The Time is Now: An Interview With Valley and KorHef

By: Seamus Fay

Life is funny. As humans, we naturally take things for granted, with one of our most under-appreciated assets being that of time. From a young age, we’re constantly told that we have decades upon decades in front of us, but the truth is, whether one has many years ahead or not, life is short and more importantly, it’s not guaranteed.

Being that life isn’t guaranteed, it’s only sensible to say that procrastination isn’t worth it. If tomorrow isn’t promised, then why wait? Why push our dreams down the line when in reality, the further we push these dreams out, the less likely they are to get accomplished?

Asking themselves many of these same questions, Boston artists Valley and KorHef are here today for an interview ahead of Valley’s forthcoming debut mixtape. 

Having turned heads around the city for a few years at this point, Valley’s slow-burning come-up has been best characterized by infrequent releases and a keen sense of individuality. Simply put, no one in the city sounds quite like the Dorchester native, and now paired with producers KorHef and Stoop Kid for his debut project, Valley is roaring with the creative ambition and motivation to make a profound mark on the city’s music scene with his formal introduction. However, as many fans have taken note, this full-circle moment in Valley’s rise may seem quite sudden.

Born out of tragedy, the release of the project was actually pushed far ahead of schedule due to the untimely and deeply unfortunate loss of Corey “Flee” Thompson. Beloved by music and fashion communities in Boston and beyond, Corey’s passing acted as a wake-up call for Valley, KorHef, and countless other creatives, reminding them that if they’re going to make their mark, the time is now — but more on that later.

Below is a conversation I was fortunate enough to have with Valley and KorHef about the creation of the project, their collective headspace amidst such a tough loss for the city, and so much more.

Thank you to Valley and Kor for taking the time. 

Rest in peace to Flee and thank you to a young legend for all of the early encouragement in regards to Graduation Music. The city wouldn’t be where it is without Corey’s inspiring presence, long-term vision, and ahead-of-the-curve style. 

And just as a reminder — reach out to your loved ones and let them know that you appreciate them. Tomorrow’s not promised, so let’s enjoy and make the most of today.


How did you and Kor start working together in the first place?

Valley: To be honest, when Kor first started making beats, he always wanted to work with me, so I kept telling him, “yo — you gotta get a little better and work on your craft some more.” And Corey was always the one that was right there to be back that up and tell Kor, “man, keep working, keep working.”

At the time, I was getting beats from [Dreaveli] and Stoop Kid, so I was already situated with the producers. Mind you, though, Dre and Stoop had also been helping Kor with his beats. A couple months went by, bro was playing me some new shit from Kor, and I said, “wait a minute — this is Kor?” [Dreaveli] was like, “yeah, this n***a been working on beats every day — and I knew that wasn’t cap because that’s the person that Kor is, you feel me? He’s very determined on anything he wants to do.

From there, I started hearing more beats from him and hit him like, “yo, we definitely gotta tap in.” At the time, though, I was still working with Stoop heavy, and me and Stoop were actually going to put out a tape. I fell back from it, though, because I still wanted to go deeper into my craft. I took that time to link with Kor and we just started going crazy.

KorHef: I got in contact with Valley through Corey — just being around Corey and knowing that Valley did music. Then one day, we got up and started working on music together. Ever since then, the chemistry just kept getting built up and it’s still building right now. I found out about Valley in like 2010, but I’ve only been making beats for about three years now, so that’s when we started working.

Also, coming up as a drummer, I just have a different ear for music. When I would hear different sounds, I would call up bro and be like, “oh, this is it,” you feel me? So by the time we would link up, [Valley] could just start writing and we’d be ready to go. And we’d be on that type of shit all the time.

What was going on before music? What made you want to take it more seriously?

Valley: Mainly based on how I would dress, people would always be like “oh, you like a rapper,” and to me, I was cool with all the rappers — Cousin Stizz, Mikey Christmas, OG Swaggerdick… This was around that era when they were still on the rise. I was in the back just bussin’ plays with all the bitches, doing fly shit and really whatever I could do. At the time, I was also fucking with some other artists from the city. Through them, I was involved with the forefront of the scene, but I was still that fly n***a in the back. 

At some point while they were doing their thing, I just split because I didn’t like the direction they were going in at the time — it wasn’t the music I was trying get behind and stand on, so I stopped. 

Then my boy died. He was always tryna rap but I was never on no rap shit. I probably did a couple freestyles here and there just to fuck with the game, but I was never serious about that shit until he died. After that, I took time to figure out what I wanted to do in life and then, I decided to take a spin with the music thing. Still, though, at the time, I was doing mad shit in the street, just not focusing. That changed over time, though.

KorHef: I’m from a music family. I was originally a drummer and a percussionist, so I played in churches and stuff like that. I didn’t finish college, so after that, I made my decision to become a producer and decided to learn as much as I could. I just ran with it and created my own sound.

Valley, how did it feel when your debut release, “Landed,” came out and the city started to show love right away?

