An Interview with $ean Wire + Gibson

By: Eden Bekele

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. 

Gib: What?!

$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:

Cousin Stizz Becomes First Ever Hip-Hop Artist To Win BMA’s Artist of the Year

By: Seamus Fay

For many years, Boston rap was seen merely as a lower-quality little brother of larger nearby cities such as New York. Without the innovative talents or industry infrastructure to make a legitimate push out of this shadow, Boston soon fell behind, failing to become recognized as a hot spot for hip-hop talents. That is, until just recently. 

Throughout the past 6 years or so, new artists, new styles, and new sounds have brought Boston back into the conversation that the city once dreamed of entering. With numerous local artists now making waves far beyond their hometown, the city is experiencing a hip-hop resurgence, full of refreshing talent and up-trending stocks on the heels of collaboration and local support. Boston is working tirelessly to push itself out of this “crabs in a bucket” mentality, all the while refusing to let the city’s history define the ceilings of future success.

With this in mind, today marks a noteworthy occasion in the history of Boston hip-hop, as Cousin Stizz just became the Boston Music Awards’ first ever hip-hop act to win the committee’s highest honor, “Artist of the Year.”

That said, it’s important to note just how prolific the continuous hope for local support outside of those directly involved with the hip-hop community has been throughout this recent hip-hop resurgence. To see Dorchester’s own bring home cement proof of recognition from a city notorious for its relatively poor history in the hip-hop genre is nothing less than monumental, and deservedly so. If not anything else, this moment should act as a reminder that the only limitations for the success of Boston hip-hop are those that the community imposes on itself.

From narrating Celtics commercials to soundtracking Tom Brady’s Instagram videos and winning the most esteemed BMA, Stizz sees far beyond what’s in the way of his success and chooses to focus on the wins that lie past his obstacles. Let this be a lesson for us all.

Thanks, Stizz. And congratulations on a hard-earned win.

Cousin Stizz – “Did It” [Music Video]

By: Seamus Fay

From his early days in Fields Corner to now, Cousin Stizz is the kind of artist who will never lose his soul, regardless of how far he makes it. The Boston-bred talent is as true to both himself and his city as can be, and today, he’s here to show this with a brand new video for the success-minded song, “Did It”. Appearing on one of Stizz’s two recent, 3-track EPs, All Adds Up, this video arrives at just the right time to follow up the visual accompaniment for “Made” — yet another instance of the budding star bringing it back home to show the world his city.

With this, only adding fuel to the fire, the “Did It” video the internet just weeks after two of Stizz’s biggest cosigns to date: the first, a spot as the voice of the exciting 2018-19 Celtics and the second, a spot as the soundtrack to one of Tom Brady’s Instagram videos. Boston’s own really did it. And even better, he did it on his own terms, following his own rules. Stizz is a hometown hero for Boston and “Did It” is his theme song. I can’t wait to hear this song playing in the Red Sox locker room after game 4.

Watch the new music video for “Did It” at the link provided below:

Tom Brady and the Celtics Are All In On Cousin Stizz

By: Seamus Fay

I originally planned on reposting the newest Cousin Stizz cosigns on the Graduation music Twitter, but looking at the full gravity of the occasion, this calls for a bit more than a tweet.

For those who still don’t know what I’m talking about, over the past week, Tom Brady posted the newest edition of his ever-inspiring hype-up videos, this time ending in a highlight reel with “Headlock” playing the background. Possibly even better than a nod from the GOAT himself, Stizz took home yet another win as the new voice of the Boston Celtics 2018-19 season campaign, #CUSRISE — not to mention that Brockton natives Luke Bars and Ricky Felix were the two masterminds behind the background production for the video.

In past years, Boston hasn’t been a city known for its open and welcome embracement of hip-hop culture. In fact, it’s been known for the opposite. However, seeing two major sports teams (and as we all know, major is no exaggeration) take pride in their city’s talent and put one of the main heads in Boston to work is a beautiful sight. It represents a win for Stizz and his team, sure, but even more so, a win for everyone out there looking to see more representation of Boston’s growing music scene.

