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”

Leano – “Strong” ft. Millyz [Prod. Tee-WaTT]

By: Seamus Fay

When it comes to the rap community in Massachusetts, few names hold more weight than those of Leano and Millyz. Each of the two rising stars have built up comprehensive catalogs of hustle-minded music, and today, in a Jordan-Pippen fashion, they join forces for a hard-hitting new track entitled “Strong”. And just like that, an anthem is made. Whether you’re sitting behind a desk or hustling on the street, the pursuit of the bag is one that both Millyz and Leano both know something about, and they’re sure to make this apparent in “Strong”, dropping off ample wisdom about putting in work and getting to the bag at all costs.

That said, as if putting Leano and Millyz on the same song wasn’t enough, “Strong” also calls on Tee-WaTT to handle the production side of things. Per usual, Tee snapped, and the result is a futuristic, sparkling instrumental that perfectly reflects the underlying aggression of the song. Over this impenetrable sonic background, the verses on this one are some of the finest we’ve heard from either rapper to date. The lyrics tell stories and paint pictures of collecting benjamins, seemingly teaching a class in the art of hustling with two renowned professors leading the way. That said, this collaboration gives listeners everything they expect and more, so make sure you don’t sleep.

Show some love and listen to “Strong” in all of its hard-nosed glory at the link provided below:

An Interview With Twayne The Kidd

By: Seamus Fay

You may know him from one of his famed KIDD.FM exclusives, you may know him from one of his two placements on Big Leano’s latest project, Packula, or you may just know him from his widely-respected stature within Boston’s budding community of talent. Regardless of how you heard the name Twayne The Kidd, however, there’s no denying that he’s getting ready to take things to the next level in 2018. Between a relentless balance of work ethic and natural talent, the opportunities are sure to present themselves in a short matter of time, and deservedly so.

We here at Graduation Music have been keeping track of Twayne The Kidd for almost a year now, and considering the abundance of potential that he holds, it only made sense for us to get him on the site for an interview. That being said, we spoke to him recently about topics ranging from his upbringing to making a movie soundtrack, and everything in between.

You can read the interview below.


Where did grow up? What was your childhood like?

I grew up in New London, a small town in Southeastern Connecticut. I lived there until 7th grade then I transferred schools to live with my dad in Groton.

When did you first connect with music and what artists inspired you early on?

I have always been a creative since I was 8 years old. I had an IBM Thinkpad from my grandma and I used to record my raps through Windows Sound Recorder. I was heavily influenced by The Low End Theory album from ATCQ, it was all that I would listen to on my PSP. I started making more raps in 8th grade and started releasing music under the name “Amusers.” I found Fruity Loops Studio 9 on YouTube one day and I downloaded a demo and tried it out. I learned how to sample and it was a wrap after that! I’ve been using FL Studio ever since.

Top 3 producers of all time?

Kanye West, Pharrell, CardoGotWings.

Where do you look to for inspiration when making beats?

I try to play video games from my childhood like SSX 3 or Sonic Heroes to feel nostalgia. I do this to capture that feeling people are familiar with, but I try to add a modern touch to it. Primarily the reason why I use the Capcom jingle in most of my beats.

If you could go back and create your own soundtrack for one movie, what movie would it be and why?

Above The Rim! I feel like a Twayne The Kidd soundtrack would sound crazy on it because I would make a killer theme song for Bishop.

What is your DAW of choice and why?

FL Studio 12. The step sequencer is easy and quick to get my ideas down.

When/how did you meet Big Leano and how did your two placements on Packula come together?

3A.M. I tagged Tee-WaTT on one of my beats I posted on Twitter. He followed me and then hit me up about working with Big Leano. He gave me his email and then I just sent some beats back and forth. Leano replied back to me each time and then eventually gave me his number. I sent him the beat for “Two” and “Talk Show” over the summer and he hit me back with the records right away.

What is your proudest accomplishment in music so far and why?

Getting linked up with my manager Maine. I’m happy to finally have representation and others who believe in me. I’ve been laughed at and doubted for making music since I started, so I’m happy everyone can see my vision.

Lastly, what can fans expect from Twayne The Kidd in 2018?

Collab project with Big Leano, more KIDD.FM exclusives, and major placements soon!


Connect with Twayne The Kidd on:

SoundCloud

Instagram

Twitter

TrakTrain

Vintage Lee – “Hennythings Possible” [Music Video]

By: Seamus Fay

Vintage Lee has undoubtedly established herself as a top runner in Boston’s budding rap scene, marking her wave with numerous hit singles and her 2017 full-length debut, P.I.M.P. Add this to the extraordinary feat of getting her Tee-WaTT produced banger, “Hennythings Possible” on the NBA 2K18 soundtrack, and you now have a solid understanding of the incredible rap resume that Lee has built up so well. No stranger to our pages, the Roxbury native is back on Graduation Music today with the visual companion for the aforementioned standout track.

