Boston Calling in Review

Since May of 2013, the multi-stage music festival known as Boston Calling has graced City Hall Plaza’s brick and cement-lined grounds. This year, the event curated by The National’s Aaron Dessner made its way down Storrow Drive and found a new home at Harvard’s Athletic Complex. Despite a handful of Allston-Brighton residents voicing concern over the sound pollution, Boston Calling was made a success with the help of native Boston bands, Grammy award winners, and talent across the board.

Day 1

The self described “Sludgy Jangly Pop” band were the first to take the stage Friday afternoon with a set that signaled a perfect start to the weekend. Although the Boston-based group are accustomed to playing much smaller and more intimate venues, Vundabar’s stage presence translated impeccably onto Boston Calling’s Xfinity stage.

Lucy Dacus
Although Lucy Dacus’ name sat far down the Boston Calling lineup, her future is as bright as any. The Virginia indie-rocker entered onto the festival stage armed with her powerful voice and witty lyrics, eventually winning over her audience and distracting them from the sprinkling of New England rain.

Francis and the Lights
You may not know Francis Farewell Starlite by name, but chances are you’ve heard his work. Through his collaborations with fellow Boston Calling artists Chance the Rapper and Bon Iver, he has amassed quite a discography. Friday afternoon he treated audience members to his quintessential dance moves, and was later joined onstage by Chance the Rapper as the two performed their newest song, “May I Have This Dance.”

Sylvan Esso
When Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn first ventured into Sylvan Esso, they treated it as a side project. Years later and touring on their newly released record What Now, the duo brought their quirky alternative tunes to life at Boston Calling.

Bon Iver
Bon Iver’s set was one of the most anticipated of the weekend, as it was Justin Vernon’s first performance in Boston since the release of his newest album, 22, A Million. When the initial guitar strums of “Skinny Love” began to ring through the festival, the sky erupted into a downpour. Instead of ruining the atmosphere, the rain forced the crowd to forget their inhibitions, leading to arguably the most climactic moment of Boston Calling.

Chance the Rapper
The tempestuous weather did not dissuade fans from dancing through Chance the Rapper’s set in the mud and rain. The Grammy Award winner for Best New Artist truly lived up to his title as he effortlessly closed out night one of Boston Calling.

Day 2

Alexandra Savior
Although the headliners gracing the top of Boston Calling’s lineup are undoubtedly impressive, hidden gems were found earlier in the day. Such is the case with Alexandra Savior. The Portland-based singer took to the stage with her dreamy and atmospheric melodies before most festival attendees had even eaten lunch.

Tkay Maidza
The Australian rapper/singer may be a long way from home, but with a early afternoon slot on the Delta Blue Stage, she got Boston Calling attendees moving.

Moses Sumney
Upon entering Boston Calling’s main stage Saturday afternoon, Moses Sumney joked, “I knew I would make it to Harvard one way or another.” Indeed, the musician gave any PhD candidate a run for their money as he expertly used his voice as an instrument.

Oh Wonder
Although the grounds of Boston Calling were still covered in mud from the prior night’s rain, the sun was shining bright by the time Oh Wonder took the stage. The London-based duo, comprised of Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht, have advanced far in the short amount of time since the release of their 2015 debut album. Together they performed new and old songs, entrancing the audience with their gentle harmonies.

Majid Jordan
There’s no denying that Majid Jordan were a highlight from Boston Calling’s lineup. The Canadian duo, composed of Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman, paired soulful vocals with electrifying instrumentals, proving they’ve come along way since a feature on Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home.”

The 1975
As the sun began to set on day two of Boston Calling, a large crowd progressively formed in front of the Delta Blue Stage. Audience members, coming from as close as just around to block to all the way from Canada, eagerly awaited the arrival of the English band. When The 1975 finally took the stage, the screams only grew louder. Throughout their set, festival attendees sang along to hits like “Chocolate” and “The Sound.”

Day 3

Mondo Cozmo
Mondo Cozmo did not let anything, even a lack of sleep, stop them from giving the festival attendees an energetic and spirited set. Together with his band,  Josh Ostrander effortlessly weaved through the notable tune “Shine,” his newly released single “Automatic," and a cover of “Bitter Sweet Symphony."

Mitski Miyawaki, better known as just Mitski, gave a short but sweet performance on day three of Boston Calling. The singer-songwriter captivated the audience with her reverberating instrumentals and impassioned vocals.

Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant’s energy Sunday afternoon was paralleled only by that of their audience. One attendee even managed to jump onstage and dive over the massive barricade into the crowd, prompting a gesture of shock from frontman Matt Shultz.

It was somewhat of a homecoming for Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo when the rock band walked out onto the fields of his alma mater, Harvard. As Weezer closed out the final night at Boston Calling’s Delta Blue Stage, they cemented this year’s festivities into everyone’s memories.

June Editor's Letter

It's been three months since THINGS went on hiatus. During those three months, I have written and re-written this editor's letter hundreds of times.

MASSLEAP cofounder Amanda Torres says, "Starting an organization is a labor of love."
Starting THINGS was a labor of love. In the winter of 2014, I believed that THINGS could help teens and young artists believe in Boston being a city of creatives. I spent all of my free time building this platform because I truly believed it was needed. Three years later, I can say that I was a bit naïve in believing the entire Boston art scene depended on this, but what fifteen year old isn’t a bit naïve? I don’t know how great our contribution was to Boston’s art scene, but I do know that we were able to publish artists –digitally and in print, create a community, and make Boston known as a home for the arts to those outside of the city. This pursuit was a labor of love.

THINGS began in the winter of 2014: my sophomore year of high school. THINGS, school, and my mental health constantly competed for my attention for the past three years. Even during this year, my senior year, I had little to no time to devote my full attention to this platform. Issue 007 caused me so much anxiety that I named it the “unofficial official last issue” to give myself the space to breathe. I’m happy that I will graduate the week this is published but it also sucks that I had to wait for high school to end to finally have the time, energy, and mental capacity to work on THINGS fully.
Amanda Torres also points out that when you fail as an organization, you don’t just let yourself down but you also let down everyone in your community. This is a weight I felt often; the idea of letting down even three people I know actively come to events and read the site makes me feel horrible. I think creating THINGS as a publication that was careful not to focus on me or anyone who actually ran it – in attempt to keep the focus completely on content – I took away my ability to say “hey, I’m going through it right now and I feel way to depressed or busy or overwhelmed to work on the magazine.” In this time period of creating a sort of façade that everything was functioning at 100%, THINGS sort of lost sight of its goals.

THINGS was created in a vastly different time.  In every draft of this letter, this is the hardest part to word. The world of 2014 is nothing like the world of 2017. Every aspect has changed. On a personal level, I know a lot more than I did in 2014. Vocabulary like: ableism, lesbian feminism, non-binary (and so, so, so much more) are all terms I’ve learned recently. I hadn’t read Audre Lorde until I took sociology this year; I learned about Ava DuVernay and the black film canon from a podcast. The concept of self-care had never even entered my mind. My point is: I know a lot more about how I want to exist and want THINGS to exist in our current climate. I’ve had the privilege to access so much amazing knowledge in past few months alone, and I want to funnel it into making THINGS a platform that is doing something. I don't want THINGS to sit idle and indifferent when action is needed. We are a media platform, even if we are small. We are local and we are a community, a coalition, a collective.

On a different note, I’m happy that THINGS still exists. I’m excited by the expansion of Boston arts in every medium and I want to do what we can to be a part of it.  THINGS is always growing and changing; I hope everyone will continue to grow with us as we endlessly try to become our best selves.

text + visual: sienna kwami

Harocaz Drops Serrus Remixes

Despite pushes for tracks like Drake's 'Passionfruit' or DJ Khaled's 'I'm the One' to be called the song of the summer, Harocaz's remixes of her freestyle Cirrus easily take the spot.

The original track, Cirrus, has a slow tropical house vibe to it; I could imagine it playing on a rooftop on a cool spring night with close friends. The Serrus remixes, produced by American Dave, are reminiscent of a hot summer night filled with non-stop dancing.

I talk to Harocaz about Serrus, it’s inspirations, and the Boston underground music scene:

In your last interview with THINGS, you said you want to make music girls who aren’t living for men. Who are these tracks for?

How would you describe Serrus is once sentence?

What do you want people to feel when they listen to Serrus?

As someone who knows nothing Boston's underground house/dance music scene, how would you describe it right now? 