Valley: When I did “Landed,” I was in the moment with life and everything, so I really just painted a picture of what was going on. I feel like the city was fucking with it because it wasn’t something they had seen before. 

I felt like that was a little gift to the city in a lot of ways — it was never something that I really wanted to set ears on, though — that was an in-the-moment flow. When I first did that shit, I was like, “oh this how we going in on ‘em — they think this is how I’m coming, but this really isn’t how I’m coming. That was basically the whole mindfuck in the beginning of it all. I still get hit up to this day about the video, no cap.

That really introduced people to the idea of how different your style was, too.

Valley: Exactly. Music is a lot like when I put on clothes, honestly, because it’s such an aesthetic. When I put on clothes, I just want every piece to be hitting, so how I do it, I definitely go outside the box. 

I’m talented, myself, so I’m always challenging the ear that’s listening. If you wanted to walk in my path, always do it different and then get better because there are a thousand ways to do this shit. With the music, it’s dope because even though it’s light, you can really feel that shit. 

When I make music, I want to make it seem like I’m gliding. But then, the other side of it is that I want to make people really feel my shit. You never really know what side you might get — it could be the side you know about or the side you really don’t know too much about.

Right now, at least in my opinion, it feels as though Boston music is on the verge of a tipping point. Do you guys feel the same way?

Valley: Yeah, coming from last year and seeing where shit is at now, I definitely feel like there are a lot of things bubbling up and coming to their peaking point. It’s definitely there — it’s definitely the right time to lay claim.

KorHef: Definitely yeah, with summertime and all that.

With that in mind, how did Corey’s passing influence the decision to release the project so soon?

Valley: I’m going to be honest with you, we weren’t even thinking about dropping. In the past, though, Corey was always saying that he wanted me to drop a tape. I’ve always been hearing from Corey, “bro, drop a tape, drop a tape, what are you waiting for?” And I always just felt like n****s wasn’t ready — that was just me in my head. 

So when this shit happened, I just told Kor, “yo this shit needs to happen now — for Flee.” Because now, I don’t get to hear that anymore and looking back, I realize I should have been listened to Corey and seen what could have happened if I did. Maybe this shit would have never happened and maybe we would be somewhere else. And that shit hurt me, you know? So now, it’s really just like fuck it Kor, let’s go. The time is now.

KorHef: Yeah, Corey used to always tell me the same kind of thing — “just drop more music so that people know you’re really out here making beats.” Either that, or he would tell me to start working with this person or start working with that person. But now, those people are starting to reach out to me so it’s time to start making everything happen. I know [Corey] would want me to keep going. Shit is just different now, but it’s come a long way.

What will this project mean for the city?

Valley: I think the project will be something to consider as a new sound. It will be something to finally stick for my generation and under. I feel like I’m the big brother to all these little n***as that are tryna be on the shit that me and Flee were on. And that’s just real life, too — even when I go to New York, in the fashion scene over there with all the models and everything, that’s actually how it goes. 

I feel like this tape is about to stamp everything. Almost everybody from around here has gotten on some fan shit with me — in a good way, though. You can understand how that would make a person feel bigheaded at the end of the day, but with me, I’m not that kind of n***a — I show love. 

And really, n*****s been waiting for this for a long time, even from back when I dropped “Color Diamonds” and “Kiss”. This is about to be that moment of “okay, this is what n****s have been waiting to hear up out of here. Because you already got Stizz, you already got Christmas, you already got Vintage, you already got Sean Wire — you already got mad people that have dropped that are hella talented. Now, you got me.

And you have to understand, this is real life. I could be gone the next day, so I got a different perspective thanks to Corey. That’s why it’s time to drop now. For every n***a that’s like me and every n***a that’s not like me — I want everybody to be able to hear the pain and be able to really feel the lyrics, you dig what I’m saying?

KorHef: I just feel like with my beats, after three year of working, I’m definitely slept on. I’m not a producer that has all these placements with Christmas, Replay, Vintage, and all them, so like Valley said, it’s going to be a real moment for a lot of people between the beats and the lyrics.

And when this project does drop, what’s the goal? What impact do you want it to make?

Valley: The goal with this project is to appreciate life and never take nothing for granted. The goal is to cherish the ones that’s in front of you and protect them with everything you got. The goal is to always check up on your loved ones. The goal is to always have confidence in your self in any circumstances. 

The goal is just to live life above. Touch as many people as you can and change your mindset, because if you don’t change your mindset, look what happens. I just want people to live their life, and if you want to cleanse your soul of any bad shit you’ve done, you’d better do it now. We lose so much to wasting time, so if you want to do some shit, you’d better do it now — don’t overthink it, do it now.

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Valley – “Time” [Official Music Video]

By: Shamus Hill

Dorchester’s finest, Valley, graces the Graduation Music site once again with an elegant visual for his brand-new single “Time”.

Throughout the last couple of years, Valley has been able to nestle himself towards the top of the food chain with respect to the music coming out of Massachusetts. His discography is one that is finely-calibrated, with each individual component being of utmost perfection. Following the success of his handful of singles, Valley sought out M9visuals to bring his first music video to life — with everyone involved truly hitting this one out of the park.