For starters, this video illustrates and embraces the charismatic presence that Vintage Lee has shown to be with a carefully-crafted touch as she drives around Roxbury in a luxurious BMW and wears her matching flex-worthy outfit (BTW that sportscoat is too clean). Personally, I find these A_Ciggs & Lauren Brimeyer-directed visuals to be the perfect match for such an unforgiving song, and this new release only reminded me of the sky-high potential that Lee truly possesses.

This Roxbury pimp on the way to the top, so be sure to show some love and check out the new video for “Hennythings Possible” below.

Cousin Stizz – “Lambo” [Music Video]

By: Seamus Fay

Simply put, whenever Tee-WaTT and Cousin Stizz join forces, it’s a wrap. Throughout their numerous collaborations over the years, One Night Only standout and one of my personal favorites of their catalog together, “Lambo”, has proven to solidify itself as an anthem of determination and the success that it yields for fans everywhere. Thankfully so, Stizz is back on our pages today to revisit that banger with accompanying visuals.

Rich not only in the luxurious imagery of a Lamborghini but also in the work that it takes to get there, these visuals show us the money-minded ambition that Stizz always seems to exhibit so gracefully with pinpoint accuracy and a personable touch. His inspirational rhymes and relaxed cadences act as promises of the success that the Dorchester native will soon see along with recollections of the success that he has seen so far, and with “Lambo”s purposeful presence as an anthem for getting the bag, these visuals were very necessary to painting the picture of motivation that One Night Only offers to us all.

In the beginning of the video, we watch Stizz eyeing the Lambo alongside Boston-raised designer Derrick Houston Jr. as he seems to take mental note of the car as his monetary goal – he’s not there yet, but with the look that he gives, he knows damn well that he’s on the way to the finish line. Following this decided ambition, the video pans into scene after scene of our favorite cousin collecting cash from boxing bets, shooting dice, and doing whatever else it takes to get what he needs in pursuit of the car, only to return to it by the end of the video and ultimately achieve his goal in racing the Lambo.

Directed by Ian Goodwin, these visuals paint a vivid picture of the motivational presence that Stizz represents in a manner that truly makes for a standout music video. But this comes as no surprise, as this director-rapper combo has seen immense complementary growth throughout the years with many success celebrated alongside one another – a staple case being the “Shoutout” music video that helped put Stizz on the map. With that, it’s always great to see these two rising stars back together with the same chemistry and passion they have shared since the jump, and “Lambo” is living proof that this collaboration yields a spectacular final product every time.

Something tells me that Stizz is just getting started with what he has to come in 2018, so be sure to show some love and click play on the music video for this money-minded anthem below.

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

An Interview With DumDrumz

By: Seamus Fay

Sure, he may not be from Boston, but Florida-based producer DumDrumz has undoubtedly made his impact felt in the city’s budding rap scene with production credits on tracks like “No Bells”, “Gain Green”, “Super Bowl”, and more. Utilizing hypnotic sounds and downright intoxicating melodies, this promising talent has proven himself as a force to be reckoned with on the boards, establishing seamless chemistry with any artist he works with and never failing to craft a hit together when needed.

Just yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with DumDrumz about his upbringing, his work on Suffolk County, Florida, and more. You can check out what he had to say below.


So to start things off, where are you originally from?

I’m from Miami, FL; Carol City to be specific. It’s a surrounding neighborhood in the city of Miami Gardens.

Growing up in Florida, what role did music play in your life and how do you feel about the local scene?

Growing up, music was always around me. My background is Jamaican and I was literally always surrounded by music. My Father would play music all the time growing up especially on Sunday’s when we would clean up. Then is where I got my musical creativity. He would always Mix Music and it sparked my interest in how Music should sit in a certain pocket.. at least what I think it should sound like. I always listened to Reggae, R&B, and a bit of rap, which I didn’t really get into heavy until about middle school.

The local music scene, well Miami, for the most part, is, in my opinion,  the most diverse place for music. We have so much talent here to create a sound, but at the same time, it is a lot of pride here that doesn’t make it easy for people to blow up. It takes a lot of work. It’s not like the Atlanta scene how they have their own sound. Miami is literally like a mixing pot of talent and I know one day everyone can come together and create a sound like no other. I’m hoping to become a legend with that one day.

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When did you take that love of music from your dad and turn it into producing?

I started producing around 12 years old. It progressed into high school. I was familiar with certain softwares and things like that. When I got into high school I used to sell ringtones with my friends and people thought I was really good at mixing songs. So, I thought to myself, I should just really start making beats. I had TV production for a couple years so every now and then I would finish my work and then sneak into a room and make beats on garage band. That was it from there.

When you attended Florida A & M, what did you study? How did you balance producing and school?

I attended Florida A&M in 2009. I studied Health Science in a concentration with physical therapy. I ended up going back to school after I graduated though.

Balancing producing was difficult. I always had six classes, plus I worked. To be honest, sometimes I look back and realized I was like a machine. I would work, go to class, study, do homework, and always at the end of the night make 3-5 beats. It was the desire that made it possible. Desire with anything makes whatever focus you have possible.

How did you end up turning this hard work into breakout opportunities with Stizz on Suffolk County? How did you two first link and when did you decide to work together?

To be honest I was actually about to just call it quits on music for a while and focus on building my life. I had all my equipment ready to be sold on Craigslist. I guess I was fed up with my lack of patience to not be heard. Something told me just to relax and wait. So one day in my last semester of school – I don’t know how I ended up finding his music video on YouTube – but I saw the “Shoutout” video and heard Obeatz’ production on it and I was amazed. I must have played that song 100 times that same day. Then, I just found his twitter and hit him up.

I told him I loved the track and that I wanted to send him some beats. I must have sent like 20 beats or so, most that I thought were okay. The ones he picked were the ones everyone loved and the ones I disliked the most, funny how life works. From there that was it. Just built that relationship. Besides music, he’s one of the most solid guys I know.

Did you know anything about the Boston scene that was being built up at the time? If not, how did you view Boston as an outsider?

I actually didn’t know about the Boston music scene until I heard his music, then I ventured and listened to Michael Christmas. I felt like Boston was going to be on the come up. I knew that for a fact. Outside looking in it seemed like the whole city as a whole supporter each other. That’s something that I thought was real positive. Most places don’t show support. I still need to go up there.

A few other frequent collaborators of yours are Tee-WaTT, M. Ali, Obeatz, and Lil Rich. How did you link with them and begin working together?

Right after I sent those beats to Stizz, it wasn’t that long before I reached out to them via Twitter. I thought wow, these guys sounds are on another level. Again, building another relationship. Those are my guys for real. They push me to make better sounds. Tee-Watt, M. Ali, Lil Rich, and Obeatz are real solid guys that I met through my journey so far.

What’s one story you can share from the creation of Suffolk County that fans may not know?

I was finishing a physics 2 exam and I was stressed. I had my computer on me because I was studying before. I felt like I didn’t do well on my exam so I drove home, pulled up into my complex, and sat in my car. I didn’t feel like going inside because I was beefing with my roommates. I pulled out my computer and sat in my car. I opened up FL studio (that was my DAW at the time), made a simple drum pattern. Then I made another drum pattern. I must have played the drum pattern for 15 minutes. I wanted something with a mystic type sound, so I searched through sounds and bass lines. 10 minutes later, I had no bells. I was going to trash that.

What advice do you have for young producers?

Be yourself and never doubt yourself. Remain genuine – people can see when you have an agenda or not. If you’re not in it to be a legend then you’re in the wrong business. Be patient, but still put energy behind your work. You can do anything you put your focus towards.

What’s your DAW of choice and why?

Ableton. I left FL studio then went to Native Instruments Maschine for a couple years. It was a little slow for me.

Ableton seems to fit me. Sound quality is amazing and it’s a little unorthodox like my mind sometimes, so it just fits. I’ve been on Ableton the past five years. Still so much to learn, but I recommend everyone gives Ableton a try at least once.

With the current climate of producers in rap today and their struggles, what do you have to say about receiving credit for your work and what the roles of producers are in both music and culture at the moment?

Producers now are at an all-time high. I feel like it’s easier to get into music. It seems like everyone is a producer nowadays. For some, it could seem frustrating, especially the ones who have been trying to break a barrier to get knee deep in the game. I used to get frustrated, but it’s all in the game. Things take time and even with the credit that I received I know I still have to push a little further to get heard. I’m humbled, but I’m striving for platinum status. I’m already platinum is what I tell myself every morning when I wake up.

I don’t feel people realize how important producers are. We are the building blocks to artists and if you’re respected enough, an artist can go far. Producers are also trying to find a lane for themselves just like artists now to make a living and to be equal on the same platform as artists.

I respect all the young producers, just stick with it, make a lane for yourself, and ask yourself, “what are you in it for?”

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Lastly, what can we expect from DumDrumz in 2018?

Trying to create another lane with some joint projects with artists I’ve been building with. Looking to develop a project for myself. Been working on the idea all year so it will come into next year. I don’t like to speak on these things, but next year should be good to me. I feel like next year is my turn.

Thank you to DumDrumz for the interview – it has been an inspiration to watch your success as of yet and I wish you the best of luck moving forward. Here’s to a bright future.

***All photography via @kenirish***


Connect with DumDrumz on:

SoundCloud

Twitter

Instagram