Stop Sleeping on this City: Boston (Part 1)
Welcome to the first installment of Stop Sleeping on this City, a series where both of Primetime's founding staff members put a spotlight on some of the lesser known artists in a given city, that we feel do a significant part to define their own unique hip hop scene.
The first two installments of the series will be looking at artists hailing from Boston, a city that has a historically shocking absence on the national rap scene, peaking with Guru's prime as a member of Gang Starr, and recently making the city's strongest ever push for relevance behind everyones' favorite Cousin Sitzz, among others.
We'll take a look at six active artists in the city (three artists a piece, in two parts), each with a unique sound we feel is representative of all corners of the city's sound, definitive the present and future of Boston's rap scene, a burgeoning scene desperate for the credit it deserves.
Lord Felix -
It’s undeniable that the most valuable feature of this artist is his voice. Lord Felix’s deep, flexible voice allows him to glide on songs better than most artists especially on multi-genre instrumentals. On his “Supernova” EP, we get a range of hip hop, electronic, and funky sounds in which Felix adapts his flow to effortlessly. In a way, it’s reminiscent of Kid Cudi in regards of both of their abilities to be so dynamic when approaching any type of beat. On Felix’s February release “In Bloom, Forever”, we get a range of sounds where Felix not only raps with a substantial amount of identifiable content of love and reflection, but his developing talent of storytelling shines on the tracks “Blue Valentine” and “Him”. (Editor’s input, a Lord Felix and Disclosure collab would be remarkable).
Latrell James -
Earning five Boston Music Award nominations in 2019 alone, the Dorchester product’s career has followed a rather unique path, landing a spot on a 2017 Cheerios commercial as a result of work the 29-year-old spent working on an album he never released. James’ unique career path is unsurprising considering his melodic sound. As the genre becomes overly-saturated with generic melody, James’ attention to detail shines through as his mastery of sound is anything but generic. Releasing his Still - EP this year after a four year hiatus to focus on some personal matters, James’ five song EP was worth the wait. Grateful is the pinnacle of what the now-Brockton resident is capable of — a beautifully harmonized hook to compliment the production, using his controlling vocal presence to synchronize his sound with the beat, drawing focus to what he’s saying at all times. James’ sound is well balanced and complete, making him one of the best in the city.
Connis is on to something. Sonically, Connis knows how to utilize his voice and arrange his flows over carefully-chosen production. He doesn’t box himself in with a particular type of Hip Hop beat as we hear in “Kiss the Moon” and boasts his ability to subtly harmonize his voice in smooth melodies like in “Not Regular”. The growth between “Connis Archive, Vol.1” and “Conn(is)” is recognizable in a great way, simply because he displayed his ability to strengthen his artistry from the first body of work to the next; a must for an upcoming artist. Connis’ observational lyrics resonate with us plain folk while retaining its authenticity, there’s simply no gimmick to him.
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