Jefe Replay – “Foreign Exchange” (Prod. Tee-WaTT)

By: Shamus Hill

One of the more well-known artists from the Boston area, Jefe Replay just released the first single off of his upcoming project, Proper Finessments. “Foreign Exchange” features thunderous production at the hands of Tee-WaTT, and serves as the perfect remedy for all the “real Juans” out there to prepare for the Roxbury-rapper’s debut album.

For the last few years, Jefe Replay has unleashed a number of potent singles that have assisted him in establishing quite the solid fanbase. He’s the type of individual whose presence is felt in a large room of people, and this feeling is relayed especially well as you listen through his latest release.

Jefe Replay fans all over are more than ready for his album to drop, so in the mean time give “Foreign Exchange” a few spins to hold you over until the February 1st release date. Listen to the energetic offering below:


CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO “FOREIGN EXCHANGE”

SuperSmashBroz – “Replay Interlude” ft. Jefe Replay [Music Video]

By: Seamus Fay

Whenever the weather gets warmer and the season officially transitions over to summertime, the SuperSmashBroz are always just about ready to apply their full-court pressure and take over Boston. This year, after grabbing the spotlight with the spectacular project, Codename: Girls Next Door, the brotherly DJ duo is here to revisit 2017s Family Cookout mixtape with a brand new set of visuals for “Replay Interlude” — a fan favorite and also a personal favorite of mine.

The main attractor for the song has always been Replay’s undeniably effortless sauce, and to see him show these skills on the big screen in front of numerous women shows off the charismatic, laid-back personality that he possesses perfectly. Sure, the “Replay Interlude” itself is an extremely hard-hitting song, but once we’re taken into the world of Replay, it becomes an entirely different conversation. The Boston native is, without a doubt on his way towards stardom, and with the SmashBroz helping to propel his wave, there’s no chance that Replay’s stocks aren’t rapidly rising this year.

That being said, click play on the flex-filled nature of the “Replay Interlude” video at the link below:

Shot and Directed by M9 Visuals
Song Produced by LDG Beats

Augmented Reality Is Here To Take Over: An Interview With Fermatta Digital

By: Seamus Fay

Simply put, augmented reality, or AR, is a clear glimpse into what the future of marketing and visuals in the music world are on their way to becoming. This mind-bending technology has graced its way into our lives in ways that we may not even have realized so far, and even in the Massachusetts music scene, we experienced a taste of the AR world with the following animation of Caliph and Jefe Replay’s anthemic offering, “The Mood”.

With this rapidly-growing field of technology on the rise right now, we spoke to the good people over at Fermatta Digital about how the Caliph animation came together, the role of AR in the music world, and the future/potential of such impressive new ways of packaging music.

Read our conversation below.



What role will AR play in the music industry in the future?

Augmented Reality blurs the lines between physical and digital worlds, providing a transformative, new medium for creatives to express themselves. From a music industry standpoint, we at Fermatta see a tremendous opportunity for musicians and labels to harness the power of AR to create innovative experiences to between artist and fan. This can come in many forms such as immersive lenses to bring a music video or album “to life”, applications that enhance live shows, merchandise, album covers, show posters,  and experiences. AR can be a disruptive force in marketing and branding, especially as companies such as Snapchat lower the barrier to creation and deployment. One of the most exciting parts of this is that we are in early stages of AR and it’s up to creatives of where they want to take it.

An interesting hypothesis we have is that AR will strengthen the emotional bonds between fans and artists, which then turns into digital engagement and financial support. It’s well known in the music industry that live shows are still the best form of marketing – this is largely because of the undeniable emotional connection that fans develop with artists once they’ve seen them perform live. Being in the same room and seeing the artist as human beings turn fans into avid supporters and drives their online habits such as streams, sales, and engagement on social media. AR can play a similar role, but at scale – allowing the artist to be “with” fans anywhere, at any time. For example, placing an avatar of the artist in a fan’s environment to sing, dance, or talk, or creating a portal that allows fans to enter a new environment with the artist. The more time spent “together” between fan and artist, the stronger the bond.

