as a collective, and following its release this past week it’s safe to say that it’s one for the books. The track was produced by Ricky Felix and Kiron, and features an all star Van Buren line up of: Meech, Luke Bar$, Lord Felix, Saint Lyor, and Jiles. The cypher is reminiscent of Odd Future’s Oldie or even A$AP Mob’s Yamborghini High — in that it shows precisely how every member is capable of holding more than their own. While visually opting for a minimal and dimly lit hallway as the backdrop, the strategic choice allows their bars to take center stage. 

Although the show at Oberon has been cancelled for the time being, be on the lookout for the next Van Buren performance as it’ll surely be an event that you won’t want to miss.

Watch the official music video for “Live @ The Oberon” below:

Darius Heywood – “Night Rage” (Prod. Rauxy Woodro)

By: Shamus Hill

Returning to the Graduation Music site today is Brockton’s Darius Heywood with “Night Rage” — the first single off of his upcoming collaboration project with Rauxy Woodro, From The East.

This introspective track circulates around the everyday realities of Darius’ life growing up in Brockton. Whether it be his personal trauma, witnessing struggle, or persisting when negativity surrounds, Darius Heywood explicitly dictates what has molded him into the individual that he currently is. Rauxy Woodro does a truly wondrous job with respect to his assistance in developing a solid sonic structure, with “Night Rage” serving as evidence that From The East is set to be the next formidable collection of music to come out of the city of Brockton this year.

Listen to “Night Rage” below:

Stefan – “SAD2SEE” (Prod. Twayne The Kidd”

By: Shamus Hill

Brockton’s Stefan returns to the Graduation Music site today with a passionate single titled “SAD2SEE”.

This release is based around the sad reality that comes paired with the pursuit of a significant other that’s plagued with self-doubt and a lack of love. This sentiment ultimately shifts this individual’s mentality towards one that is full of solitude, which hurts Stefan tremendously. While his heart may be full of true intentions, it’s worthless when the recipient isn’t aware of how to accept these emotions.

While the lyrical content of “SAD2SEE” may not be of the most positive nature, the sonic structure provided by Stefan with the assistance of Connecticut’s Twayne The Kidd is one that’s undeniably addictive. This track rests as my favorite component of Stefan’s discography to date, so with that being said I’m thrilled to see what he’ll have coming next.

Listen to “SAD2SEE” below:

CLICK HERE TO STREAM VIA SPOTIFY + APPLE MUSIC