An Interview with CHI

By: Eden Bekele

While authenticity in an industry that is seemingly over saturated with disingenuous players is a novelty these days, no one stands more true to themselves in the Boston scene, as CHI. She is an artist, DJ and creative from the city who is a great example of how realness will only elevate your work and spirit.

It has been half a year since CHI dropped her LP titled B.O.M.B. short for “Back On My Bullsh*t”, and listeners have been fiending for more content since. The project was a successful 11 tracks, filled with an all-star roster of Boston artists, all contributing to the power that is B.O.M.B. Prior to releasing her LP, CHI had collaborated with Gin Mason and SuperSmashBroz, to release their joint project Code Name: Girls Next Door,  which included the catchy Girls Night single, as well as releasing her own series of singles and DJ mixes.

We had the privilege to sit down and speak candidly with CHI on being a veteran in the Boston scene, her creative influences, and what the future holds.


Where are you from?

I’m from Dorchester by ways of Nigeria. If I wanna be real specific I’m a young Igbo person- woman.

So you’re Nigerian, and you’re Igbo, how does that influence you?

That’s like my whole origin right there. I’m big on origins, I’m big on my roots. I grew up in a household that was very African, like very African. Something my dad used to say when I was growing up, he would be like: “When you come into my house, you’re not in America anymore, you’re in Owerri. So treat it like that.” My dad used to say that to me all the time, so that’s how I grew up.

Who or what are your biggest musical influences?

Sh*t, I was talking to somebody about this the other day. I have a lot of influences, because I listen to a lot of music and I grew up in a very musical house. Off the rip- singing wise, I get a lot of my influences from falceto males, like D’Angelo, Maxwell, Prince, that’s where I learned how to riff, Rudy Currence, sh*t like that. Obviously Lauryn Hill is a big influence on me. I don’t like to say her immediately though, because i feel like people assume that’s my main influence and its actually not. People always givin’ me the Lauryn and the Tracy Chapman, another one of my influences is Brandy, notice how I haven’t named any rappers. Before, KRS was one of my main rappers, but before I was really into rap I was into RnB, I was into Jazz. I was into a lot of African music growing up. Dancehall. I wasn’t really into rap music until I rediscovered 90s rap on my own, when I was about 11/12. I was kinda like ‘yeah i like rap music’.

Going back to Lauryn Hill, she talks a lot about the Israelites how do you see yourself fitting into that narrative because I know you have a song (titled Israelite: God Bless Amerikkka) about it as well?

I know that that’s my truth and that’s my history, even though growing up as black people we don’t learn too much about our true history. I think for me I fit into that because it’s like a coming of age- more like a going back home.

People think life is about turning into a new person, but it’s really about turning into your actual self. So when I think about being an israelite and being part of like a lost group of people, I see myself fitting into that- I see all of us fit into that though. I think the difference is some people own it and some people don’t.

So getting into the music, Boston and your home, how do you feel like the scene has changed since you’ve been coming up?

You know what’s funny about that? I grew up in Boston, like actually, actually. We are in my neighborhood where I went to school. I feel like automatically, off the rip, I have a whole different view of the scene than everyone else does. Because before the scene, there was the young ethnic community in Boston. I wasn’t really one of those kids going downtown and doing all the crazy stuff, but I was family friends with people who were doing that- or like I had history with people who were doing that. And you know I was never really like that going downtown to go jerk and stuff, I wasn’t like that, but those people are pioneers of the scene.

A lot of people came up like that. So when I think about the scene I don’t really think of it- like not to say there isn’t a scene, because there is, but my place in the scene is a little different because I have real roots in the scene.

So having said that last part do you feel people are just entering the scene to fit in?

Absolutely, I think some people see it as a way to get internet famous. And Im like n*gga whats your talent though? What are you doing to progress the scene? Confuses me.

So I see that you have a lot of relationships like you said and I’ve noticed you have some hits with SuperSmashBroz and Gin Mason, what are those relationships like and how was putting together ‘Girls Night’?

Everybody loves that song. That song is great. It’s just what I was just saying, those are my friends. I been friends with Gin before music and the reason why those songs came out was because it was really authentic. We friends, we vibe, we understand that we wanted to make a certain thing so we executed it.

That’s just the homies getting together, but a lot of my music is like. If were homies and you want to make music, or if we click on a level outside of music, it just makes me want to collab even more.

What motivates you?

D*mn, I don’t like thinking about big questions sometimes. I talk a lot.

I’m motivated by seemingly being an underdog. Definitely feel like a lot of people in the city sleep on me. Is it not true? I’m saying in general, sometimes when I see certain things and I wont see my name there, I’m like “hm.”

I also just feel like I wasn’t always as proud of the music, now I’m a lot more confident. I believe in myself. That’s another one of my motivations. I’m motivated by me, not my ego, I’m motivated by my real self.

