These three artists have helped to shape the often-overlooked Boston hip hop scene. However, their music encompasses much more than hip hop: they all mix other genres with hip hop, revolutionizing the genre in their own ways.
Haasan Barclay is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and rapper. His music spans many genres, from pop to rap to rock. Late last year, Michael Christmas, one of Boston’s biggest rappers, recommended Barclay as a local musician to listen to in a Pigeons and Planes article. They recently collaborated on a song called “Deep Blue Sea”. It features Barclay’s smooth vocals over production that mimics old video games.
Kyle Bent—who was born and raised in Jamaica before moving to Randolph, MA—has already managed to build a flourishing rap career at age 19. He was first introduced to rap in the third grade by a classmate; by age 13, he was recording music in a closet at home. Soon after, he released three mixtapes and six music videos. You might have heard his song with Mick Jenkins, “Divine”.
Ed Balloon’s Bandcamp description explains his name as well as his general attitude: “I’m like a balloon. I float over b.s.” His biggest influences are of Montreal, Janis Joplin, Jill Scott and Maxwell, according to an interview. The diversity of Balloon’s influences correlates to the diversity in his music as he seamlessly switches between R&B, funk, pop and glam-rock. What really distinguishes Ed Balloon from most musicians, however, is that he dances throughout every set he performs. He attributes his dance style to his Nigerian heritage.
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