This past month, I had the opportunity to talk with LiBossi, an up and coming rapper from Dorchester, MA. He recently released his first project, Suspex Vol. 1, on July 11. Self-written and co-produced with LilBossi’s brother Laiko, Suspex Vol. 1 pairs storytelling with solid beats and a hip-hop/soul-infused sound. Via social media, LiBossi himself proclaims, “Bio’s in the lyrics.” Nevertheless, I was eager to learn more about him, his project, and what he has in store for the future. Check out the interview below!
For anyone who isn’t familiar with your work, how would you describe yourself and your music?
I would describe myself as someone extremely dedicated to the craft and definitely a student of music. Music has been something that has always been in my family. I just turned 20 this month, and the past year has been when I really decided that I wanted to put out my own music and start developing my own voice. My sound ranges a lot, I feel like. I think anyone who is familiar with the music might say it’s got some old-school hip-hop influence, boom-bap, focus on lyricism, etc., which makes sense because that’s the type of stuff I grew up listening to (Wayne, Lupe, Eminem, Cudi, Kanye etc.). But I think there is something in my music that everyone can relate to. Songs about having a good time, songs about love, songs about aspirations, goals, all that stuff. There is a bit of everything in there.
Your debut project, Suspex Vol. 1, has been 2 years in the making. How does it feel to have finally released it to the public in July?
Feels amazing. I just started putting out music a little under a year ago, but I have been sitting on all this music for a while. So it feels crazy to finally have this product out in the world. I was so used to just me and some homies hearing this music, and now anyone can find it. Hard to fathom sometimes, especially because there was a point in time [when] I wasn’t telling anyone that this is what I wanted to do. I knew it. I’ve known it for a while. I just never knew how people would feel about it for a long time so I stayed quiet. Eventually, I got to the point where I stopped caring. I realized some people will mess with it, and some people won’t, and that’s outta of my control. I can’t let that dictate what I want to do.
Your song “Brooklyn Nights” from your debut project uses an interesting combination of a guitar melody and a solid beat. How important is experimenting with different sounds and styles in your music to you?
Incredibly important. I grew up listening to all different types of music, hip-hop, indie, electronic, and even some folk stuff here and there. So, I never want to pigeonhole myself and make one type of music. I said to my brother one time, “In 10 years, I’m still gonna be making music, but it might not even be hip-hop.” There’s too much music and too much emotion to try and just recreate the same sound over and over. I got a lot of stuff on my laptop that sounds completely different from this project. Eventually when I put that out, you’ll see what I mean.
When it comes to writing songs for your projects, do you usually start with a beat or do you start with a concept?
It varies. There was a point where I was only writing, no beat in mind, just writing. I had just started college in Upstate New York. I wasn’t happy and my escape was writing. A lot of my favorite songs and lyrics came from this space. It all depends, though. Other times, I’ll hear a beat, try out some verses, and nothing is sounding how I want it to. At that point, it’s back to the drawing board and I try to create something from scratch. I remember that’s how “Nineteen” came about. I was sitting in my mom’s basement. I had heard this beat, and I just started writing what I was doing at that exact moment. There’s no heat down there. It was like January. I was rocking two sweatshirts, and the first bar of “Nineteen” is “two sweatshirts, I be rappin in the basement.”
In your earlier single, “Small Hearts (Part Two)”, you say, “This game needs a facelift. So, I figured I’d remove the mask and show ya’ll motherfuckers greatness.” How do you hope to change up the music game as an artist?
I just want to make timeless music. Without putting anyone down, I feel like there are a lot of people out here just riding a wave of music. I’m just trying to stick to what I know, what I’ve been through, and write about that. I guess if I had to “change up” the game, it would be by inspiring people to stick to their roots, to do what they know how to do, and to not ride a wave that they might drown in. It’s only a matter of time ‘til that dries up anyways. Stick to who you are, and your music will always sound authentic.
As a Dorchester artist, how do you feel about the Boston music scene? Have other Boston artists influenced your own music?
I’m so proud to say I’m from Dorchester, and I love what’s happening in Boston music right now. If it weren’t for Boston artists, especially people like Cousin Stizz and Michael Christmas, I don’t think I would be putting out music. I don’t know them personally, but just seeing artists from my city working on their craft showed me that I could really do this. The Boston scene is responsible for my musical existence in a way. I don’t know if I would be doing what I’m doing right now without looking to these other artists for motivation.
Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?
In a year, I hope to be doing more of the same…just on a bigger scale. More music, more shows, and definitely more collaborations. I just released my first project, but I am already plotting the next one. It’s all gonna be produced by my brother, Laiko. That’s something I’m really looking forward to doing.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.