Stop Sleeping on this City: Boston (Part 2)
As touched on in part one, Boston's hip hop scene has never been one to get overwhelming national exposure, let alone in the mainstream - but that has arguably driven the city to produce an eclectic product of sounds and styles.
The city's sound is constantly evolving, and fits under a number of definitions from the grittiness of Brockton product Jiles to the poetry of Roxbury's Oompa depending which corner of the scene one may focus in on. To reflect this, Boston earned two parts in this series, and these three artists will convince you why.
Cliff Notez -
Certainly one of the most multi-talented artists coming out of Boston, Cliff Notez separates himself from the pack with his reputable discography. Even though Notez only has two LPs released, their strong quality and pure embodiment of Notez’s reality earns him the respect and admiration of a seasoned artist. As a conscious rapper, it’s instinct to embed socially-cognizant substance and energy within a project but it takes a special artist to achieve that goal. Notez is that artist who has found the elements to accomplish this skill and reveal the truths relating to mental health and discrimination among other complex topics in not only his community, but nationwide. Not to mention, Notez is an award-winning filmmaker as well.
With a sound reminscient of the same grimy street rap from early in artists like A$AP Ferg and Schoolboy Q’s careers, the Brockton artists’ Fuck Jiles EP features a refreshingly authentic sound, dominated by low tone and bass heavy production to compliment Jiles’ emotional narration of his life. While there’s definitely room to grow, Jiles’ powerful on track persona and authentic sound have the ability to keep listeners hooked and coming back, which seems to poise him for success.
One of the most traditional spitters in the city, the Boston-born and based artist has a rare mastery of flow, rhyme scheme and lyrical content. What makes the female emcee special though, is the impassioned presence she consistently brings to her music. Oompa is one of the rare emcees who are able to diversify their sound from track to track, while maintaining a clearly significant amount of substance, so much so that the listener is always aware of the soul in the music whether it manifests itself as a melodic track like “Cookie” or as a bar-centric track like “Feel like Cole.” On top of a very well defined and diversified sound, the Roxbury artist is a true poet, winning the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam tournament. Be sure to give her recently released sophomore album “Cleo” a listen, you won’t regret it.