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

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