Where has the impact of AR been seen in the music industry already?

AR is slowly emerging with early adopters within the music industry. In the context of Snap lenses, we recently launched an immersive portal on Snapchat for Powers Pleasant, Joey Bada$$ and A$AP Ferg to promote their latest single: “Pull Up”, bringing the JMP-directed video to life in AR (shout-out to JMP who is also from Boston). We have seen this spread very organically with fans on social uploading videos of them using and interacting with the portal wherever they are. You can check that out here.

We are also seeing new ARSnap face lenses to support new singles. Post Malone released one in support of his new album (here), LSD (Labrinth, Sia, Diplo) released one in support of their new single (here), and The Chainsmokers released avatar based lens (here). A$AP Rocky released an AR component in his mobile application “Yammy Vision” in promotion of his new album Testing (here). Finally, Eminem released an AR application that allows his fans to experience his live shows differently (here).

How did this collaboration with Caliph come together?

Caliph: Music has always been a means of communication beyond any language that can reach people with little to no limits and technology has a very similar reach in many ways. I being an immigrant, DACA recipient and an artist feel like it’s my responsibility to use these means of communication to bring people together, change the narrative and stigmas put on our communities and teach people to love themselves. The mood is an example of that for me. It has always been my goal with that song to improve and lighten the listener’s mood no matter what they are going through. In activism, it is important to know when to back down from constantly fighting to focus on helping those you are fighting for cope with their issues. Whether it’s a break from reality with an enigmatic and euphoric song or even an AR lens that takes you to the beach no matter where you are. In this case, the goal was to achieve both and it turned out to be really cool. It also allowed me, someone who can’t leave the country, to virtually travel beyond my legal means and that was very dope. I was just dancing in the Dominican Republic. & Dubai the other day. That’s amazing. I’m excited about the future and what we will bring to the table as we continue to push beyond limits with the advancements of technology and our music.

Fermatta: Augmented Reality is still a new, somewhat foreign concept for the mainstream consumer. We were really interested in working with an artist that was forward thinking and saw the potential implications of AR even if the infrastructure is not fully materialized. Also, on a basic level, we wanted to partner with someone who made dope, meaningful music, because, at the end of the day, all of this is somewhat meaningless if the music isn’t there. Caliph checked all the boxes with the added bonus of being from the Boston area. “The Mood” is super catchy, and the perfect summer song. Beyond just the music though we were inspired by Caliph’s involvement in the community and politically, empowering marginalized and immigrant communities. We really thought it was a natural fit, and we are inspired to help Caliph spread his mission far and wide, so stay tuned for some more projects in the intersection of technology, music, and activism.

What does the process of creating something like this look like?

For a Snap portal lens like this, our process is pretty straight-forward. It typically starts with an open-ended brainstorm session where we all get together and bounce around ideas; if the goal is to enhance a music video or song, there is typically more structure given there is an environment or scene to pull from creatively. From there we see what is technically feasible given constraints (such as Snap file size limit), and build iteratively. Throughout the process, we have active, open dialogue with the artist and their team in order to ensure that we are bringing their vision to life.


Embrace the future and connect with Fermatta Digital on:

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A Reflection On Cousin Stizz’s ‘Suffolk County’ 3-Year Anniversary Show

By: Seamus Fay

Within the geographically-minded landscape of rap music, the weight behind a homecoming show consists of one central theme: loyalty. This encapsulates loyalty from the crowd, loyalty from the artist, and loyalty to a vision of success and “making it out” of one’s hometown which, amidst other manifestations of hard work, also translates into the ever-important power of pride. On June 6th, just last Sunday, Cousin Stizz crafted his own definition of both loyalty and pride by offering a live performance at the Paradise Rock Club in celebration of the anniversary of his critically-acclaimed debut mixtape, Suffolk County. The show sold out in 6 minutes.

