By: Shamus Hill
Van Buren Records seemingly never sleeps, as the collective releases new material at a rate that mimics the speed of light. Once again, the Brockton-based collective of creatives makes their way back onto the MMR airwaves, this time with Jiles' music video for "Free Lunch".
This track, which comes off of Jiles' It's Not Much, But It's Mine (Deluxe), features Jiles rapping alongside many of Van Buren's affiliates. Equipped with shots in both Boston and Brockton, Jiles' latest visual puts the state of Massachusetts at the forefront.
Jiles' artistry is extremely gritty, and doesn't shy away from any of what he's endured throughout his life. He's always shown his authentic self, which has been something that has truly assisted him with respect to the construction of his fanbase. He speaks on behalf of many from both Brockton, and other communities across the United States, and their experiences.
Quite literally making music for a greater purpose than simply himself, Jiles is an artist that you should really be listening to right now.
Watch the official music video for "Free Lunch" below:
By: Shamus Hill
Boston's CAEV has routinely showcased why he's one of the most versatile artists within both the state of Massachusetts and beyond. Today, he makes his debut onto the Mass Music Radio Blog following the release of the official music video for his brand new song titled "Is What It Is".
Shot by CAEV, Raheem Hercule, Zhamak Fullad, Henry McGowan, and JMP, all close friends of CAEV, this visual is truly a stand-out. Similar to BoriRock's music video for "Exciting" which dropped earlier in the year, this video provides viewers with a glimpse toward who some of the people closest to CAEV are. It really shows who CAEV is at his core, subsequently doing a great job at connecting CAEV to his fanbase.
Produced by Brockton's Isaiah Valmont, "Is What It Is" is the latest addictive offering to be added to CAEV's discography. His single "High As My Fashion" received a countless amount of spins on Mass Music Radio over the course of the last year, and it seems as though "Is What It Is" will soon be taking over a similar role on our airwaves.
CAEV's sonic capabilities are simply unmatched, and the way he constructs his music truly stands out amongst most artists. Be sure to keep a lookout for what's next to come from this Boston artist, as he's only just getting started.
Watch the official music video for "Is What It Is" below:
By: Mike Scarfo
Multi-talented composer and producer, Shane Dylan, is generally known around Boston’s indie music scene for his slick keyboard grooves and live instrumental sets. However, Shane has steadily built momentum for a thunderous full-length collaborative album set to release later this year, featuring some of Boston’s most talented artists. He previously released “The Camera Fades to Black” with Evan Wright and Marquis Filthy in 2019, followed by the smooth and jazzy “Last Week” featuring Kofi Lost in late 2020, both serving as lead singles for the upcoming project.
Now in 2021, Shane returns with his most dynamic single yet titled “Storm”, as he links up with rapper SeeFour and jazz vocalist Naledi Masilo. SeeFour delivers lead vocals, capturing the “gruesome scene” of a person’s life filled with vices of materialism and societal pressures; his lyricism is a vivid portrayal of all-consuming gloom:
“Shot at with Triple beams, fear is the newest fad / You getting too attached, about to go catch a bag / Hard knock life kid, heard you was living fast / And then it starts to get bad when cousin and granny passed / Smaller is getting better, better is feeling wack / The devil is on your back with evil and pity laughs”.
SeeFour furthers the narrative by addressing our tendency to draw comparisons to others through social media, claiming “being social ain’t the norm, people pay [him] to
perform”. His message connects with the idea that our insecurities are heightened by constant exposure to digital interpretations of fame and success. Lyrically, “Storm” reflects the resiliency of overcoming these insecurities, while the orchestration juxtaposes an illustratively dark, stormy aesthetic. SeeFour’s passionate, often drawn-out vocals are the perfect melodic pairing with Shane’s synth-sounding key progressions on the bridge.
Naledi Masilo’s lush vocals on the hook contrast beautifully over an eclectic ensemble that features colorful keys from Shane, and a melancholy brass section led by Tim Hall, Miles Keingstein, & Matt Estabrook. JP Heston adds smooth bass chords along with energetic percussion from Romarna Campbell, providing depth and fullness to the production palette. Shane ends with an emphatic keyboard solo, ultimately intensifying the mood of the track to a climactic ending. Every instrumental element on “Storm” blends harmoniously on top of subtle rain and thunder samples, creating a cinematically profound sonic experience.
