By : Shamus Hill
8 min read
Every few years, Massachusetts is hit with an album that grasps the mind of everyone within the local music circuit. Whether it be Cousin Stizz’s Suffolk County, Vintage Lee’s PiMP, Connis’ Conn(is), or BIA’s FOR CERTAIN, time and time again fans of the Bay State’s music scene have had a prominent body of work to rally around. Despite there not being that “one” standout thus far in 2023, local MC Nay $peaks has hopes of shifting this narrative and directing the limelight her way. She raps as part of the 'Words Speak Life' collective, which is composed of both FUNERAL Ant Bell and AVENUEBLVD and has swiftly established a reputation as an exciting team of rappers in Boston. Last month, she delivered her very first album, Nayborhood Healer, and in the process of doing so, has captivated audiences from both within and outside of the confines of Massachusetts.
Nayborhood Healer is a 15 track offering that features fellow MA talents such as FUNERAL Ant Bell, AVENUEBLVD, Yanna G, and Reem Skully. Much of what one hears across this project is based in Hip-Hop music, as Nay injects an immense level of soul into the music that she creates. Nay $peaks’ journey in music is one that derives from her youth. Growing up, she was profoundly moved and shaped by Hip-Hop and R&B music. Some of her earliest influences in life were the likes of Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, and Erykah Badu, with these notable acts influencing Nay to eventually head down the path of creating music of her own. Though music now lies at the roots of Nay $peaks’ current creative trajectory, she’s honed her skills as an artist through the medium of spoken word. Over the years, Nay has developed an affinity for expressing her unique identity and viewpoint on life through words. Following her first release in 2021, Nay managed to bridge the gap between spoken word and Hip-Hop music, and hasn’t looked back since.
This album serves as the first one to be released by Nay $peaks up through this point in her career. Much of her catalog until now has been composed of singles, so to finally have a cohesive collection of songs under her name is certainly a monumental moment for the Boston rapper. There are an abundance of profound moments prevalent across this project, with each song possessing something unique to bring to the table. Delving into anecdotes surrounding life in and around Blue Hill Ave, placing emphasis on her burning desire to succeed, and shining a light on what it means to be a young Black woman from Boston, Nay offers an unabashed peak into what it’s like to take a walk in her shoes. Each song features a grand combination of playful wordplay, deepened meaning, and refined instrumentation as Nayborhood Healer ultimately rounds out as an unforgettable listen. Despite being a prolific album that’s meant to be digested in the order presented by Nay, some of its standouts are “Just Be You,” “Good In My City,” and “Buckle Up.”
There are plenty of shining moments for Nay $peaks across the entirety of this album. For many, Nayborhood Healer has served as the point of discovery for the Boston artist. In that same breath, this project marks the beginning of their unrelenting support. As Massachusetts continues to become a hotbed for creativity, it’s artists such as Nay who are giving the area a great rep. Find out why by giving a listen to Nayborhood Healer.
Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #160 August 2023
Check out all the art and columns of August's Boston Compass at www.issuu.com/bostoncccompass