Lilah’s “Fragrance” is a giddy, sun-soaked memory of young love.

Boston rapper Lilah‘s new single “Fragrance” begins appropriately: with a scent. The track opens with delicate synths and guitar riffs that float like a fragrance on the breeze, half-remembered and heavy with nostalgia. Thirty seconds later, a bouncy beat kicks in. And as Lilah’s voice unfolds, it feels as if you’ve finally grasped the memory that scent reminded you of and the past has opened up again in vivid color. 

“Fragrance” is a story of young love, uncomplicated in its many complications. It makes sense that Lilah’s youth is the setting of her new single, given her unique background. Lilah grew up in a family that casts a long shadow in the Boston music scene. Her brother, Tedd Boyd, produces chill and techy hip-hop beats. Her sister, ToriTori, makes electrifying dance pop music. And her other brother, Latrell James, is at the forefront of the new wave of Boston hip-hop artists that includes Cousin Stizz and Michael Christmas. 

When discussing her music Lilah returns again and again to this hyper-musical upbringing. When asked to list her major influences she named her parents and her three siblings: “I first developed my taste in music watching from them,” she says, “just listening to the music that played around the house…jazz, soul music, funk, hip-hop, rock.” Lilah’s family exerts a clear influence on “Fragrance.” Running through the track’s crisp layers of bass, piano, and electric guitar are the echoes of Boyd’s retro-futuristic beats. And fueling the track’s upbeat energy are the sounds of ToriTori and James, both of whom use their music to spread positivity.

But even stronger than the influence of her family is Lilah’s own voice. A producer as well as a rapper, Lilah makes music to break down the barriers between us, to “share an experience with those listening and have that resonate with them.” With “Fragrance” she hopes to convey the excitement of realizing what makes someone “unique and distinctive” and “falling for their features and their flaws.” In other words, she tells us: “young love.” 

Lilah lives up to her promise, packing tight bars with frank riffs on her love interest’s failures and candid portrayals of her own fawning attempts to win their attention. One moment, she calls out her partner’s bad attitude and attention seeking; the next, she’s begging for a call, declaring them the highlight of her life. With lines like “pull up in my little coop / and I route that, ay,” Lilah’s cheeky voice evokes the elastic flows of fellow newcomer Tierra Whack, whom she says she admires. Yet with lines like “don’t run away from me,” she breaks the surface of this polished dexterity, acknowledging the raw emotion that comes with the cockiness of youth. It is this combination of energy and unguardedness that makes “Fragrance” so fun and gives the song its golden, nostalgic glow. 

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