That reminds me of your song Vanity, I like the message of that song, can you talk about what feelings brought that song on? Did you always love yourself this much? Or is this something that you’ve more recently been like “Oh okay, I’m owning my sh*t”?

Good question. Vanity, is, well in all of my music I like irony, and I like satire and I like contradictions because it plays into irony.

I believe life is about duality and dichotomy. So when I think about saying something that leaves an impression on people, I think about kind of confusing them. So when I made Vanity I was like n*gga Im so happy that I’m all of these bad things- d*mn, that makes me extremely vain. It’s more like when you realize that you’re happy about doing things that don’t serve you, you kinda have to step back and think about “hm why am I happy about that?” I think that’s what BOMB is really about. Being back on your bullsh*t is about having to destroy pieces of yourself now so that you can actually be free and be who you really are.

How do you feel about the difference between lyrical rap and other kinds of rap that’s being put out? Do you think you’ll continue going this route?

I think it goes back to being an underdog. I’m doing a lot that people in Boston aren’t doing right now. The reason that Lyrical rap will always stand out is because that is the foundation of Hip-Hop and that’s the foundation of music in general, lyrics are profound. I remember when i was a kid I used to listen to Jill Scott interviews and she used to say “It doesn’t matter how you said it, it matters what you said. You could say it however you want, but if you didn’t say anything worth saying then- what are you saying?” You know that made so much sense to me. I like to carry that into my music.  

So if you had to pick a top 3 in the game today, who would you pick?

Kendrick Lamar. Hmm who’s as good as K.Dot? Honestly, y’all are going to hate me but… Drake. Drake is different. You know who I’m lowkey throwing in there? Saba. I’m like d*mn why am I throwing Saba up there? But Care For Me is like my favorite album that’s come out in the last 5 years.

What do you have planned for the future?

I got a project coming out in the colder months, it’s called Clairvoyance. I’m working on getting some women in Boston on that thang. I’m going to have my producer debut on that. I recently just started mixing and mastering. I’m going to start going in-cognegro as a producer. Get ready I’m about to run these placements up, look out.

So I’m working on that and I’m working on some visuals for B.O.M.B. I’m directing my videos these videos as well, y’all will be seeing a lot of my ideas come through. Probably by mid summer all of them will be out.


Connect with CHI on:

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

SOUNDCLOUD

SPOTIFY

APPLE MUSIC

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CHI – ‘B.O.M.B.’ [LP]

By: Seamus Fay

After the release of her collaborative project, Code Name: Girls Next Door, with Gin Mason and the SuperSmashBroz a few months back, CHI has been on our radar as one of the most talented young artists coming out of Boston right now. She holds no hesitation in communicating undiluted charisma in her rhymes, and by presenting herself so proudly and unapologetically, it’s easy for listeners to catch onto the wave after just one or two songs. Today, CHI is here to take the spotlight with an incredibly solid new LP entitled B.O.M.B, standing for the phrase “Back On My Bullsh*t”. Packed to the brim with features from some of Massachusetts’ finest as well as CHI’s best work to date, this project is a must-listen by every stretch of the words.

As noted in the description of the project on SoundCloud, CHI’s latest arrives as the following:

IN HONOR OF VIRGO SZN AND DESTROYING THE OLD & TOXIC TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE INFINITE & FRUITFUL, I PRESENT TO YOU:

B.O.M.B. (LP) = BACK ON MY BULLSHIT

I PRAY THAT YOU LOVE THIS AND YOURSELF A LITTLE MORE EVERY DAY.

PEACE+BLESSINGS.
-CHI

11 tracks long, I can’t say that I expected this LP out of CHI. Her artistry presents itself as refined as ever, and lyrically, she’s on an entirely new level that I didn’t even know the Boston talent was capable of. B.O.M.B. is clear-minded and strong in its ways, acting as a tale of self-love and self-discovery. Verse after verse, hook after hook, line after line, CHI is sure to keep these themes at the forefront of the subject matter, so effortlessly weaving in and out of beats with songs that I won’t be taking off of repeat for quite some time. That said, this is truly one of the best projects I’ve heard out of Boston all year long. CHI is ready to take her well-deserved spot at the top, so step out of the way and let her work the magic that she’s so clearly capable of. The future is bright for Boston’s own.

Click play on B.O.M.B. at the link provided below:

Mixed and Mastered by James Alcott
Production via MIGLADI, Donato, Christian Yoon, Obleeque, Suspicious Person, Z-Will

Gin Mason & CHI – ‘Codename: Girls Next Door’ [Pres. SuperSmashBroz]

By: Seamus Fay

Last summer, the SuperSmashBroz blessed the world with a magnificent, Massachusetts-bred compilation mixtape, Family Cookout. This summer, further ensuring that Boston has its vibes right, the SmashBroz are back once again to bring new talent to the spotlight in the form of Codename: Girls Next Door — a highly-anticipated collabroative effort from none other than Gin Mason and CHI. After receiving the first single from the project, “Girls Night“, just a few weeks back, I had a hunch that this project would be something special, but quite honestly, it exceeded any expectations I could have set for such a highly-talented duo.

