For those who don’t know, I have been living in Houston the last 11 years but am originally from Boston, and for years Boston has struggled with a face of the city when it came to rap. Forever lost in the giant shadows of New York, you had a few names like the late great Guru, Benzino and… Sam Adams? (Educate me if you know the history is rich)
But like Sam Cooke said, “change gon come.” Names like Michael Christmas, OG Swaggerdick, Haasan Barclay, Avenue and Cousin Stizz are now propelling Boston to new heights.
A show that featured Boston’s own, OG Swaggerdick, Jay Leano, Jefe Replay, Cousin Stizz and Michael Christmas.
Michael Christmas was the first name I seen popping around 2012-13. A funny dude whose personality bleeds through his music, he is dynamic on the mic.
His biggest song to date, and a track produced by Mac Miller.
OG Swaggerdick was the next name that crept onto my radar. Found through Michael, OG is definitely a character. Lil B seems like a huge influence to OG. Check our post on Lil B here. OG is hilarious and that carries over to his music. Fun yet clever, his tracks show major potential of a serious artist. Guys like OG and Lil B, I wish would be serious more often.
My favorite OG tune, and a cool video plus nice collab with Haasan Barclay.
Through OG, I found Haasan Barclay. Starting as a producer, he has some tracks with OG, Haasan has made the crossover to artist creating some very unique works of art.
Like I said, unique. Check Haasan’s debut album here.
Avenue is actually the last artist I found on this list but you’ll understand why I put him here briefly. Avenue, very easily, released one of my favorite projects so far this year, Mass Ave & Lenox. Something that popped in my mind while listening to this project was that it sounds like an east coast version of Kendrick’s Overly Dedicated. Doing some further digging on Avenue, I actually remembered him from a cypher I was shown in 2011. Six years later I am now a fan. Comes to show creatives how long you have to work before seeing results, it just takes that one. His project prior to Mass Ave showed this potential but didn’t have the gravitational pull sonically. Mass Ave And Lenox was it.
Cousin Stizz. Dude may very well be my favorite rapper out right now. This could be a bias statement because we are from the same neighborhood, Fields Corner, but fuck it, Stizz is my favorite rapper right now.
Outro to Stizz’s latest album. This convinced me he’s my favorite rapper.
Last October, I visited my old neighborhood and asked my guys who’s popping from the city? Without hesitation, everyone’s reply was Cousin Stizz. I have been seeing Stizz’s name on blogs a couple months before but never checked him out. That same night I decided to listen to MONDA. It didn’t make me the fan I am today, but I didn’t brush it off after the first listen. The design as far as beats, rhyme and song structure sort of captivated me subconsciously. I just kept listening.
“You know he’s from Fields Corner? Look at all his videos,” my homies said nonchalantly. Man I got back to Houston and watched all those videos ecstatic as hell. Grinning ear to ear so proud that someone from the city was making it out. Stizz was making the noise a lot of Boston rappers in the past were unable to.
I know people do it but I am definitely not the person that can separate the music from the person. This is why wack people are in places of high influence. Not enough folks care about supporting people of good character, let’s give those people a platform. That being said, after watching Stizz’s Noisey documentary the deal was signed. This short film gave me insight on his life, Monda, and him as a person. S/o to a friend I grew up with, George, during a concert in the documentary he was on stage getting hype with Stizz. Glad you’re well bro.
Towards the end of the documentary, Stizz was posted with his boys in DYC. An old staple in our community that has long been shut down. Here he was talking about resurrecting it. This was something I wanted to do if ever given the chance. Something I’m creating a chance to do, assist the youth. DYC was a place for kids to hangout and get mentored by older guys in the community. A guy that helped my friends and I a lot was Al Ski, a former basketball player. This man gave us tickets to Antoine Walker’s camp, took us to Rucker Park in NY, trained us himself at the park, and linked us up with a kid I believe was his nephew. A young talent we called Tmac, because of his slim, slender physique and lazy eye, he lived on the outskirts of Boston. Ski would drive us out there to enjoy the day just playing ball, coaching us up and whatnot. I can’t thank the man enough for some of the things he did.
Wrapping up, Stizz’s music captivated me enough to dig and I feel I struck gold. With only 3 projects out, each have been a little different sonically but all have been consistent musically. His latest release, One Night Only, is also one of my favorites thus far this year.
Stizz is at the forefront of Boston rap but behind him is a trail of great artists. So many that I had to make Boston On The Rise into a series. Check the guys above and stay tuned for more. Show some love and leave a comment below. Part 2 on the way.