As a HipHop enthusiast and artist growing up in Boston I’ve always felt stuck in the shadow of New York’s HipHop empire. The feeling didn’t get any better when the South’s overpowering crunk music and 808’s took over the radio waves in the early 2000’s, creating its own kingdom even further from my hometown. Although Boston rappers may still feel a need to relocate to access opportunities in major cities, the landscape of Boston rap is undoubtedly on the rise with several artists beginning to establish Boston as an active member of the culture. The following five artists are making great contributions worth listening to.
Emerging from Lawrence, Massachusetts, Rek’s has been a staple in the Boston HipHop scene for over 10 years. His most recent project “The Greatest X” is filled with cold beats accompanied by harsh and wholesome bars. Rek’s consistent artistry has landed him accolades throughout Boston’s music circle, with nominations at the Boston Music Awards for album of the year and HipHop artist of the year both in 2011, along with publications like WBUR and The Boston Globe taking notice of his work. With over 10 dynamic projects under his belt, Rek’s name has to come up when talking about Boston’s rap scene.
“The PericoPrincess” Bia has been one of Boston’s most recent stars crashing through airwaves with singles like “Gucci Coming Home”, “Whip It” and the highly acclaimed single with J Balvin, Pharrell, & Sky called “Safari.” I first witnessed her in concert as she opened for G.O.O.D Music’s president Pusha T on his “Darkest Before Dawn” Tour in 2015. Her latin vibe seamlessly mixes with gritty lyrics over some of the biggest beats in the city. Currently signed to Pharrell’s label i Am OTHER she’s not only one of Boston’s brightest, she’s well on her way to being one of HipHop’s best female artists.
My first introduction to Gio Dee was his single “Mind Yo’ Business.” After first impressions I began searching for more music, and heard “Disrespectful” which let me know that he’d be one of the biggest names out of Boston and HipHop within the next several years. His most recent project appropriately titled “Never Going Back”showcases a well contrasted blend of lyricism and harmony that even the most seasoned rappers have difficulty installing. Gio Dee will remain one of Boston’s front runners with a trajectory that places him in a category of his own as one of Boston’s most versatile artists.
Cousin Stizz has been feeding eager listeners since his debut mixtape “Suffolk County” which dropped in 2015. Since then the Dorchester native out did his first release and followed up with “Monda” an aggressively smooth album with enough weight to keep up with fellow competitors, but unique enough to own his own lane. “Monda” is a great body of work, providing an easy listening experience, and being dynamic enough to touch on a wide range of sound. His recent single “Lambo” which recently dropped (7/6/17) is more proof that although his flow sounds effortless, his hunger and drive for success is anything but lax.
Lastly, but certainly the most seasoned of the list is long time rapper, and actor Slaine. Slaine’s discography speaks for itself with numerous contributions as one of Boston’s most celebrated emcee’s. His career has even spilled over into Hollywood when he was chosen to play Albert Magloan in Ben Affleck’s movie “The Town” which hit theatres back in 2010. His most recent album “Slaine is Dead” is an ironic name considering it’s arguably one of his best bodies of work to date. Slaine is a brutally honest and introspective artist who focuses on never wasting a line. My favorite album from Slaine, “The King of Everything Else” was released in 2014 and charted on the Billboard Top 200 list. Slaine has single handedly laid the blueprint for success for underground artists. Slaine’s shows are often electric with loyal fans showing out for one of Boston’s not to hidden gems.