At face value, the function of this performance was to make sure that those who missed Boston Calling would still receive the opportunity to see Stizz live while he was in the city. But looking back on the energy brought into the venue that night, the true function of the show was a reflection on the success that Stizz has seen since 2015 when he first released Suffolk County. The whole city came out, and just like that, the Dorchester native used this family affair to look back on the roots that brought him where he is today.

Personally, the reason that this project has remained a timeless collection of music in my ears is mostly due to the way that it brings Stizz’s lifestyle down to a listener-friendly level, complete with a certain degree of familiarity that only helps Boston fans to embrace its magic even more directly. Whether it be the triumphant, anthemic nature of “Dum Dope”, the unapologetically confident hooks of “Fresh Prince”, or the unfaltering honesty that comes through on “No Explanation”, Stizz tells it how it is on this project, and in doing so, listeners are doused in the emotional roller coaster of life in Fields Corner.

With this, Suffolk County is, in a nutshell, a uniquely comprehensive look of the triumphs and struggles that predated Stizz’s rap success. Life was certainly more simple, but times weren’t easy by any means, and the way that such intense pain and passion are communicated through ringing hooks that still resonate with people today, defines what it means to be a classic piece of music. And now, my Suffolk County importance rant is done, and we can delve into the show.


The first point of importance that surrounds such a legendary night was seen in Big Leano’s spot opening for Stizz. Any fan of Boston music might tell you that Stizz and Leano are close friends, but this brotherhood runs far deeper below the surface than that. In fact, Big Leano’s debut performance within the city’s rap community, after releasing just one song prior to the show (the ever-important “Muddy Sip”), was at Cousin Stizz’s first-ever headlining show in Boston at the Middle East. These two have been working towards the top since before rap was the plan, and to see them together even today, more strengthened in their bond than ever, is an immaculate sight.

From the mud all the way to fame, loyalty doesn’t budge.

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That being said, Leano’s undying energy and galvanizing set, which, of course, included the insanity of a “Lean For Sale” mosh pit, made way for a perfect transition into an unforgettable performance from Stizz. But before the headlining act graced the stage, he retreated into the dressing room of the Paradise Rock Club, where a number of close friends and acquaintances hung around in pure excitement for what was to come. Luckily enough, I was brought into the room by a friend of Stizz’s (shouts out to Juxi one time), and what I noticed most specifically was the way that the Fields Corner native gets into the zone before shows.

Just a few minutes prior to when the opening notes of “Ain’t Really Much” would play and Stizz would jump on stage, he wasn’t talking to anyone, messing around, or even communicating with the world in front of him. Instead, he slipped his headphones on, stared at the ground, and simply slipped into an isolated zone, marking the calm before the storm that was a sold-out, nearly 1,000-person performance in his hometown.

And then magic happened.

Stizz went through Suffolk County‘s dense tracklist of hits, one by one, garnering the attention and love of the crowd with every successive note of music. The show didn’t need anything extra to make it an incredible performance, but sure enough, when Jefe Replay gets involved, there’s no limit on what insanity might occur. He’s an undeniable rockstar, and rockstars do rockstar things. Like crowd-walking. Not crowd-diving, for those who may be confused. Crowd-walking.

The chilling melodies of “Talk” creeped into the venue’s sound systems, and after Stizz had unleashed his unforgettable verses, Replay took center stage for his monumental role in the song. But just when it looked as if he might dive into the crowd to deliver each line, he positioned his feet on the raised hands and starting to walk out into a sea of feverish fans. Showmanship aside, the fact that the crowd walk even happened was insane in and of itself, and I suppose it only adds to the long list of reasons why Jefe Replay is a star and why this show superseded the concept of what a rap show usually is.

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My final point of importance, before this article takes the form of a novel, was seen in the simple barrage of “thank you’s” that Stizz proclaimed throughout the night. He paused his set at least 4 or 5 times after a variety of different songs, and looking out at the physical evidence of how far he has come as an artist, Stizz couldn’t help but show his appreciation for his supporters. And sure, obviously most performers would be saying thank you if they, too, sold out a show in six minutes, but coming from Stizz, with his home city leaning on every new syllable that came out of his mouth, this “thank you” went far below the surface.