Be on the lookout for the official music video for “Storm” coming soon, directed by Christ Genty. “Storm” was recorded at The Bridge Sound and Stage, and was mixed and mastered by Ryan Renteria.
Stream "Storm" below:
LOWELL'S LIL RICH CONTINUES TO DEVELOP HIS SOLO-DISCOGRAPHY WITH THE RELEASE OF "GRAND PRIX"
By: Shamus Hill
Hailing from Lowell, Massachusetts is Lil Rich - an artist, producer, and all-around creative who's been making his mark on the music industry over the course of the last couple of years.
While many may be familiar with his name because of his production credits on music by YG, DaBaby, Cousin Stizz, BIA, and more, Lil Rich is setting out to change the narrative in 2021. He first came across my radar as a part of the Lowell-based group StupidGenius several years ago, but it's apparent that this year he's embarking on a mission towards developing his solo-career.
"Grand Prix" is the second single of his to be released so far this year, and is the first to be the recipient of its own music video. Featuring glamorous shots of a winter wonderland, Joshua Valle truly excelled with respect to giving "Grand Prix" the visual it deserved. This is a track that you'll most definitely be hearing on the MMR airwaves throughout the coming months, so definitely be sure to give it a spin!
Watch the official music video for Lil Rich's "Grand Prix" below:
FIELDS CORNER NATIVE, JUXI, ADDS FORMIDABLE LAYER TO HIS DISCOGRAPHY WITH "ACTION"
By: Shamus Hill
Boston based rapper, Juxi, starts his 2021 on a high note following the release of his well-crafted single "Action".
2020 proved to be a big one with respect to Juxi's musical career. Not only did he drop two projects: Here4TheParty and In No Rush, but he released a plethora of singles that have added formidable layers to his discography. While he's been making good music for some time now, it's been in the last year or so where his sound has become tremendously refined. Juxi is really figuring out what works well for him in terms of music, and as each new release comes out, I grow with more and more excitement to hear his development.
While there are many different components of his musical catalog that I enjoy, "Action" has quickly risen towards the top of the pack. In a time where Drill-infused production has put mainstream airwaves into a figurative headlock, Juxi finds a way to hop on the wave in a manner that is unique to who he is as an artist. In short, this song was put together tremendously, and once you give it the first spin, you'll likely be giving it a thousand more.
Listen to Juxi's latest release, "Action", below:
By: Shamus Hill
Fearless Music Group affiliate, K.I.L, makes his debut onto the Mass Music Radio airwaves following the release of the official music video for his song "NO I.D".
Coming off of his 2020 Separation EP, "NO I.D" is the first track off of this tape to receive its own visual treatment. While the EP rests at roughly 12 minutes in length, the project is not lacking in terms of showcasing K.I.L's skillset. He's a really talented writer, and the way he's able to construct a song is worthy of praise.
Like many who are reading this right now, this release was the first time that I came across K.I.L's discography. While he may be in the pre-limbs of establishing his fan base, the team here at Mass Music Radio is loving what we're hearing thus far. Be on the lookout for what's next to come from Boston rapper K.I.L.
Watch the official music video "NO I.D" below:
CONNIS' MUSIC VIDEO FOR "SPF 30" PROVIDES AN INTIMATE GLIMPSE TOWARDS WHO THE CAMBRIDGE RAPPER IS AT HIS CORE
By: Shamus Hill
Despite the fact that he moved across the country to New Orleans this past year, Connis is still very much connected to the state of Massachusetts on an extremely deep-rooted level. While relocating to someplace different than one's hometown may seem incredibly daunting, Connis has done so out of the necessity to grow - something that's been a theme within his catalog of music for quite some time now.
Shot by his partner, Hannah Ashe, the video for "SPF 30" depicts their cross-country move to New Orleans. Equipped with candid shots throughout their journey, this video does a truly brilliant job with respect to showcasing the person that Connis is at his core. "SPF 30" features production from Boston based producer Gib DJ, who excels at crafting a sound that feels both jovial and dreamy.