Listen to Serrus below:

Find Harocaz:

(Production) American Dave:

(Art) Joe Domoe:

text: sienna kwami and harocaz
visuals: joe domoe

March Shows

March marks the month in which musicians begin their spring tours. So, inevitably the relative dry spell of local shows will come to a halting end. With many artists performing across the greater Boston area it can be hard to identify the must see concerts coming to the city. However, I’ve compiled a list of shows that are certainly not to be missed this month:

March 2nd
The Joy Formidable @ Once Ballroom (Somerville, MA)
Start your month of right by seeing this Welsh rock band in a show that is sure to impress. They’re bringing their eclectic sound to Somerville’s intimate venue on March 2nd.

March 3rd
Noname @ The Middle East Downstairs (Cambridge, MA)
Well before performing with him on Saturday Night Live, Noname was featured on Chance The Rapper’s 2013 mixtape Acid Rap. Since then this Chicago native has been on the rise, and released her own mixtape in July of last year. Don’t miss her take over this Cambridge venue on March 3rd.

March 4th
Dua Lipa @ The Paradise Rock Club (Boston, MA)
Coming off a massive tour with Troye Sivan and releasing hit single after hit single, Dua Lipa is no stranger to success. Be prepared to watch her “Blow Your Mind” at The Paradise on March 4th.

March 14th
Tennis @ The Sinclair (Cambridge, MA)
This husband and wife duo return to Massachusetts on March 14th just in time for the release of their fourth studio album, Yours Conditionally. If you’re looking for some good indie pop to soundtrack your month of March, this is the show for you.

March 26th
The Japanese House @ The Sinclair (Cambridge, MA)
London’s The Japanese House, the solo act of Amber Bain, comes to Cambridge towards the end of a substantial North American tour. Her tracks, often times co-produced by the 1975’s Matty Healy and George Daniel, are sure to put you in an ethereal state of mind.  

March 27th
Bastille @ Agganis Arena (Boston, MA)
Bastille brings their Wild, Wild World Tour to Boston on March 27th. The tour is in support of their sophomore album, Wild World. If this album’s groundbreaking singles are any indication, Agganis Arena is sure to erupt in quite the dance party.

text and visual: adele sakey

Contemporary POC Authors to Know

The great thing about taking English-literature courses in college is that you’re introduced to a new literary world full of authors and genres you’ve never heard of or could ever imagine. Thanks to both the short story class and contemporary American literature class I took last semester, I’ve learned about a couple new authors who have quickly made their way into my personal collection of favorites.

In those classes we talked about a need for inclusion of all races in literature, and how it’s important to study and recognize POC authors in addition to the usual plethora of white authors who have been studied for years and years. What does it mean to be a revered “American” writer? Perhaps some names come to mind: Twain, Hemingway, or Fitzgerald; all classics, also all white men. When did literature become such a niched pastime for white dudes? Why do we really only know them as the so-called “greats”?

My professors encouraged us to “reimagine” American literature as contemporary readers in a world where literature is endlessly being created, where great works have been published within the last year and ten, twenty years. Where this cool stuff’s being written by people who aren’t white. So here are a few authors I love, and ones to just know.

Junot Díaz is a Dominican-American author who also teaches literature here in Boston at MIT. My favorite work of his is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a story about social outcast Oscar Wao. Oscar is lonely, nerdy, and fat: all attributes that completely contradict the macho Dominican male persona. The novel touches on some pretty complex themes like masculinity, sexuality, identity and just growing up. Díaz depicts the Dominican slums of New York in both Oscar Wao and also short story collections Drown and This is How You Lose Her; all three works are connected. The way Díaz writes about his characters makes you feel a connection with almost everyone you read about; reading Oscar Wao made me laugh and cry and feel all types of emotions that I hadn’t felt about fictional people in a long time. His writing is phenomenal-- Díaz is known for his incorporation of Spanish slang into his writing which contributes to the authenticity and also elucidates the importance of Latin American culture to the narratives.

Gish Jen makes me proud to be an Asian-American woman writer. Perhaps my love for Jen also comes from the fact that she, too, is a child of immigrants and writes a lot about this facet in her novels and short stories. Badass New Yorker and Harvard grad, Jen touches upon the Asian-American family dynamic, as well, in Mona in the Promised Land, The Love Wife and Who’s Irish? What draws me to Jen’s writing is that it’s daring and unapologetic. She writes from the heart and she doesn’t ever hesitate from writing about topics that aren’t beautiful or flowery-- it’s all very real. For example, in Who’s Irish?, she employs a similar technique to Díaz where she writes the whole story from the perspective of an Asian mother who speaks in Broken English. But it’s not just the diction here that makes the story so impactful: it’s the subject matter. In this story, the narrator expresses about the difficulties of raising a daughter in America where the culture is so different and contradictory to Chinese culture. She also has trouble accepting that her daughter marries a white man. The comparison of the two different lifestyles and reluctance to assimilate to the Western one is really interesting.