Centering itself around life in “Lil Miami”, this release fully embodies the glamorizing presence that surrounds Valley within both his discography and everyday life. He possesses an innate ability to flow meticulously whilst giving listeners a glimpse at his lifestyle — one that straight-up exudes authenticity. Lacing him with some entrancing production once again is Stoop Kid, who’s wondrous ability to craft an instrumental has really taken Valley’s music to an entirely new caliber of success. Relying solely off of the potency present within his music rather than some form of a gimmick, there isn’t a single doubt surrounding the fact that the Dorchester native will quickly become a household name within the Hip-Hop community.

Watch the official music video for “Time” below:

Directed by M9Visuals

Produced by Stoop Kid

CLICK HERE TO STREAM VIA SPOTIFY

CLICK HERE TO STREAM VIA APPLE MUSIC

VALLEY – “Dasani” [Prod. KorHefBeatz]

By: Seamus Fay

VALLEY isn’t the kind of artist who needs to speak very often in order to be heard. He moves at his own pace, and even if this means only dropping new music once in a blue moon, it’s always going to be worth it, as VALLEY is sure to turn heads no matter when or where he chooses to make himself present. Today, we see this in full effect as the Dorchester native blesses us with a brand new single entitled “Dasani”.

Produced by KorHefBeatz, this track uses bright production to shed a light on the eclectic style that VALLEY has been perfecting throughout 2018. The world of sound that the budding talent is able to tap into reflects a vision entirely of his own creation, and consequently, it’s tailored perfectly to the strengths of the Dorchester representative both in style and sound. “Dasani” is a bright look toward an even brighter 2019, so make sure you don’t let this one fall through the cracks.

Show some love and stream VALLEY’s latest at the link provided below!

Valley – “Color Diamonds” and “Kiss” [Prod. StoopKid]

By: Seamus Fay

As some of you may recall, the last time we heard from Dorchester’s own, Valley, was when he released the flex-worthy single, “Picture Me” (which, by the way, still holds a spot in my rotation to this day). Today, however, ending the silence and reminding us all why he’s one of the best upcoming artists in the city right now, Valley is here to drop off two brand new singles entitled “Color Diamonds” and “Kiss”. Both produced by none other than StoopKid, these tracks remind us of the Jordan-Pippen chemistry going on with this artist-producer combo, and quite honestly, they’re some of the duo’s finest works to date.

With this, “Color Diamonds” and “Kiss” each find their identities within bubbling energy and feel-good, sparkling melodies. The success-minded subject matter lets us all know that Valley is shooting straight for the top, settling for nothing less, and thankfully so, as his arsenal of talents is bringing him on a steady ascent towards his goal with singles like this. In addition to the promising creative direction that both songs possess, the latest from Boston’s own proves that he doesn’t need to speak much in order to bring his point across. Musically, Valley had been quiet for almost a year prior to this release, but he made sure that when he did decide to drop, he would make it count. And that he did.

All in all, “Color Diamonds” and “Kiss” deserve to take over our summer playlists, so be sure to stream them at the links below!

Vintage Lee Announces First Headlining Show 2/8

By: Seamus Fay

At this point, it goes without saying that Vintage Lee is one of Roxbury’s most promising young stars. Between the widespread success of her debut mixtape, P.I.M.P., her single “Hennythings Possible” landing a spot on the NBA 2K18 soundtrack, and the numerous noteworthy singles that have continued to fuel her wave throughout the past few months, Lee cannot miss right now. Her hometown has embraced this talent with open arms, and today, she’s back on our pages with the announcement of her debut headlining show, “Pimp Paradise”.

Set for February 8th at the Middle East Upstairs, this show will feature additional performances from Valley and HighKeyRandom with the SuperSmashBroz and Fleeaveli on the ones and twos. This is a huge moment not only for Lee’s career but also for Roxbury, as it shows the fact that the city’s local scene refuses to be ignored right now. Venues in Boston may not quite see the vision yet, but when this show sells out, it will be sure to help to open their eyes in investing in local talents and the local fanbase.

And trust me, with the direction that she’s headed, in a year you’ll be wondering how you ever got the chance to see Vintage Lee for only $10. Be sure not to miss this hometown hero’s headlining show and peep the flyer below.

Artwork via @Gregisonfire 

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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

Rafael Arturo – “Studio Time” With Valley & Stoop Kid

By: Seamus Fay

Rafael Arturo has quietly been solidifying himself as one of Boston’s finest filmmakers and designers through a series of well-crafted short films of the life that he lives day to day and a sharp insight as to what it means to be a creator in a city of so much young talent nowadays.

Earlier this morning, the local creative released a VHS-styled short video of a trip to the studio with rising stars Valley and Stoop Kid, detailed with a thoughtful guitar instrumental playing in the background that sets an intimate, personal atmosphere and gives fans a closer look at the process behind the hits we know and love. Check it out below and keep an eye on Rafael Arturo because he’s been consistently dropping some incredible visual content lately. Don’t sleep.