This song serves as the debut single for Connis' upcoming project Somewhere To Go, which is slated to come out later on this year, so if you've been enjoying what you've heard on "SPF 30", then be sure to keep Connis on your radar as the year progresses.
Watch the official music video for "SPF 30" below:
BOSTON RAPPER, AVENUE, MAKES HIS PRESENCE FELT ON NEW PROJECT ALONGSIDE E.N.G CREATIONS, 'BROWNSTONES'
By: Shamus Hill
For those of you out there who've been keeping a keen ear to the everblooming Massachusetts music scene, you'll easily recognize the name Avenue. If I had to describe the Boston based MC in one word, I'd likely utilize the word "persistent". Since hearing his music for the first time way back in 2012, his distinctive ability to rap has consistently been at the forefront of his discography. In a time where both authenticity and potency are more necessary in music than ever, Avenue's latest EP, BROWNSTONES, serves as the lighthouse within the depths of a coastal storm.
Since the project's debut this past week, BROWNSTONES has been making its rounds throughout the internet. "Bob The Chefs", a song that has ultimately grown to become my favorite component off of this EP, was the first to receive a visual treatment. Equipped with scenes of Avenue rapping around Boston during a Nor' Easter, it's safe to say that he whole-heartedly embodies the energy that's prevalent within Beantown.
It's within the closing moments of the song, however, when this statement rings truer than ever. Avenue declares, "I'm really from the Town, but I ain't got the accent", something that truly characterizes what it's like to be an individual from Boston.
Those who've grown up here are well-aware of the stereotypical Irish male that comes to mind when thinking of the city of Boston, however for years this narrative has been challenged by none other than those who are from the city itself. On his latest project, Avenue does so directly -- something that has drawn me even closer to this EP than I had already been upon my first listen.
If you're a fan of Avenue's and want to support him directly, then the team here at Mass Music Radio highly suggests purchasing his BROWNSTONES EP on the next Bandcamp Friday (March 5th, 2021), during which all money raised will go directly to Avenue!
MASSACHUSETTS HIP-HOP ARTIST, TAHA, WRESTLES HIS DEMONS ON NEW ALBUM 'HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT ME'
By: Mike Scarfo
“When you’ve been hated your entire life, the hate becomes a part of you” reads a description on the website of Shrewsbury, MA alternative hip-hop artist, TAHA, for his song “BLOOD”. The tone of the quote may initially sound morbid and off-putting, yet it highlights a necessary perspective of clarity from a year that has been like no other. Now more than ever, it feels as though hate is all around us, and it bears a deeper burden than we realize. Not only do we project the hateful things we hear onto ourselves, but we start to only see the ugliness in others, leading to the spread of more hate. TAHA conveys a toxic cycle, and 2020 brought out the worst of it: an ongoing pandemic that continues to affect the lives of millions, paired with outward social unrest and division across the country.
It is important as a society we carve out a place to build empathy for each other and spread hope for our future; however, HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT ME, is certainly not that place. Instead, TAHA’s latest project represents the unspoken consequence of ongoing chaos as it takes a deep, albeit abrupt, journey into the dark facets of his psyche. After its fifteen minutes of runtime, the end result is as much of a reflection of anger, depression, and pain, as it is a self-confident statement of arrival.
A dark, tortured persona is the version of TAHA that is portrayed on HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT ME. Glimpses of the 22-year old going in a more artistically aggressive direction were present on his previous effort Breath of the Phoenix, with tracks such as “Gasp” and “Man Down”, despite the rest of the record being melodic and lighthearted. And yet, the predominant themes of mental health and Islamophobia within Breath of the Phoenix make their way back onto HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT ME. This time, the descriptions and aesthetic are more vivid, a testament to deeper imagery through much-improved songwriting. On the lead single “NIGHTMARES”, TAHA is at his most ruthless, criticizing the destructive behaviors of social media whilst simultaneously addressing those that attempt to both disrespect and undermine him. Over blends of eerie synths and a stark-stringed bassline, he delivers:
“Imma go and kill it I’m better than all the rest / I be working with the positives saying that I was blessed / They talking they be mocking don’t ever go second guess / Imma pull up to the spot like Hey, Have Nightmares About Me”.
