Massachusetts hip-hop is off to a great start in 2023
With more and more platforms covering local hip-hop due to the overwhelming amount of artists who are sparking conversation, it seems as though the growth of the scene has accelerated over the last few months. Massachusetts artists haven’t missed a beat heading into 2023, giving us some incredible projects, singles, and videos throughout the month of January.
Here are some of the best so far:
Angels Never Die – Luke Bar$
If you haven’t heard of Van Buren Records by this point then you’re probably not reading this article. Anyone who is remotely interested in the Massachusetts hip-hop scene is aware that they’re a household name around here. What you might not know is that their reach has begun to stretch way beyond New England. For example, Luke Bar$ just released his new album Angels Never Die on January 13th. Last week, Boston artist Danny Diamonds reported that the album was being played in a store in Tokyo. Check out the album here:
“Empty Space” – Justin Clancy ft. Atmosphere
The latest on Justin Clancy’s long list of accomplishments is a collaboration with one of his childhood idols. Coming off a year in which he toured the country and released a new album accompanied with powerful visuals, the Peabody native continues to check off boxes on his bucket list. Next stop: a Canadian tour. Listen to “Empty Space” featuring the legendary Slug from Atmosphere:
“Sacrifices” – Suriel ft. Termanology
At his listening event for this single last week, Suriel said that the biggest sacrifice he’s made for his music was his health. This was in reference to a seizure that he suffered back in 2020 due to lack of sleep in pursuit of his dreams. He’s made some adjustment to improve his physical state, but the sacrifices don’t stop. This is something that Termanology, who is nearly 50 albums deep, can certainly attest to. Hear them speak about it (at a castle) on this new track:
Beauty and the Beast – 8 Zipp & $hayBand$
Much like VB, you should also be familiar with Shooterz Muzik by now. Recently their two biggest names came together for a collaborative project called Beauty and the Beast where they both display their growing versatility. New 8 Zipp and $hayBand$ out now!
“Poison” – Chase Murphy ft. Gio Dee
A year removed from his highly impressive Tip of the Iceberg EP, Golden Boy Music Group’s Chase Murphy teamed up with fellow Boston hitmaker Gio Dee for what could very well end up being his biggest record to date. The infectious track is accompanied with crisp visuals that include some recognizable shots of the city, courtesy of Happy Belated Media:
“no handouts” – kei ft. BoriRock
You knew 2023 was going to be a good year when the Boston Music Awards’ Best New Artist of 2022 dropped a single on New Year’s Day with the biggest snub from those very same awards. No hate towards the BMA’s, these are just facts. Hopefully this collaboration put him on their radar for good:
“YOYO” – Millyz
It’s rare that a month goes by without a release from Millyz. His January offering, “YOYO”, is accompanied with a video directed by Tanj (Dom Bruno) and Nic Violets. Be on the lookout for Blanco 6 coming soon!
This Year Will Be Better – C. Wells
Despite a successful 2022 that saw the Lynn native on a billboard in his home city, plus the release of his incredibly well-received album Where I’m From, C. Wells is still confident that “this year will be better”. His brand new EP was initially released on SoundCloud and AudioMack on Friday the 13th but is now available on all streaming platforms. Filled with quality production (from all Lynn producers) and introspective bars.
“TILT” – Kashi2x
Another Lynn artist with a story to tell and an undeniable work ethic. KMF’s Kashi2x has been consistently releasing quality projects, singles, and videos over the last few years and shows no signs of slowing down. Here’s his first banger of 2023:
“Better Now Than Never” – Kid Fob
Kid Fob is our early pick for Boston’s 2023 best new artist. You’ll be shocked to hear that he just started making music within the past couple years because his sound is extremely polished. He has his melodic rapping down to a science and his already proven his ability to command a crowd when he opened for Trippie Redd at UMass Amherst a few months ago. Check out the new album on all platforms.
The Cards Were Dealt – Dotta The Dealer
Dotta The Dealer used to go by E.S. His long-time friendship with Millyz has led to some collaborations with the legend in the past, and the fellow Cambridge native and #SPEDGang representative recently dropped his debut album The Cards Were Dealt on all platforms.
Vulgar Display of Excellence – Jon Jacob
Springfield, MA’s Jon Jacob performed at one of BB4’s showcases last year, so let me tell you first hand that this man can rap. Lyrics, flow, breath control, stage presence. A true emcee in every sense. Check out his new album Vulgar Display of Excellence.
NSFW (Deluxe) – HAAWWS
HAAWWS is another Boston artist who is poised for a big breakout in 2023. His 2022 album NFSW brought a refreshing new sound and energy, and he’s followed that up by starting this year with the deluxe version and some visuals for the title track featuring Fuegoveli and Prodbytomo:
If I Knew Then – Luke Yetten
Boston’s Luke Yetten is a former competitive boxer who isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to his music career. His debut album If I Knew Then is a cohesive body of work from top to bottom and includes some quality features like Last Days and Hartford, CT’s Fuego Base.
“Reborn” – Qween Ali
Boston’s Qween Ali has thrown her name into the ring when it comes the city’s extensive list of impactful female emcees. She started the year by dropping a new single called “Qween Of Hearts” on all streaming platforms as well as visuals for “Reborn” off her 2022 album Me vs. Me:
Wish You Were Here – Kmf Tre
The first (but certainly not the last) Keep Moving Forward album of 2023 comes from Kmf Tre. Sixteen tracks and they’re all strong. Features include Lynn artists C. Wells, Jay Moon, and KmfQuan
“Our Appreciation” – Hundred Round Kado & Cez
In 2022, Brockton’s Cez cemented himself as a key player in Massachusetts hip-hop as his album Product of the Pain received rave reviews from local music platforms. So far this year, he’s given us a couple new tracks/videos including this collaboration with Shooterz Muzik’s Hundred Round Kado:
“Whoa! ’23” – C. Wells & Johnny Nash
I promise I’m not from Lynn and have absolutely no bias towards them. The fact that this list has multiple Lynn artists simply speaks to the amount of noise they’re making. It’s impossible to ignore. Johnny Nash is another guy who’s working tirelessly to consistently put out quality music. This record with C. Wells is just one of many that he released in January:
“Back in Dat Mode” – Tyler Loyal
Had to throw this one in at the last minute. The video for “Back In Dat Mode” by Boston’s Tyler Loyal just dropped a couple days ago. The track came out on 1/13 and was already an early candidate for hardest record of the year according to my ears, but the visuals really brought it to life:
Easy & Chill – Ea$y Money & Chilla Jones
Two of the most recognizable names in Massachusetts combined forces for this twelve-track bar fest with DJ Manipulator. You won’t find a better punchline combination than Ea$y Money and Chilla Jones. This is the type of rap that leaves you on the edge of your seat listening for the next quotable rhyme.
Nights On Holly – Norfsyde Slee
Norfsyde Slee’s new album includes a track called “Boston Shit” as well as one titled “I’m From Boston”, so you know the Mattapan native takes pride in where he’s from. “Say Dat” features a verse from fellow Dukati Gang affiliate, Maybach Music’s own Smoke Bulga. Check out Nights On Holly:
Man Of Steel: Secret Origin – Billy Escobar
This is the third album that Boston’s Billy Escobar has released in the last year. Only Built 4 Triple Beams came out last April, followed by Believe in Billy (Scarface Raps) in September, and now Man Of Steel: Secret Origin. The elite artistry on each of these projects will show you that this man is simply in a zone. Here’s his latest offering: