Popular music isn’t inherently better or worse than the album your neighbor is recording with her band.
I did an interview last week with DJ WhySham, whose Lunch Is Ova podcast and variety show is fast becoming one of the premier outlets to plug into for local news and entertainment. In a world where it’s impossible to imagine most people who are under 25 tuning in to some tired old TV morning program or putting faith in AM bigots like Dan Rea and Howie Carr, it’s reassuring that an active cast of personalities and talkers is ready to fill their spots when the big networks catch up with counterculture. And while I’m well aware that it is the cliche of all cliches to say this, there’s still no harm in recognizing—heck, celebrating—that many of the people coming of age in Boston media these days, including on the DigBoston reporter roster, are not all white guys.
At one point while speaking with WhySham about various platforms that showcase talent from around New England, I detoured into a routine of mine, one in which I note how it is not merely an act to follow local artists. Rather, I have always preferred art that was imagined in the place where I’m experiencing it, so much so that I listen to albums by artists from cities I am visiting when I am on the road. Though Spotify has its own issues, some of which contributor N. Malte Collins discussed with activist and musician Evan Greer for this week’s issue (read their full interview at digboston.com; it’s as enlightening as it’s long, which is to say extremely), I used the service as a testament to my allegiance. Every December, when I receive my annual report of the genres that I listened to the most, Boston hip-hop’s always near the summit.
I know this concept is either insanely obvious or totally foreign to people—for some reason, there rarely seems to be much in between those two extremes—but popular music isn’t inherently better or worse than the album your neighbor is recording with her band. Odds are, the mass-produced stuff is probably far less interesting, and it’s less likely to reflect the world around you as much as the rapper who writes their rhymes at the coffee shop where you pick up the Dig. As you’ll see throughout this issue, our backyard is a cornucopia of creativity, brimming with acts ranging from instrumentalists, to MCs who stand out nationally like Dre Robinson and Dutch ReBelle, to bar rockers-turned-electronic bedroom lab technicians.
It’s enough to keep your ears buzzing for months.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.