Sir Rollie’s production creates an anxiety-heightening, cinematic mood that’s much more grim, and urgent in its tone than any song in TAHA’s previous discography.
TAHA continues to dismiss the “fuckbois in his DM’s”, and at the end of the track, boasts about scoring an OnlyFans model through an infectious outro, “I drop 100 in her OnlyFans...she calling me now!”. TAHA manages to point out the fallacies of our connectivity and content consumption, while pronouncing his arrival through variations of engaging vocal inflections. It’s a haunting aura that’s chillingly addictive.
“STEADY” is the next track and another standout as TAHA deeply addresses Islamophobia in America:
“A lotta teachers tried to touch me yea I do wonder why / I had some friends they said they didn’t really like what I eat / A lot of people said I never did smell good in the heat / Ye I loved making friends I was always so generous / Till those same friends surrounded me and called me a terrorist”
The imagery present in his lyricism highlights the microaggressions he faced as a young Muslim boy in America. TAHA painfully seeks answers to these oppressive insults, only to have his father paint him as being “less than a man” for his emotional reaction. This dynamic drives him further into an already present sense of worthlessness, followed by the emergence of a monstrous anxiety, leaving him tongue-tied and unable to keep his hands steady no matter how hard he concentrates. The origin story of his anxiety alludes to TAHA tapping into a dimension of self-awareness that many of us currently seek, making “STEADY” the most relatable song in the tracklisting.
The song “NO COLOR” depicts a psychoanalysis of America’s judicial system in his best Death Grips impression, and is followed by the EP’s climax, “BIG SHOT”. TAHA describes the track perfectly, as a “Blade Runner meets Unforgiven meets Cowboy Bebop in this genre blending odyssey. "BIG SHOT" is a Cyber-Punk Western about fighting for your life.” The sonic tension ultimately builds to a catchy refrain “once upon a time not too long ago / had my heart ripped out had nowhere to go”, and concludes with his most profound statement on the album: “Only time I felt something was when I was fighting”. “BIG SHOT” is TAHA’s most creative and cinematic track to date.
“BLOOD” is the EP’s closer, and by this point he’s at his wit’s end. The division. The hypocrisy. The dangerous rhetoric. He’s expressively angry about it all, and that's the most beautiful element of this song. TAHA calls out anyone and everyone through jarring lyricism over warped production, led by a sample from an Asian string instrument known as the erhu. It’s a song that’s psychedelically abrasive, as its closing seconds mimic an episodic meltdown that abruptly cuts out, leaving the listener potentially uncomfortable but awake. And that, in essence, is the entire point of the project.
HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT ME is the creative, erratic, mind-bending experience that demands to be heard. It acts as a necessary release of toxicity, with the foresight to still reflect mobilizing change on the many social issues that plague our society. Real, true change starts from within; in the aftermath of the EP’s closing seconds, TAHA appears to understand this. He publicly grapples with his demons on HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT ME as a therapeutic means towards healing. It is a bold, brave statement rich with authenticity, making it one of the best Indie/Alternative Hip-Hop releases of 2020.
Stream HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT ME on all platforms below:
STOUGHTON'S NICEEYES MAKES HIS PRESENCE FELT EARLY IN 2021 FOLLOWING THE RELEASE OF "ENEMIES"
By: Shamus Hill
Stoughton native, NiceEyes, makes his debut onto the Mass Music Radio Blog today with the official music video for his new song - "Enemies".
Both shot and filmed by TrillisBliss, this visual does justice for what I would say is one of the most distinguishable components of NiceEyes' discography to date. The song showcases his abilities with respect to both rapping and maintaining a well-cultivated sonic presence, something that enables his music to truly stick around within the mind of the listener. He's been making music for some time now, and it appears as if he's truly elevating his game as 2021 kicks off.
NiceEyes is slated to drop another visual in the coming month, so if you're feeling what you heard on "Enemies", then the team here at MMR highly suggests that you keep him on your radar!
Watch the official music video for "Enemies" below: