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By : Shamus Hill

7 min read

Those familiar with the Massachusetts Minute column know that we usually utilize it to highlight one music release from a Massachusetts artist per month. As 2023 starts rolling forward, we thought we’d take a slightly different approach, turning the spotlight on not one, but five Massachusetts artists that fans of local music should be on the lookout for this year.

Kei is a Hip-Hop musician from Boston who was the recipient of last year’s Best New Artist award at the Boston Music Awards. Though she’s only a couple of years into her musical journey, Kei has the artistic prowess of an industry veteran – equipped with a sonic identity that is uniquely her own. Releasing a handful of singles and multiple projects throughout 2022, Kei’s listeners have had plenty of music to rock out to as of late, and it’s safe to say that this stream of sounds is going to continue flowing in the coming months.

Van Buren Records has largely been talked about as the most exemplary conglomerate of artists currently within the Bay State’s lines. Their roster has frequented the Massachusetts Minute several times since its inception, however, one artist who’s evaded the pages of the Boston Compass Newspaper up until now is Invada. Though he only has two solo songs on DSP’s right now, that is soon to change in 2023, as he’s geared up to unfurl his grasp around several new singles. His music is well-structured, distinctive, and extremely palpable, as is evident by the several raucous crowds that he’s constructed throughout Boston’s venues.

BoriRock, otherwise known as the Teflon Hoot, El Hooto, and the Puerto Rican Jay-Z, is an enigma within the ranks of Massachusetts rappers. Bori hails from the heart of Dorchester, and is truly as Boston as they come. Moments into any one of his singles or features, listeners are greeted with a barrage of “on dawgs!” and “it’s me!” shouts, setting the scene for Bori to delve into verses surrounding the fast life and highly detailed braggadocio. He’s released ten full-length projects over the last two years, featuring some of the most capable rappers that the Bay State has to offer, making his catalog a must-listen for anyone looking to learn more about MA rap and all of its inhabitants.

Nate Nics is another rapper from Massachusetts who is making a big name for himself. Balancing his time in the studio as both an artist and a host on the Bad For The Community Podcast, Nate has taken a two-pronged approach to his creativity, and is hitting the mark on both sides of the mic. He’s representative of the next generation of artists whose sounds will be representing our area, and is poised to make a lasting impression on listeners from both near and far. Last month, Nate dropped an EP titled ‘.photos’, an introspective offering which serves as the perfect introduction to his catalog. With this project fresh in the minds of his listeners, the stage is set for Nate Nics to seize the moment.

STEFAN THEV is an alternative musician from Brockton who has been peppering streaming platforms with highly addictive singles. Following a strong few years with singles such as “ghouls! zombies! skeletons!” and “ON THE EDGE WITH U”, STEFAN has returned to social media to tease several incoming drops. His voice is incredibly refined, and the creative direction that he’s been implementing into his discography is unparalleled not only in Massachusetts, but by artists from all over the globe. If you aren’t already tuned in, then you definitely should be doing so now, as he’s going to have an impactful year.

Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #156 March & April '23


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