Roxane Gay is a professor at Purdue, New York Times contributor, a self-proclaimed feminist, and bisexual woman, and also the author of one of my favorite books of 2016. I follow her on Twitter and her tweets are amazing. However, unlike Jen and Díaz, Gay writes mostly nonfiction. Super funny nonfiction. Bad Feminist (my fave) is probably her most popular work, and I completely understand why. Every essay in that book is hilarious, yet complex; she discusses issues ranging from intersectional feminism to her passion for the game of Scrabble to humorous vignettes about being a professor. Somehow everything she writes about -- some topics more abstract and deep, others just about her personal life -- is so enjoyable to read. I would highly recommend Bad Feminist to anyone; Gay’s philosophy towards feminism and just life in general is so admirable and relatable. The conversational writing style makes it a noncommittal, easy read that you can finish in no time.

text: isabelle truong
visuals: macrolit, kalamu, kayana szymczak, kevin nance

Iris Nectar: Traveling Feminist Fiber Art Show

Iris Nectar is an artist based out of Rochester, NY. In August 2015 she curated a travelling exhibit of fiber art based on feminist ideals. With provocative work by many talented artists, the show has grown in popularity and will continue indefinitely. I talked to her about inspiration, her work, and the future of embroidery.

What sparked your interest in fiber art?
I have always been interested in the aesthetic of fiber art and I grew up watching my mom cross stitch. I became most seriously interested in fiber art after coming across the work online of two contemporary artists, Ýrúrarí and Jaz Harold, as well as an artist that I went to ;school with at Boston University, Mia Cross. After being exposed to their work I completely fell in love with the medium and started to delve further into the world of fiber art.”

What artists do you gain inspiration from?
The artists I just mentioned have impacted me greatly, and I am inspired by all of the artists that submit their work to Feminist Fiber Art and that I choose to feature in exhibitions.

by Alaina Varrone
What motivated the exhibit? How did you come up with the idea for a traveling show?
I studied Art History in school, and when I graduated I knew that I wanted to curate my own pop-up exhibit. Initially, I had just considered doing a small show in Boston, where I was living at the time, but there was such an overwhelmingly positive response to the project online and locally that I decided to keep the exhibit going indefinitely. What had initially started out as an idea for a small pop-up exhibit turned into a three-venue art crawl opening festival to kick off Feminist Fiber Art, a project that I knew that could grow over time. After the opening festival went well, I decided to travel with the show to expose the work of my artists to as many audiences as possible. So far we have had exhibits in Boston, Philadelphia, Rochester and have plans to bring FFA to L.A. and Toronto later this year. I also dream of bringing the show to New York, Portland, London, and Sydney.”

It seems the exhibits take a lot of planning between the artists, locations, and performers; how are you able to coordinate everything?
I have an amazing team of volunteers that help me pull off events. I rely on my volunteers to help me set up art, sell art (embroideries, pins, patches, stickers, etc.), and run house shows. Feminist Fiber Art is truly a community project in that we are a group of women working together to promote the work of feminist artists and musicians from around the world.

Many have seen Hannah Hill's Arthur meme-broidery (above) that stressed the underappreciation of embroidery as a legitimate medium. Do you think embroidery will ever be considered seriously despite it largely being regarded as "women's work"?
After seeing that piece go viral we fell in love with it and commissioned Hannah to make a second version for our permanent collection! It is currently being shipped to us from England, and we are very excited to receive it and start displaying it. In order for work to be taken seriously as an art form, it must be celebrated in established galleries and museums, which seems to be occurring with fiber art. There is definitely a trend in contemporary art of embracing fiber art, which makes me really happy to see. I think we are taking steps in the right direction to eliminate sexism in the art world, but we still have a long way to go, considering that white men are still being celebrated the most in galleries and museums.

