Boston’s hip-hop scene has been steadily on the rise as producers and lyricists continue to drop bars and beats that compete at the highest levels. We’re back to give the recognition that these artists deserve with five tracks that showcase the talent that this city has to offer. Read on to find out which songs deserve a spot in your rotation this month.

We’ve also launched our Listen Local Hip Hop Edition Playlist on Spotify, so be sure to follow it for all the freshest local cuts!

WAIT 4 ME” by Myia Thornton

Beatmaker, rapper, and soon-to-be graduate of Berklee College of Music, Myia Thornton has been mixing tracks in her bedroom since the age of 12. Slivers of notable female rappers like Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill and Ashanti breathe throughout her music, especially in her recently released track, “WAIT 4 ME.” The song pays tribute to Ashanti’s renowned verses on Fabulous’ “Into You” atop a buttery, bouncy R&B beat produced by E. Jones. Written in the thick of quarantine, this is Myia’s ode to the one she’s missing; “wait for me,” she sings before slipping into Ashanti’s verse, cause “Facetime and phone sex don’t hit the same.” On the road to developing her sound, it’s no secret that their potency has guided Thornton to find the beauty in blending beat-thumping hits with bona fide verses, accentuating the influence music can have when it’s pulsating in flow and tender in cadence. 

– Kristen Sallaberry


Not Regular” by Connis

Meant as a compliment, “Not Regular” by Connis is a perfect song to play if you’re having trouble sleeping. It’s something to relax, wind down, and maybe even meditate to, which is rare for the hip hop genre. This Cambridge-based emcee and producer on the rise has put out a dreamy, melodic sound with warm keyboards and low key, soulful beats that slowly build—coming together to pump out a full-bodied bass kick that gives the song a big boost.  

– Jared Steinberg


Time” by Loo

Slow-moving without feeling sleepy, Dorchester-based rapper Loo drops his powerful, ominous cut “Time” off of his highly anticipated 2019 mixtape, Rollie Dreams.  With street bars and a catchy autotuned hook this is a song about the hustle as Loo says, “I be makin’ money / I got less friends.” Produced by Doc Oct, the song has a mellow beat pacing with a tranquilizing melody and a chirping trap snare that seems to come and go covertly in the night. Loo shows off his singing chops on the track’s haunting hook, bringing you into his world and making you feel like you’re on a mission with Loo and his crew.  

– Jared Steinberg


Strolling” By Lance Jackson

Roberta Flack croons over a few drum kicks and a lazed organ loop as verses taken from Flack’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love” prove pivotal in breathing life into this track—a sonic rendition of strolling through a park side by side with Lance Jackson himself. As he sets this intimate scene, Jackson invites us into his world with captivating candor. He raps: “I’m shootin’ for the stars, but I don’t wanna be em’ / before a fan come and meet me and he disappointed that I’m just a human being.” A rapper concerned with authenticity, Jackson rejects formalities and formulas as he mocks the idea of writing a chorus just to “stay appealing.” He marries a poised tone with complex and incisive verses so raw, it feels like he’s winging it. 

– Kristen Sallaberry


Morning Breath” by Najee Janey

Najee Janey felt something click when he first heard Big Pun’s “Still Not a Player.” It was the intricacies, the tenderness, the point-blank tellings of stories so real and raw—it was the culture of hip-hop that prompted the transition from listener to rapper. His album The Purple Earth Theory arrived in 2019 as the Roxbury rapper’s first release in 4 years. “Morning Breath” serves as the perfect introduction to Janey. Trumpets wail over soft drum kicks, and if you listen close enough, you can hear a few neo-soul chords dance by. A paced tempo is the footing for Janey’s confrontational, quick-witted verses. He’s fixated on his verses; you can hear his ardor surge as he goes deeper and deeper, picking up the pace and piling on the pressure. It’s that fiery spirit and that fighter’s delivery that let Janey’s words nestle right into your bones.

– Kristen Sallaberry

For the full compilation of our Listen Local Hip Hop series, follow us on Spotify listen to the playlist: 

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