Welcome to the DOD BLOG
Boston based artist Kay Bans released his album H.B.K. (Heart Break Kay) on all streaming platforms this week on January 26th. This is his second project out, the first being his EP “NEW YEAR SAME DEMON” including 3 tracks. The album honestly blew me off my feet. It was one of those listens that you have to background check the guy and make sure you’re not being catfished because they sound THAT legit. It’s incredible the hidden gems Boston holds with astounding undiscovered talent. It’s hard to pick the best of 11 great songs, but I will say I was drawn in by “100up+Day&Nite” and “Hurtin” tracks 4 and 5. When asked about the moral behind this project, Kay said “These songs were all created in different times of the year. I didn’t even think this was going to be the tape until we simmered down what vibes go with what. I have so much music in the vault, songs that I made far before these that are as good or even better. I just wanted to be structured about the way I dropped content. When I drop, I want it to hit hard… I don’t necessarily have a motive, as I am inspired by a lot of past events in my life. From past relationships, friendships gone wrong, etc. I’m big on friendship, realness, all that. I don’t like to be done wrong, cause If that’s the case, you shouldn’t just be in that persons life. And I’ve been done lot, so I used that to my advantage in my lyrics” I really, seriously dig the album. It’s something I would personally have on my playlist, and I’d be blind to the fact he’s not a mainstream artist (yet). Don’t be surprised when he blows up; I know I’m not afraid to place my bets on this guy. Honorable producers went out of their way to get in touch about working on this project such as Dreamz, Jaysworld, Noevdv, Wave, Aybigbro (Kay Bans best friend that also engineered the whole tape), Hennedy (also a good friend of the artist) along with other producers tapped in on other tracks. Kay says “My best friend is my engineer. So it allowed this process to be so much easier. He understands me as a person.” Working with people you connect with has always proven to do well, so I love that. My only complaint if anything would be that I wish his voice was amplified just a little bit more because it’s so great and it blends so nicely with the beat. Not diminishing the sound quality whatsoever, it sounds nothing short of professional. I would just like his voice to be slightly louder. There’s a good chance it’s just the speakers in my ‘98 Camry too. Now go listen, you won’t be disappointed. Be on the lookout for what’s next to come from Kay Bans!
As powerful as duos can be in the music scene, the dynamic is typically lopsided to some degree. However, loyalty is what keeps Brevin Kim together, not dependency. This shows in the chemistry they share in the booth, as well as their unique vision. This young one-two punch began their journey in North Attleboro, and their innovative talent has taken them all the way to LA where they have built a stronger presence in the industry. One of their most recent wins was a feature in the Pigeons & Planes “See You Next Year” class , which highlights a handful of upcoming artists with a bright future ahead of them. This recognition led them to a priceless Mike Dean production on their song CHALICE, and even their own action figures. Combined with the release of their highly anticipated album PAIN MUSEUM, the two have made 2022 a year to remember. While celebrating success, they have stayed productive and it shows in their new single THE PPL I’VE BEEN.
This track emphasizes my favorite qualities of Brevin Kim, which are their precise filters and EQ. While they are not all blessed by Mike Dean yet, each mix cuts into any speaker you choose and that is an underrated quality of artists these days, despite increased access to solid equipment. The song combines their trademark blend of anti-pop and alternative, with a big chorus that drives a perfectly crazy hyperpop sequence. The lyrics question the relationship and their attachment to it, as they explain how they already know the pain it brings them. The song also touches on the good and bad of transformation as a person, as fielding different identities is empowering and discouraging at the same time.
Identity is a big priority for Brevin Kim and it is evident as always in their crisp mix as well as their interesting tones. It is often hard to tell who is on which verse and it’s usually so good that you don’t even care to know. The duo shares a bond that only brothers could have, which is because they’re actually brothers. Growing up together musically has built a remarkable chemistry that shows in their music as well as their whole expression in videos, interviews and more. With such a mutual understanding of the business and the music, I feel bad for the upcoming duos competing with them. Living in LA has opened a whole new set of doors for the two and they have been taking full advantage, resulting in a very solid catalog for artists their age. While 2022 was a big year for Brevin Kim, I have a feeling they’re just warming up. Make sure to keep up with them on all social medias @brevinkim for updates!
By Ryan Crowley
Ever heard of strength in numbers? Well, Van Buren has. And they’re proving it yet again with the release of their sophomore album DSM. The homegrown collective geared up for sixteen tracks to top their 2021 project Bad For Press, which cemented them as power players in the Massachusetts scene. Beyond local support, The album was featured on NPR and even scored them an appearance at the championed Boston Calling festival, amongst other achievements.Their diverse contributions have allowed the collective to expand to several audiences including fashion, film, PR and more. This album makes it a point to recognize how far they’ve come, and the respect that they’ve earned along the way.
Gritty mixes and tasteful samples work together to provide an immersive experience that reeks of fundamental hip-hop. While Bad For Press required unity to deliver a good first impression, DSM shows the trust they now have in each other, and the new lanes that this trust has opened. Fan favorites FOUL and The Source have been doing numbers on streaming platforms and are perfect examples of independent success, put together. Identity is a big priority for the group and it shows in their crazy tones. Every bounce is unique, but consistent enough for several artists to flow without friction. The bars always come first with Van Buren, which is a breath of fresh air in today’s melodic rap world. The group is always engaged in friendly competition and it makes for a more meaningful product, evidently.
The creation of these new sounds came under some unusual circumstances, which can be just the edge that an artist (or thirteen of them) need to get the job done. In an interview with UPROXX (@uproxxmusic) the group walked us through their fallout studio, a rickety RV parked in a friend’s backyard. They spoke lovingly of the dark kitchen where most of their winter was spent, turning their hunger into something bigger. The conversation then turned to the lack of musical infrastructure as a whole in Massachusetts, and the importance of resilience and creativity. Making something out of nothing has put a chip on all thirteen member’s shoulders, and they look forward to opening the door for hungry local artists.
Unlike most collectives, it’s hard to point out a leader of Van Buren, mainly because there isn’t one. The spotlight shines evenly across the label, and there is no mistaking the tone of each member’s flow. Something for every artist means something for every fan, and this approach has taken their music a long way from Brockton. We’re sure this new chapter will take them far, but they’ve made it clear that their heart will always be in Massachusetts.
By Ryan Crowley
Boston based artist Illy Dee releases single “Last Day In” March 6th 2022 with music video under 7981 Kal’s YouTube profile as he is associated with Illy Dee in H$M. While this song meets modern rap standards he displays his talents with a combination of drill and Detroit inspired music. The visuals were shot and directed by Rell, a Massachusetts grown talent as well. This release between the track and the video didn’t seem to unveil a major storyline however it is presumed to be a piece rooted from his recent experiences with adversity while finding himself a free man once again. Sources have said his upcoming song is called “Free Kal”. We aren’t sure when it’ll be released to platforms, but within his latest release “First Day Out” was his first release since being freed from incarceration for over the span of a year, nearly arriving on 2 now. While being incarcerated, his management team was able to promote his track “I Smell P**sy” featuring BJ Baller that dropped in 2021, and was able to hop on a few features like “Yellow Tape” by Aye Malvone, & “WYWD!?” by Zazi. From the looks of it, it was prior to his arrest in 2020 after Illy Dee dropped his first album “Neighborhood Bully” with some notable features from Detroit’s own FWC Big Key and Rio Da Young OG, and Boston’s own G Fredo. With new beginnings comes new opportunities and this city is thrilled to hear and see more of Illy Dee on the rise.