What can others do to help legitimize embroidery as an art form?
The more people out there embroidering, the more I think people will embrace it, so pick up a hoop, some floss, and needles! It's also very important for curators to continue to exhibit fiber art. I also love how there are a lot of men around the world making fiber art, which helps to cleanse the medium of its sexist past. Anyone can make fiber art!

by Sally Hewett
Are you working on any other projects?
Not at the moment. Feminist Fiber Art takes up all of my free time. FFA is a pretty fluid project, so I can fold in other concepts that I am interested in into events. For example, I am pretty interested in the world of witchcraft, so I am curating a small exhibit focusing on the occult and including some work in other media while still primarily focusing on fiber art.

What advice would you give to an artist trying to incorporate activism into their work?
All activist goals are connected, so when focusing on one specific topic, try and keep in mind how we are a community and everything is related. For example, feminism is connected to activism for POC since women of color are treated differently than white women. I also think artists and musicians should walk the walk in terms of activism, and certainly make artwork with activist content, but also devote their time to the causes by volunteering, protesting, and organizing events if possible.

by Kjersti Faret

Follow Iris and Feminist Fiber Art!
twitter: @irisnectar
Facebook: Iris Nectar
twitter: @feministfibrart
instagram: @feministfiberart
Facebook: Feminist Fiber Art

text: kailey boucher
visuals: feminist fiber art, credited artists

In Conversation with Harocaz

Zacorah, aka Harocaz, is a rapper, performer, DJ, and your favorite homegirl from Boston, MA. Haro is known for her hot dance raps and presence in Boston's next generation of nightlife. Influenced by the worlds of dancehall and techno, she has built a style completely her own. Her EP kthnxbye was released in November 2015.  Her music video debut for her song "Zamba Freestyle" was released via Dollhouse Magazine this past January. We caught up to chat about everything from new music to black womanhood to Kanye West.

Andisa Montez: I want to ask you about being from Boston. How does this city support you and how do you feel when you're performing here?

Harocaz: (giggles)  What I like about being from Boston is the Boston attitude, the Boston state of mind, like... “Can you believe this shit? Look at this fucking kid!”  I'm from Boston and everybody is a kid. I don't know, that's just how it is. As far as the type of support I guess it depends-- I don’t know if it's because I'm a girl, and a black girl at that, I don’t got no fucking weave, I'm just a little nigga. I feel like people want to be into me, but that's not the mainstream. I always got dudes that wanna support me, but they'll be like "yo you could be the next Lil Kim” or some dumb shit, and it's like, no… it's just me right now. I feel like if I did the same exact raps and I was like... more aesthetically pleasing to the male eye I would have no problem getting people to support me. But I feel like, because I'm a natural black woman, who's doing some other sound too, people [are] not really fucking with that. And it's kinda intimidating like, damn this bitch onto something. I get the most support from the techno scene, the dance scene. Rap people be like, “yo Z you still doing shows?” when I've been doing shows this whole year. But I never see y’all rappers there. I did one rap show in 2016 and this woman put me first, at like 8pm. And nobody was even there. I just left the party because it was dry but I heard it was lit later for the boy performers. I'm not even tripping.

A: That’s interesting though. People come up and they turn out for the male rappers but why?

H: And there's some shit ass male rappers too! I'm like, how do ya'll like these boys [even though] they sound like every other male rapper I've heard? It's bored. We're over it. But Boston is a lot about social circles too. “Oh, my friends!” Or people feel like, “Oh, I know this person, I'ma go out.” People wanna be associated, but people not really fucking with you. I feel like even the other Boston artists who get supported by Boston people, they only fuck with y’all because other people outside of the city fuck with y’all. Know what I mean? Or they've seen you outside of the city so they're like, oh you must be lit.

A: This is similar to what i was hearing BBYMUTHA talk about, her hometown, Chattanooga-- people from there don't really support her.

H: It's that small town [attitude], that “crabs in a barrel.” People always say that about Boston. (singsong) Crabs in a barrel. Ain't nobody your friend unless you're at the top of the barrel. And that's why I appreciate everyone who fucks with me. Man, thanks for chilling with me at the bottom of this barrel. But I'm gonna go up and not give a fuck. And when I go up I'm gonna be pretending like I'm not from Boston.

A: What do you want to accomplish in 2017?

H: I've done enough shows in the city. I've been at all the cool venues; I wanna go out of state. I wanna have that same top of the barrel effect. Like, everyone fucks with her and y’all late. Typical, typical Boston. Late as shit. Nah, I'm looking forward to recording on some original beats, made for me. I wanna hook up with some dope ass producers and tour outside of Boston. The only shows I wanna do here are [ones] me and my friends throw. Because I know a) I'll be getting paid from those and if I'm not getting paid it won't bother me and b) I know it's gonna be fun and I'm gonna have a good time because all my peoples there. I just wanna go more ham. And maybe get a nice little dick appointment who won't harass me or fuck up my mind so I can focus on my music.