The Suffolk County anniversary show was a step back in time to one of Boston’s most iconic mixtapes and the lifestyle that came with it. Time moves quite rapidly with no foreseeable slowing, but by revisiting this classic set of anthems with the same fans who have watched Stizz undergo both musical and personal growth since it’s 2015 release, life slowed down for a moment and all felt right. Stizz is one of Boston’s bonafide stars, and we couldn’t ask for any better artist to help play the role.

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Before I wrap this article up, however, it’s also important to note that the real magic of this night is only achieved when we take a step back and marvel at the inspirational sight of comradery as a city that it brought together. For the few, impactful hours that the show spanned, Suffolk County was suspended in its status as an eminent assemblage of reflective sound and thought, surrounded by an ethereal glow that reminds us, above all things, of one mixtape that united people from all different backgrounds and helped to offer us a common thread of pride in our city’s music scene that before then, had not been achieved in such an authentic, modern light.

Just one night of unwavering authenticity and prideful proclamations towards Boston granted me with an abundance of memories that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life, and for that, only two words capture the moment: thank you.

Thank you to Cousin Stizz, thank you to Tim Larew, thank you to Boston, and thank you to every person that made such a magnificent night possible. Suffolk County remains one of the best bodies of music that I have heard to date, and it set the stage for a bright future that even Stizz didn’t think was possible.

I guess there’s a reason he’s our favorite cousin.


Thank you to @gregisonfire for the photos used in this article.

The Top 50 New England Songs of 2017

By: Seamus Fay

Looking back, 2017 was a year of immense growth for New England and specifically Massachusetts’ budding music scene. We were fortunate enough to see the rise of many new talents as well as watch some of the more established artists prosper in their own ways, and frankly, it was inspiring to us to see the work that the artists, the producers, the photographers, the graphic designers, the mixers, the managers, etc. have been putting in. Without all of these people playing their respective roles, our scene wouldn’t be where it is today.

Having said that, we here at Graduation Music collaborated with Fresh Out The Mint to compile a list of the “Top 50 New England Songs of 2017” (in our humble opinion). Below is the playlist of all the tracks – enjoy!

Thank you sincerely to everyone for supporting us throughout 2017 and making our first full year as a blog a successful one. We greatly appreciate all the love and can’t wait to show you what we have in store for 2018.  