Not only do Mason and CHI show us their most refined artistic selves on the final product for this one, but they also bring an entirely new wave of addictive energy to the table — just what we needed to end this summer on a bright note. Alongside only one feature from Michael Christmas and production credits from LDG, Maka, Tee-WaTT, the SuperSmashBroz, and KorHef, the cohesive sound and endless supply of infectious rhythms provide for 6 tracks of transportive music at the core of the project. That being said, Gin Mason and CHI are two of Massachusetts’ most talented rising talents, and it’s both a pleasure and privilege to watch them continue on their rises to the top.

Listen to Codename: Girls Next Door at the link below and thank the SuperSmashBroz for the alley-oop on this one!

SuperSmashBroz – “Girls Night” ft. Gin Mason, CHI, & Joan

By: Seamus Fay

No one is better at connecting the dots than Boston-based DJ duo, the SuperSmashBroz, and today, they’re here to link up some of the most promising talents in the city with their latest single, “Girls Night”. Bringing together the unstoppable forces of Gin Mason, CHI, and Joan, this track represents a special moment in which a few standout female talents can put their prowess on display. The result is an anthemic offering that demands to be kept on repeat all summer long, so be sure to stay tuned in as we unpack this one a bit further.

Produced by the SuperSmashBroz and KorHef, “Girls Night” finds its identity within the exuberant energy of dance-worthy rhythms. The vocals seemingly float right over this infectious sonic atmosphere, making room for each of the three featured artists on this one to exhibit their undeniably smooth lyrics. With this, “Girls Night” is the perfect soundtrack to any upcoming functions you may have this summer — be sure to keep it playing on full volume as you enjoy the sun-soaked weather.

Listen to the latest collaboration put together by the SuperSmashBroz at the link below and be on the lookout for a full EP from these rising talents coming soon!

Mix and mastered by @BOSSMANLovesYou
Art by @theoriginalsaedi

CHI – “Starry Knight” [Prod. Christian Yoon & suspicious person]

By: Shamus Hill 

Alongside production from 2020’s own, Christian Yoon, and suspicious person, CHI recently dropped a vibrant, high-paced track named “Starry Knight”. Both a play on words and a reference to Vincent van Gogh’s world-renowned painting, this track speaks volumes towards how CHI recognizes her own talent/potential, and how she will remain as formidable as a knight in order to achieve what she has set out to accomplish. Also notable is the fact that the talented CHI can also be credited with the cover-art on this track.

Off the rip, the stellar production on this one catches the listener’s ear with ease. Both Christian Yoon and suspicious person did an amazing job with the beat on this track, so props to them for working their assess of and coming up with an amazing finished product. The combination of this instrumental and CHI’s lyricism are what truly make this song as dope as it is; I was in the midst of a two-hour drive home, and the second this song dropped, my shitty Chevy Impala instantly felt like a rocket ship.

While CHI has a faster-paced style of delivery on “Starry Knight”, she’s extremely talented at presenting raps/flows that directly hit you, and remain there. It’s evident that CHI spent a great deal of time working with this track, and this most certainly shows when listening to the final product. If this is your first time hearing of CHI, I highly suggest listening to her track with the SuperSmashBroz, Plad Fine$$e, and Lil Rich “Grab It“, and “Holy Moly” as these two songs in particular do an exceptional job at presenting what the young talent is capable of.

Quickly becoming one of the artists I’m most excited to see what they release next, CHI is making strides toward becoming a true voice of the city, so Boston: let’s show her some love. Listen to CHI’s “Starry Knight” (prod. Christian Yoon & suspicious person) below:

SuperSmashBroz – “Grab It” ft. Plad Fine$$e, Lil Rich, & Chi [Music Video]

By: Seamus Fay

This past summer, the SuperSmashBroz supplied Boston with a number of dream team collaborations on their debut tape Family Cookout. One of these collaborations was found in the song “Grab It”, joining the unique forces of Plad Fine$$e, Lil Rich, and Chi to make for an in-your-face track that I’ve had on repeat since it dropped.

Today, the energy-filled DJ duo is here to revisit “Grab It” with ominous visuals directed and shot by BT Livin. Within dark scenes of robbery and tension, the music video explores the street life that each artist so well illustrates in their respective verses. Not only did we receive a gem in this song in the first place, but now the world has well-fitting visuals to go right alongside it. Watch “Grab It” below: