Why is the number twelve significant to rapper Latrell James? As he explains in the video of his acoustic performance of “Candles,” December 12th is his birthday, Twelve is the title of his latest album, and it’s also his lucky number. And coincidentally, the number of the Fenway apartment where these videos were shot just so happened to be number twelve.

Latrell James is one of those rappers whose lyrics are so poetic and strong that they do not need a fully-produced track to provide it punch. We asked the Boston native to join Sound of Boston for the latest installment of Neighborhood Sessions and perform a few songs of his favorite songs, and had the privilege of recording the stripped-down versions of tracks off his latest album as well as one Jay Z cover– just Latrell’s voice and a piano accompaniment.

Latrell arrived dressed in a casual, all-black outfit bearing only smiles. While setting up, he chatted with the crew about how he allows free downloads of his music from his website, his transition from being an MC for local hip hop shows to channelling all his focus on his own rap career, and about the local music community in Boston.

Soak in all the emotions and complexities of Latrell James’ verses and listen to Latrell speak about the backstories behind the rest of the tracks:

 

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