  • Young Seuss – “123”
  • Big Leano – “Broke” [Prod. Tee-WaTT]
  • Vintage Lee – “Bless You” [Prod. Jew Paidro]
  • Millyz – “Lessons” [Prod. Achillies]
  • VALLEY – “Atari” [Prod. Stoop Kid]
  • Caliph & Jefe Replay – “The Mood” [Prod. Obeatz]
  • MyCompiledThoughts – “Romeo and Juliet”
  • Cousin Stizz – “Lambo”
  • DJ Lucas – “Doubt”
  • Lonny X – “Believe It” [Prod. Gravez]
  • Juxi – “Leave Me Alone” [Prod. Banbwoi]
  • Jiggz – “Excuses” [Prod. digitLIX]
  • KREW$ – “Dog Days” [Prod. DMND]
  • RAMS – “Disease!” [Prod. Maka]
  • Rothstein – “Jaded” ft. Supa Bwe [Prod. Shepard]
  • Patrick Michel – “Perfect” [Prod. GrandCruu]
  • Alejandro Blanco – “Give It To Her” [Prod. TFresh & SSB]
  • Jefe Replay – “Stay Ugly” [Prod. Humbeats]
  • Mizzie Cash – “Maneuvering” [Prod. Rob $urreal]
  • Lord Felix – “Power” ft. Marvelous Stefan [Prod. LoLoTheGod]
  • Plad Fine$$e – “Cheese” [Prod. 4oTo Roles]
  • Maye Star – “Adjacent” ft. CH!LD [Prod. Sevnth]
  • WHYTRI – “XURWIFI (Remix) ft. Lily Rayne [Prod. Cecil]
  • Stripes iii – “Henny Down” [Prod. K.C.B.]
  • Khary – “1-800-IDGAF” [Prod. Cloud Atrium]
  • SuperSmashBroz – “Replay Interlude” ft. Jefe Replay [Prod. LDG]
  • Michael Christmas – “Not The Only One” ft. Tobi Lou [Prod. Durkin]
  • $ean Wire – “Moonlight” [Prod. Tropicana Bwoy]
  • Pistola – “Jokes On You” [Prod. Stoop Kid]
  • CAVE – “Who’s Next” [Prod. Maka]
  • Maka & Durkin – “Waterworld”
  • Gio Dee – “Buzz Lightyear” [Prod. MLVN]
  • Humbeats – “Monday” ft. Austin Fair & TeaMarrr
  • StupidGenius – “Palm Trees” ft. Capito [Prod. Lil Rich & Gruca]
  • Garrett Merk – “Simple” [Prod. Frace]
  • Danny Diamonds – “Can’t Talk”
  • Gogo – “Cocaina”
  • Polo $ummers – “$ad Boi” [Prod. WaVe GoD]
  • SuperSmashBroz – “Still” ft. Big Leano & Vintage Lee [Prod. Tee-WaTT]
  • Haasan Barclay – “Live For You”
  • CHE – “Thii”
  • Avenue – “Ain’t Shit Funny” (Remix) ft. Prano, Millyz, Le$, Al-Doe & Chase N Cashe
  • Donald Grunge – “Shade” [Prod. Maka]
  • Boogie Da God – “Get Well Soon” ft. Jefe Replay
  • Marvelous Stefan – “Double Tap!” ft. Saint Lyor [Prod. Trevor Powers]
  • Black EL – “Another Dose” [Prod. Durkin]
  • $wooli – “Rainy Days” ft. Rachel Aiello
  • Rosewood Bape – “Miss Me” [Prod. Kin Rich]
  • TeaMarrr – “The One” [Prod. Ky Thompson & Keith Bell]
  • Michael Christmas – “Top Turnbuckle” ft. OG Swaggerdick

A Reflection On Cousin Stizz’s House of Blues Homecoming Show

By: Seamus Fay

From a kid in Fields Corner to a star in the making. From basement shows to a sold-out House of Blues. From 301 out of 305 in his high school class to a national tour and a deal with RCA. From Dorchester to the world.

Since his beginnings as an artist, Cousin Stizz has proven time and time again to be destined for success, and now, years removed from these very beginnings, it has become clear that Boston has a hometown hero on our hands.

Here enters November 24, 2017. After moving to Los Angeles to work on what would become his critically acclaimed third mixtape, One Night Only, Stizz returned to the light with a vengeance this past summer (word to Big Leano) and turned a hell of a mixtape into a national tour. To end this tour, he played a sold-out homecoming show at the House of Blues – an incredible story in itself when you think about how far the Boston representative has come.

Today, I’m here reflect on the importance of the show and shed some light on a few moments that I found to be most impactful when you think about the rich history behind them.

– – – – – – – –

Within Friday’s historic concert, two moments in particular spoke out to me as a testaments to the growth that fans have seen since the Suffolk County days: one being the presence of Guillermo Antonini and Tim Larew at the show and watching them interact at the end of the night, and the other being Stizz’s performance of “Talk” with Jefe Replay.

When reflecting on the journey of how Cousin Stizz’s success came to be, one specific freestyle event called “12 For 12” cannot be missed. Initially helping to introduce the ambitious Dorchester rapper’s lyrical prowess, BU students (at the time), Tim Larew and Guillermo Antonini were two of the head figures responsible for organizing the “12 For 12” Freestyle events – a series of cypher sessions focused on uniting Boston artists and building working and personal relationships as the city came together and showcased its underappreciated and often times relatively unknown skills.

In a full-circle moment that not everyone may have caught eyes on or understood, right near the end of Stizz’s show this past Friday, I watched Guillermo dap up Tim near the back right corner of the stage. A simple handshake and a nod of approval and gratitude couldn’t have meant more. When seemingly no one was paying attention, these two saw the potential and talent in their city and went above and beyond themselves to make sure it was recognized. Pair that with some truly honorable work ethics and sharp ears for talent, and you’ve got the basis for a story that will never again be imitated in such an incredible manner.

That one handshake meant the world for me to see, and I can only imagine what Stizz, Tim, and Guillermo alike would have said back then if you had told them that their story would eventually lead to a sold out, 2700-person show at the House of Blues. What a sight to see.

Okay, so I sort of went on a rant with that one. Sorry. But now we can revisit the second impactful moment I mentioned: Cousin Stizz’s performance of the Suffolk County cut, “Talk” featuring Jefe Replay.

This song has always been one of my favorites from the tape even before I understood Stizz’s history with Replay. By utilizing an ominous atmosphere to paint the unforgiving images of life in the city, both artists are at their finest on this track in their lyricism as well as their stone-cold deliveries. Slow-paced but chilling in its nature, this is one of those songs that comes around every once in a while and sets the tone for an undeniable classic.

Taking a step back, before Cousin Stizz was “Cousin Stizz”, he was in a group by the name of Pilot Nation alongside fellow Boston artists Nick Gray (who also performed on Friday) and Jefe Replay. Almost reflecting on these humble beginnings when the three talents first began to establish their names as acts to watch out for locally, Stizz’s performance of “Talk” at the HOBs was another full-circle moment for Boston.

His well-documented chemistry with Replay has been impressive from the jump, and to see two artists who have remained among the most promising talents in Boston still performing together today is nothing less than historic. Hearing the lines of “I hear whispers of death come from many men/ But I still walk through my city, man” and the ever-important outro from Stizz, saying, “Still on that same shit, that never change shit, you know/ Stick with it, you gon’ get it, I promise”, acted as nostalgic reminders of the progress that has been made as well as reminders of the the sky-high potential that still exists – both of which rang out in the importance behind the handshake that Replay and Stizz shared at the end of the song with the instrumental playing in the background.

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Boston’s music scene has seen quite a few changes since the 2012 days, yet the one staple that has remained consistent throughout and has personally been my favorite element to watch has been the unrivaled loyalty. Whether it’s observed best in Stizz bringing Replay out for “Talk”, Stizz’s come up with Big Leano, or something else, there’s no denying that the love still remains among some of the pioneers of Boston’s resurgence in rap.

– – – – – – – –

I could go on and on about the importance of this past Friday, but it’s probably best to leave it there. Let some things live in legend, you know? To end this article off, I first want to say thank you to Cousin Stizz, Tim Larew, Guillermo Antonini, and everyone involved in such an inspirational journey. Seeing those 2012 dreams come to fruition has been motivation for all of Boston, me included, and I can’t wait for the success that the future holds.

Here’s to a night that that will go down in history as the day a Boston rapper, or better yet, a hometown hero sold out the House of Blues. The story continues.

Thank you to @photokohli  and @Perspec7ive  for the photos used in this article.

Boogie Da God – ‘It’s Been Real’ [EP]

By: Seamus Fay

If you’ve been following Graduation Music for a while now, you probably know of our well-documented love for Roxbury artist Boogie Da God. His old-school touch and carefully crafted lyricism never cease to impress, and with an incredible ear for finding the right production to excel over, the wave he’s running right now is unmatched in its soulful energy. Today Boogie is back on our pages with his latest offering, the It’s Been Real EP.

6 tracks in total, the hypnotic production on this one gives way to an unbelievably entertaining listen with credits from fellow local artists Stripes III, Jefe Replay, Brandon James, 4oToRoles, and SenecaBeats. Not only does Boogie float over each instrumental with an effortless style that has proven to be one of the best in its lane, but each feature goes just as hard, displaying a seamless chemistry that makes this nostalgic release near-flawless in every nature. I can’t say I’ve heard anything I even remotely dislike from Boogie Da God before, and he’s definitely not starting now with the standout EP to front his journey to the top. Give It’s Been Real a listen below and enjoy the soulful approach to music that the Roxbury native takes.