Boston’s hip-hop scene is experiencing growth on many levels, but variety and openness in venue access remains a difficult hurdle to overcome. One group working to break through this infrastructural barrier is the New Era of New England, a concert promotion group who are throwing the third installment of their The Pull Up showcase series this Friday (3/30) at ONCE Ballroom.

Rap music’s unjust treatment in Boston is a longstanding issue. The topic gained steam last month when WBUR ran an article titled “Is Boston Hostile To Hip-Hop.” The well-investigated piece enlightens an audience perhaps unaware of hip-hop’s gripe with local music venues, while reaffirming the stance of Boston natives who’ve been through the trenches when independently booking shows in the city. Bias, racial profiling, security checks, and the unethical pay-to-play practices all play roles in the dilemma and, consequently, lessen the amount of legitimate opportunities for hometown artists. “These guys are from this scene, and they’re using their music and their art to try to get themselves in a better situation in life,” said New Era of New England co-founder Marquise Neal in the WBUR story. “And they aren’t able to because they don’t have a platform to do that.”

Despite the frustrations, the future looks bright for Boston hip-hop, thanks to the persistence of dedicated artists and creatives. As the work of shining a spotlight on our city’s talent continues, we’ve compiled a full preview of the talent on The Pull Up’s wide-ranging bill for this Friday’s show in Somerville (doors open at 7:30 pm), and highlighted why you’ll want to catch them live.

Latrell James

Latrell James is a longtime Sound of Boston favorite. Among his most recent accomplishments: he was the voice of the nationally aired Cheerios ‘Good Goes Around’ commercial, he’s been a Boston Music Award nominee, and he’s been behind the production for some of hip-hop’s brightest young talents. But James has been a standout live artist in the city for years. James is dropping a new single titled “Okay” tomorrow (3/29), but for now, as The Pull Up headliner, you can anticipate his contagious stage energy and performances of new music expected to drop in the coming months.

Kaovanny

Kaovanny’s 2017 EP Tres showcases a compelling voice and lyrics fueled by a passion for self-empowerment. The Latin and jazz fusion built by Kaovanny’s production team adds an impressive element to her music, which is clear in its intentions of promoting beauty and independence. She also has an impressive live track record: she’s performed at festivals in Columbia, Brazil, and Boston’s Beantown Jazz Festival.

Boogie Da God

Boogie Da God is a fan favorite out of Roxbury. He’s earned praise for rapping over jazz-influenced beats with ease through his smooth, energetic delivery. His 2017 project It’s Been Real shines in its modernized take on nostalgic boom-bap and offers the type of rugged authenticity all hip-hop fans seek from gifted storytellers. Boogie’s sharp lyricism and strong support from Boston’s youth make him an artist to keep your eye out on as he moves up the ranks.

Mike Wyche & Inspektah

Anyone who listens to the duo of Mike Wyche and Inspektah on their EP ISO will immediately hear their compatibility. Wyche’s soothing vocals and relatable, R&B geared subject matter finds a comfortable home over Inspektah’s lush soundscape, and makes the EP a smooth, easy listen. The music of Mike Wyche and Inspektah is a welcome and important testament to the power of organic collaboration.  

Lily Rayne

A fresh young voice out of Providence, Lily Rayne caught people’s attention last year with her debut EP Rhode Girl last year. Rayne is an engaging artist; honest in her personal revelations, yet capable of creating soundtracks for late-night gatherings. Citing and drawing inspirations from the SZA’s and Jorja Smith’s of the world, Lily Rayne holds her own as an exciting prospect still growing and honing in on her sound.

Lord Felix

There is a plethora of hip-hop talent from the Brockton area, but Lord Felix stands out from the pack. The experimental elements of Felix’s music, from his vocal delivery to unique taste in production, peaks the interest of any listener looking for music that not only bucks the trends, but paves the way for new styles to emerge. His latest release “Hold It Down” is a primary example. Coming off an impressive performance at Fresh Out The Mint’s showcase series at Great Scott, don’t be surprised if Lord Felix’s momentum continues to move forward after The Pull Up.

Deco Fam

Deco Fam, a creative collective of artists, musicians, and designers, just released a new project titled Chinatown. Comparable to a fast-moving train barely staying on the tracks, Deco Fam are all about the thrills. Things get wild. But standouts from Chinatown such as “Rari” and “Guns & Roses” show Deco Fam’s eclectic appeal.

Philly G & Baylen

Philly G and Baylen (who are part of the Boston hip-hop band Viva La Hop) are reliable in their delivery of upbeat, entertaining performances. The duo’s spontaneous energy and experience together on stage in a wide variety of musical formats makes them a perfect fit for kicking off The Pull Up.  

Where’s Nasty

We can’t leave out Where’s Nasty, who will be DJing and holding down the sounds at The Pull Up all night. As the co-founder of Stay Silent PVD (a creative collective group and much more), Where’s Nasty plays an integral role in all things Providence hip-hop, while having a reach way beyond the New England region that he represents. Be sure to check Where’s Nasty SoundCloud for his mixes and follow Stay Silent PVD to stay in the loop for the live events they have planned as spring finally looms around the corner.

The Pull Up

 

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