Written by Thomas Herron
Boston has been in desperate need of a quality rapper to fill the hole Guru left. There have been rappers here and there, capitalizing off of the city’s signature attitude (i.e. Moufy’s Boston Lights) but what the rap scene in the city has been missing is someone with staying power, who is capable of producing content that can harness the spirit of the city while still having reach beyond the fans of the city. Then came Cousin Stizz.
Stizzy has it. The energy, charisma, the ability to entertain, all while making bangers with substance. Your favorite Cousin has three studio albums out; Suffolk County, Monda, and One Night Only. The crazy thing is, all three of his projects are complete works.
Stizz has mastered the art of being genuine on track while still producing a sound that more often than not bangs. There is substance in what Stizz is doing for the city, and that becomes more obvious at his local performances, rocking a custom made Stizz Celtic’s jersey at his show at the Middle East.
The Dorchester native has broken onto the national scene with his Offset assisted hit, “Headlock.” The song fits in with the ambitious gangster aesthetic Cousin Stizz has created for himself through songs like “Fresh Prince,” “I Got It,” “Dum Dope” which evolved into the sound we’re given on “Switch Places,” and “Lambo.”
With songs like “500 horses,” You Won’t Understand,” and “Where I Came From,” Stizzy has found a way to paint a picture of his life in the city while maintaining song structure and flowing well over any beat. Stizz also does almost all of his own hooks, and though he may not be a singer, he is good at melodizing and writing significant material to give his songs structure.
Then we’re given the side of Stizz that not only contains substance, but focuses on it. “Million Things,” “Big Fella,” “Reup and Bake,” the list goes on and on. Stizz is at his best when he focuses on his hustler’s ambition, and his staying power is unquestionable as he has come to embody the signature Boston resilience.
What sets Stizzy apart is his ability to rap about material gain while putting it in the context of his own fire and ambition. “I just wanna race the Lambo,” “Paper keep calling, it won’t let me sleep,” “One day I’mma grow up paid.. I done been broke, I remember those days.”
His hunger is evident and is the driving force behind his appeal. The ambition Stizz puts into every song is representative of the city’s spirit and gives his music a universal emotional relevance. Stizz is built for the game, and when he gets the exposure he deserves, he could take over.
The city’s favorite Cousin combines a new form of gangster rap on songs like “No Bells” with a hunger that drives his entire flow. Stizz does has room to grow lyrically, but he has the rare ability to make less clever lines hit, as a result of his pure desire to dominate and to really make it.
Another rarity in Stizzy’s music comes through his ability to make party music without throwing his substance out the window. “Super Bowl,” a New England anthem Stizzy wrote drunk, is a perfect example through the hook; “Work hard and go play, party like the Super Bowl ayyy.” This is where his universal appeal stems from, the ability of Stizz to make party music, gangster rap, and ambition driven anthems all in one primes him for success.
Stizz’s fan base is still focused in his own city, but that doesn’t take away from his staying power at all because Stizz has created a rabidly loyal fan base. If Stizz can grow lyrically, his hunger and his ability to flow will make him unmmatchable on any beat. In due time, given increased national exposure through songs like “Headlock,” the whole country could be crazy for Cousin.