A: You rap about dick appointments, and boys, but why is there such a stigma about having sex from a woman's perspective? It's almost a taboo, like we're not allowed to discuss it.

H: I feel like people just really waiting for me to talk about sex more in detail. And I don't know, part of me is still really reserved and there's a part of me that doesn’t want to be that sexualized, over-sexualized. I feel like every bitch who raps is sexual. I just wanna be kinda sexual but more homie-style. So I’m just gonna keep going with that. I don't think there's a stigma, I think everybody's really waiting for a bitch to talk about [how] she was sucking a dick or fucking a guy because everyone wants their shit to be about men. I want my shit to be more about the female experience. Like I fuck these niggas, but they not really my main shit. If anything, I think more about how women think a lot about what men think. And I try to not do that as much as possible. I try to show women the [utmost] respect. What you think matters way more, but you just run into a lot of people who are used to thinking about what men say more than what their sister say. Bitches be like, well he said this. Well fuck what he said, he's lying, why do you believe him? I'ma talk about sex, when I have some sex worth talking about. [laughs]

A: When you're writing a song, who are you hoping to impact? Who is your music for? 
H: I just want my music to be for the bitches who is not living for men. You know what I mean? I want it to be like, the girls. I just want it to be like, girls chilling. Even the video (“Zamba Freestyle”) that was my main [vision]. This is not like no twerkathon, I'm not trying to bust a twerk-- not saying that everyone who twerks does it for men, but men can easily make it about themselves.

A: Let's talk about the “Zamba Freestyle.” What was the process like?
That video was so funny. That exact day I got fired from my job, and I usually get a ride from someone there and we carpool but she was like, “I'm leaving in the middle of the day so you either leave with me, figure that out, or get a ride.” So I called [my friend] Greg and he came, and as we're leaving the job, we're maybe 15 minutes away, they called like, “You don't have to come back ever again,” 'cause it was like a temp position, but it was supposed to longer than how long I was there. I was like really? WOW. Jobs are done. I be too lit, I didn’t do nothing [but] go there, do my job, and look cute. So we're driving home and I'm like fuck this job, fuck the random bitch who called me who I've never seen or heard of in my life. And Greg was like, let's shoot a video tonight, let's just go. Let's just go to Copley and the mall. Honestly, I don't really fucks with Lil B because he's mad hype and I just feel like he's also fucked up towards women, although that Wonton Soup video he shot, or whichever one where's he in the mall, that's all I can think about, like yeah! I want a video in the mall. So we went to the mall and recorded that. Then we needed a little bit extra footage [and] I always loved the idea of cameo videos so I hit up all my favorite females in the city and did a nice chill thing. Because I want girls to embrace that song, like yes bitch, [in regards to men] you're moving too slow, wasting your time, I'm not about to sit there and have you lean on me. That's where I was going with that. The video came out mad dope, that was great. That was my first video ever, I've never even tried to do a video before that.

A: Who's influencing you right now?
H: It sounds kind of fucked up and I know this is kinda sad, but I'm most influenced by people who hate on me. Bitch you hate?! You got the nerve to be hating on me? Because I try so hard to just be 100 percent with myself and people around me. So I wouldn't say any music people because I listen to the same shit over and over. Recently I've just been listening to random CDs and albums because my boy has Tidal at work. I'm mostly influenced by living: life experiences like hanging out with my friends. My friend Lauren (Yung DB) is an amazing producer/artist but [she inspires me] just by her being my friend and fucking with my music. People who fuck with me influence me. And people who don't fuck with me influence me. I don't wanna say no artists, but I was always a Jay-Z stan as baby. I think Princess Nokia is fye; I've been listening to Cody Shane's new mixtape, that was dope. I listen to a lot of producers and people who do a lot of remixes. Ase Manual from New York, JX Cannon, that's my boo, he's amazing. Bearcat is dope as fuck. DJs influence me a lot, they make my [performing] sound so much better, they're important. Shout out to Sweat Equity.