The opportunities are rolling in and there are more eyes on our city’s hip-hop community than ever before, so let’s embrace it. Show some love to Stizz for being the soundtrack to the Pats’ workouts and the voice of the beloved Cs by clicking play on both videos. And make sure to hit up Ricky Felix and Luke Bars about their production placements, because looking back, they snapped.

2018 has been wildly successful for Boston music and this instance is an inspirational reminder. Here’s to an even brighter 2019.

Cousin Stizz – “Made” [Music Video]

By: Seamus Fay

Listen to the replay value on All Adds Up. Listen to the hit-making abilities of One Night Only. Listen to the charisma on Cold Times. All of these should prove that Cousin Stizz is making the best music of his life right now, and deep into one of the finest musical hot streaks I’ve ever seen, all signs are pointing up for Fields Corner’s own. Applying the pressure even further, he’s back on Graduation Music today to unveil a new set of visuals for the Cold Times standout, “Made”.

At the heart of this song is the sense of comradery that develops between a soon-to-be star and those that he came up with. “Made” is an ode to future success and ambitions just as much as it acts as a thank you to those stayed down throughout the whole journey, and the only way to honor such a strong sense of duality is to come back to where it all started. That said, the music video for this one finds Stizz right back at home, surrounded by several familiar faces such as REEF, Joe Johnson, OG Swaggerdick, and more. It’s a family affair in every sense of the words, shedding light on a beautiful moment for Stizz as he looks back on just how far he’s made it.

“Made” reminds us all — “you can do it, too”.

Watch the music video for “Made” at the link provided below and if you haven’t already, stream Cold Times here!

Produced by Lil Rich
Directed by Gilad Haas

Cousin Stizz Talks His Sound, Boston, Social Media, & More With Power 106 LA

By: Seamus Fay

Fresh off of the release of the stellar new 3-pack EP, Cold Times, Cousin Stizz is the subject of every headline right now. He’s a star in the making and an undeniably captivating personality, so much so that it’s always a blessing when we receive a new interview with the Fields Corner native. Today, Stizz hits the Graduation Music pages alongside Power 106 Los Angeles, offering a question-and-answer video all about Boston, his influences, daily life, and much, much more.

Stizz has been quite active over the past month or so in terms of dropping music, so be sure to keep an eye out for more possibly on the way. And if you haven’t already, listen to Cold Times here and All Adds Up here!

Cousin Stizz – ‘Cold Times’ [EP]

By: Seamus Fay

Representing Boston with an endless supply of hits, Cousin Stizz has been applying some serious full-court pressure in all of 2018. Just a few weeks back, he blessed us with a three-track EP entitled All Adds Up, and today, he’s here to drop off yet another trio of heaters with Cold Times, housing the songs “Made”, “Butterfly”, and “Brain Freeze”. At the core of the project, Stizz reflects on his rise from the mud to the mountaintops, grateful and energetic as ever. He translates his determination to keep working hard into a collection of anthems that any listener can find inspiration from, and in doing so, reminds us all why he’s starting to realize his full potential as a bona fide star in the world of rap.

That said, sonically, Cold Times represents an important moment for Stizz. As it seems, looking at the last 6 tracks that he has dropped, the Fields Corner native has truly found the sonic direction in which his talents are best applicable. Doused in ethereal, ice-cold melodies and crisp drum patterns, he navigates his way through booming 808s, doing so on his own terms with a diamond-flashing grin to light the way. Stizz really made it, and Cold Times tells listeners that they can do it, too. Especially in rap today, it can feel as though artists are flexing at you rather than doing anything to inspire you, but with our favorite cousin, he always takes listeners right by his side and shows them the way that things can be if we just believe and put in the work.

This is a stellar release to keep the stocks on an insuppressible rise, so show some love to Boston’s own and listen to Cold Times at the link below!