Back at the start of 2016, Massachusetts hip-hop was in the beginning stages of becoming the budding powerhouse that we’re seeing today. Joyner Lucas, BIA, Token, and Cousin Stizz among others were all beginning to make a name for themselves well beyond New England.
What we didn’t know was that Cambridge’s own Millyz, already an eight-year veteran in the rap game, was about to take his career and the state even further than we could have imagined.
Millyz had been enjoying local success for a while, and his 2013 collaboration with Jadakiss on “The Plug Remix” gave him some looks from out of state. But when he re-entered the game with The Short Bus EP in 2016, it marked the beginning of an unstoppable movement that has only grown stronger over these past five years, most recently with the release of his new album Blanco IV.
After The Short Bus came the hit single “Lessons” in January of 2017. At the time it was Millyz’ biggest record to date with the video racking up a few hundred thousand views on YouTube. It was the first single off his Sped II: The Sequel album, which would include another single and video with Jadakiss and a feature from Styles P.
By the end of 2017, Millyz had officially entered his name into the conversation as the hottest rapper in Boston and the next to blow up on a global scale, so he made sure to build off the momentum with two more albums the next year. Blanco and then Saints & Sinners with legendary producer Statik Selektah. Jadakiss was on the opening track of S&S and he and Millyz’ friendship had grown to the point where they’d be seen sitting courtside together at Celtics games. The attention that Millyz was putting on our entire region was becoming impossible to ignore.
Blanco II came in 2019. For his album release show, Millyz compiled an legendary lineup of New England rappers. Token, Jefe Replay, Smoke Bulga, Anoyd, Wizz Dakota, Connis, N.B.S., Prince Smooth, DTheFlyest. He used his night and his platform to shed light on the rest of the local scene, an example of the type of loyalty that’s made him a hometown hero and a completely deserving representative of New England hip-hop over these past few years.
In 2020 and 2021, Millyz has taken his visuals to the next level thanks to the help of Dom Bruno aka Tanj, who he talks about here:
A constant flow of quality videos and an ever-expanding catalog of tracks to fit different moods have allowed Millyz to continue rising in a time where a lot of artists flatlined once they reach a certain level of notoriety. Trap, drill, bars, melodies. It doesn’t matter the style. If it’s hip-hop then Millyz can fit the mold and do it with the best of them. This versatility has allowed him to grow with the times while still being true to himself.
Blanco 3 was another classic. Covered all the bases stylistically, plus it brought us a video with Jim Jones in Harlem. One would think it would’ve been tough to follow up but Millyz managed to do so effectively less than a year later. First with a six-song collaborative EP with Dave East, then with the fourth installment of the Blanco series.
Features on Blanco IV include some of the hottest rappers in the world as well as some of the hottest in Boston. Seeing names like G Herbo and Benny the Butcher on a project with the likes of 8 Zipp and Y Gizzle is monumental for anyone who follows and roots for the success of New England hip-hop.
As an artist who’s been able to avoid the politics of record labels, the relentless independent grind is finally beginning to put Millyz on a level where he can achieve mainstream success without sacrificing authenticity. Within the first week of its release, Blanco IV cracked the top 100 on the Billboard charts, showing that building a foundation and a fanbase in the Boston area is entirely possible.
Videos have already been released for “Hopeless”, “Benny Blanco”, “Emotions”, “Fish Tank”, and “Cantaloupe”. For the “Hopeless” visuals he brought Jadakiss to Cambridge and racked up a million views in three weeks:
Millyz also made a recent appearance on the popular podcast No Jumper with Adam22:
China Mac’s rising YouTube show “Mac Eats”, where Millyz took the Brooklyn native to Cambridge and introduced him to Haitian culture:
Millyz’ next show in Boston, which will be his first in two years, has already sold out three months in advance. It’s going down December 10th at Paradise Rock Club and the quick sellout is an indication of just how eager fans are to celebrate the success that their hometown hero was able to achieve throughout the pandemic.