A: Who do you want to collab with in the future?
H: I want to collab with JX Cannon, Sweat Equity-- we already lowkey got a collab but I know he lost his computer so we gonna get back. I definitely wanna keep collabing with people in my crew like [Yung] DB. Me and DB have another song; we just dropped “Powerball” which is really cool. I love that song because it was so random. Her recording a beat and me making a rap had nothing to do with each other but it coming together was so cool. I wanna collaborate with Gekko but we haven't found the time to. He's doing shows, I'm doing shows, he lives a whole city away-- that is far! He lives in Brighton. And you know Brighton, in the edge, in the corner. I want to collab with some dope ass photographers [like] Georgette Bieber. There's this person on Facebook called Daryl Dog, they do really awesome portraits. 

A: Just for the record, can you tell us about Yung DB?
H: Yung DB is a dope-ass friend of mine. And it's really crazy because all of my closest friends right now, especially the ones I create with, are all people I've met in the past two years. I met Yung DB at a show and ever since then she's been a really good homie. I feel like her and Greg are my besties because they understand me so well. All my moves and everything. Yung DB is an awesome rapper, producer from Cali. She went to school here [in Boston] and that's how we met. She's a fucking Facebook goddess, a socializing and promoting genius, she's awesome. She fucks with me and I fuck with her and that's the best relationship. That's how everybody's friendship should be.

A: So I gotta ask this question. The past couple of years you've talked about where you've found your growth. What would you say to yourself 10 years ago?
H: Shit, how old was I, fourteen? I would've been like, yo, fuck these hoes bitch! Start making something! I don’t know what you want to make, but just make something! I used to be so boy-obsessed. I think it's because I had dad issues. I also wasn't smoking or drinking at the time. I would've told myself, download mad music and (claps) start smoking mad weed right now! Also I would've been like, bitch, just get your GED. Because I was just not going to school at that time. I used to literally play Sims, download music, hangout at the community center. Never went to school, ever ever ever ever ever. Then I think when I was 17, I was supposed to be a senior, they were like bro, you haven’t been to school in 3 are supposed to be a sophomore. I was like, I can't go to this place no more. It's over. I'll see y’all in the future. Get a GED because you hate school, and that's okay to hate school. Everybody else just made it seem like you have to go. But if you're that young and you're smart enough to grasp concepts… if you pass 9th grade and you hate school, just get your GED. Because I swear it was the 9th grade MCAS.

A: Being from the hood, what does that mean when you're going into the music industry and being exposed to all these different circles in Boston and their perception of you?
h: It's hilarious. It makes me think about how much people make up in their heads about you. Everybody I meet thinks I went to college. I think I've maybe written ten essays in my life like, I do not do that shit. I hang out in the hood all the time. I'm a hoodrat, I don't give a fuck, I be in these streets. Like black guys, or hood people be like, "Yo you're so smart, you went to college, what the fuck blah blah blah" and I'm like, what? I have a GED… just stop. If that was your pickup line, end it now. I hang out with a lot of [academic] people. They kind of have the same ideas about me, but
I don’t know. One time I went on a date with this white kid from the dance scene and he was like, "Oh haha, that person clearly has a GED" and I was like, “I have a GED.” He was like "GAAAAAH." So it really just depends on how you carry yourself.
There's so much resilience in the hood, so much resilience in poverty-- people need to give people in the hood more credit. I feel like we make up everything. Even all the main fashion shit that's going on right now is some shit hood bitches thought up. I been seein’ all my cousins dressed in XYZ looking like this since I was young. And now all the white people are trying to do it. Like, I been seeing my cousins with baby hairs and doorknockers. When people hype it up now, it makes you think like damn bitch, we really inherited some lit shit. We just inherited the times and we are just way ahead of ourselves and we never knew. They knew though!

A: Capitalism profits off of black bodies.
H: If you ever think about how you created that shit in your mind, somebody stole it and gave it back to you. That reminds me of one time I was in Barbados and my aunt was like (singsong) "don't talk to those boys, they're thieves, da-da-da," and I have a cousin my age and I told her Auntie said, “Don't talk to [that boy], he's a thief.” And she was like, “yeah he's a thief.” And her friend was like “Yeah, like that time he stole my headphones and tried to sell them back to me!” (laughs) No bullshit, capitalism [is] white people stealing our headphones and trying to sell them back to us. Fair to say? I don't know, you just gotta love the black experience. I just wanna say this one time for the record: people of color have so much depth. For the record, I've never ever in my life thought I had to be white or light or anything like that to be liked, to fit in. So it really blows my mind when people try to put that on you, like society tries to put that in your mind. “Don't you feel bad you're not white?” Like, no bitch, I never wanted to be white. White people always sad that they're [not] black and I'm just thankful [that I am]. All the most beautiful women I know are black. My uncle had a white girlfriend. She would come around, but even when she came around she would be trying to talk in an accent, try to act like us, try to look like us… and as a little girl seeing her fraud and my mother's realness, and my aunts' realness, and my teenage cousins’, they were gorgeous. If anything, the only thing I thought was that if I had more hair, I'd have all the bitches! Or if I wasn't wearing these extensions… black people be trying to fight for weave so hard. Braids, I understand but weaves… weaves? When we were little, it wasn't even cool to have a weave; like if you had a weave, everybody was like, “Shut up, you got a weave!” (laughs) Nobody was fucking with weaves. My family's from the Caribbean too.

A: A whole other aspect of blackness is being from the islands. How have your Caribbean roots shaped you?
H: It's dope, Caribbean people love to party, love to eat, love to drink. I think everybody loves those things, but it's so serious for us. For Carnival, my cousin legit takes that off as a religious holiday. Boston Carnival to New York Carnival, she takes that whole time off. I love Carnival, I love dancing. A lot of people might be wondering why “kthanxbye” only has one verse and why I kept repeating it. I was lowkey trying to do a reggae song, because reggae songs don't have a lot of verses. They have one verse, and a chorus and you play that, then they cut the song. They play the good part and then cut the song. If you listen to a full song in its radio length, it has one verse, a chorus and a breakdown that repeats twice. So I was wondering how that would sound in a rap. It's not meant to be played all the way through, but you can, it sounds good. And all those songs I recorded in one take, so I’m just flowing and feeling out the song in different ways I could phrase shit so it still lays on the beat. I worked hard to give it a reggae/dancehall-ish construct.  Being Caribbean, so much rhythm, you get to the family function and everyone's like (motions) "Dance, Dance!” and you're just like “Okay!” I love being Caribbean. 

A: Do you have a good relationship with your family?
H: Having the option, [I] can just go to Barbados, my aunt is there. Being out of America, you kind of realize where you're at in the world knowing yourself as it relates to the whole world, the universe. Whereas if your family has been in America for so long, they kinda over it. I have a black friend, I love her so much because her family fries so much chicken over the holidays, so much good food! I love rice and peas too, but I really like fried chicken the most. No bullshit, there's never been fried chicken at any of my family events. It's either been baked or stewed...that's it. It's ridiculous how there's a stigma about black people loving fried chicken because everybody loves fried chicken. Unless they're vegan or vegetarian. 

A: Can you talk more about what dancehall means to you?
H: I wanna dance all the time. So I wanna make music that makes me dance all the time. If you listen to any girl dancehall, that shit be getting real intense. Like, I'm not talking about riding on no cockies, I just wanna ride the beat. I wrote it as, “Ride it how I write it on the beat.” I don't always wanna be rapping. I feel like when people rap too much, that's when they start saying shit they don't mean. Even when I freestyle for too long, it's because I want the rap to keep going. I think if you have a verse and half, with a good dance beat, that's a song. Less is more is what I've learned from dancehall.

A: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
H: I honestly see myself a couple mixtapes in, or maybe an EP or two in, two small EPs, two different projects by two different producers. Some touring... I've already been out of the country for music, and I feel like in five more years from now, if i'm not over it or transitioned into being only a DJ then I'm probably gonna be like, what's good with some long term money. I don't wanna get to that point where I sell my voice for anything. I don't wanna sell my sound and my look and just start talking about anything because that's what people want from me. I would like to be like Joey Badass, like I know he fell off the radar a little bit, but he still raps about the shit he raps about and I feel like that’s why he fell off the radar. I feel like if he changed his sound up, he could easily have been signed or got deals, but he stayed true to himself. That's all I wanna do. I'm not trying to change my whole life for music. I would like music to be a part of my life in the ways I want it to be, but I don't want to be at the point where I feel like I'm in so deep. That’s where I feel Kanye is. He's in so deep that he talks about anything now, anything people want to hear him talk about, he'll talk about it because he sees the money, fuck everything else. (under breath) He should've just married a normal black person... if he just married a nice, low-key woman… not that Kim doesn't support him, but his ego! Five years from now, I'll never be Kanye.

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text: andisa montez
visual: Kay Piazza (@lensbehonest)
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