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Boston Hip-Hop Highlights: 2013

I was on the fence about doing any type of Boston hip-hop year-end recap type post, but it’s six in the morning and I’ve got nothing better to do. It was easier for me to reflect on 2012 around this time last year because I didn’t have remotely the grasp on the outside world (and how Boston fits in) that I do today. I was only a year into the game, and aside from connecting with a few artists, producers and bloggers via the internet, I had little tangible exposure to the national hip-hop scene.

This year was a different story. I managed an artist signed to a major label, traveled to Los Angeles on business, went on a two-week tour that spanned as far west as Minnesota and included a stop in my birth city of Chicago, covered dozens of shows at SXSW in March… the list goes on. I became immersed in hip-hop – all sides of the business, really – and gained a very realistic understanding of what it takes for artists to succeed on a greater-than-local level.

Thus, I’m not able to reflect on the hip-hop scene in Boston as dreamily as I did a year ago. Not that I drew unrealistic assessments at the time – I just have a clearer vision and a more concrete measuring stick to work with today. I’m not going to tell you that Boston is on the brink of a massive breakthrough because it’s not true. The quality releases are few and far between, and the way some key players handle business leaves a lot to be desired. That said, there is undoubtedly quality brewing in Boston and potential for greatness in a number of spots. I’m going to look back on few tracks and videos that were highlights of 2013 in hopes that my recap at the end of 2014 will be my favorite piece I’ve ever written. Oh, and for the record, none of the five best songs I heard from Boston artists this year have been released yet.

NOTE: The good folks over at HITP did a very comprehensive review of 20 standout mixtapes/albums that dropped this year. Check that for a more in-depth look at some Boston-bred music.

My recap after the jump (below, towards the bottom of the page – just above “tags”)

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