Everyone wants to be a rapper but not everyone has the skill and dedication to foster a long-lasting and impactful rap career similar to the likes of A Tribe Called Quest or Missy Elliot. Project Method, a local hip-hop collective currently run by Dawry (16), Biggie (18), Chad (17), Chris(14) and Kevin(18), has the work ethic & dedication that’ll lead them to a long-lasting career & a level of national success that a number of young artists tirelessly strive for.
Last year I was asked to take photos for a Zumix show that included Hipstory and Project Method. Up until that point, I had only seen the guys around Zumix spitting verses and locking themselves in the building’s beat lab to craft new beats. The night I finally witnessed Project Method live, I knew I wanted to interview them in the near future. During the final days of 2017, myself and Project Method carved out an hour and 13 minutes to chat about their craft, the local rap scene and what we can expect to see from them this year.
Allston Pudding: How did you come up with the name ‘Project Method?’
Chad: Most of us are from the projects or had some connection to that area growing up. As for ‘method,’ we all love Method Man but we didn’t want to name ourselves something close to Method Man. We already had the ‘Project’ bit so we went with ‘method’ because then we can explain ourselves as ‘hip hop method.’
Allston Pudding: Why’d rap make the most since as the vehicle for your art?
Dawry: It’s a genre that we’re all able to bond over. Hip Hop is the culture and rap is the genre; we love that hip hop as a culture has many elements that we can bring into our work. About 2 months ago we actually decided that instead of being just a rap group, we wanted to be a collective. So as we grow and add more people, we want to make sure we’re including all forms of art and more elements of hip hop since we all have a number of skills to bring to the table.
Chad: For example, Kevin and I are dancers, Dawry and I draw; Biggie emcees & produces with Dawry and Chris. We truly explore the various elements and levels of Hip Hop within our group.
Dawry: Yeah and when it comes to the fashion element, I’ve been labeled the Hypebeast but we all bring our different styles to the table.
Allston Pudding: What albums and/or songs made you want to pursue rap?
Dawry: I’m stuck between two; ‘Last Call’ or ‘Power;’ both by Kanye West. As for an album, ‘My Dark Twisted Fantasy’ by Kanye West.
Biggie: The 1st album that moved me to start rapping was Biggie’s ‘Ready to Die.’
Chad: ‘Camp,’ ‘Because of the Internet’ and ‘Awaken My Love;’ all by Childish Gambino. Also
‘College Dropout’ by Kanye; that album has alot of my favorite tracks on it. Lastly,
‘Friday on Elm Street’ by Fabolous and Jadakiss.
Chris: ‘The Slim Shady LP’ inspired me a lot as well as ‘Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous’ by Big L. Also ‘Separate Myself’ by L’A Capone; a Chicago drill rapper.
Kevin: Avery Watts’ album ‘The Takeover’ is an album I find interesting because it has elements of rap coupled with instruments that you’d hear in an orchestra yet it still maintains its rock sound. It’s the kind of music that makes you feel powerful which is the kind of music I like.
Allston Pudding: What’s your take on the Boston rap community?
Biggie: The rap community in Boston is pretty small. For me, I built a platform for myself via social media; a lot of folks know about me through the freestyle videos that I post.
When you meet someone new, they immediately ask you if you know someone within the scene. I’ve had plenty of people tell me about Akrobatik; he’s one of the bigger local artists who cosigns us and rocks with us heavy. There’s also Wreck Shop which is a great platform because you get to meet a lot of younger artists and older artists as well.
Boston doesn’t get the love that it’s supposed to get when it comes to hip-hop. When people think of Boston rappers, they think of Latrell James, Cousin Stizz & Michael Christmas but there’s so much more. I feel there are more Boston rappers on the rise but they just haven’t hit the mainstream yet.
I feel the problem with Boston is that it’s a lot of indie music and that’s the main focus. It’s sad that Boston’s rap scene isn’t getting the attention it deserves but I feel there’s gonna be one Boston rapper that changes all of that.
Chad: The Boston rap scene for sure looks bigger than it is because a lot of artists aren’t necessarily from Boston but are from places within Massachusetts so they get lumped into the ‘Boston Rapper’ category. Folks are mostly settled in Salem, Worchester; all of these places around Boston.
Biggie: The thing that motivates me and keeps me going is that if you look at it, Cousin Stizz damn near lived in the same neighborhood as certain people that I know. He grew up in Fields Corner and that’s not too far from me. So, seeing someone from around Boston blow up in the scene like that, it makes me and a lot of other people want to keep pursing the craft.
Chad: You also have to think about the connections and support that rappers may or may not give to each other. It’s always said that Boston rappers don’t really get along or support each other. For example, New York rappers tend to shout each other out but you don’t see that as much in Boston. A lot of folks in Boston see it all as competition but really it’s supposed to be love and competition; there’s really no balance between those two elements in Boston.
Allston Pudding: As young people in the scene, do you feel welcome & supported?
Chad: We’ve felt very welcomed and supported by the people we’ve met so far.
Dawry: We’ve gotten a lot of cosigns from folks like Hipstory and Latrell James but at the same time it’s hard to really break-through in the music scene because we’re still so young. I feel we don’t get the respect we deserve & probably won’t get it until we’re in our 20s which is wild because we’ve been pursuing music for awhile.
Chad: Yeah, Biggie has been rapping since he was 11, I’ve been doing it since I was 13 and Dawry since he was 14.
Allston Pudding: Biggie, as someone who has been working on his craft since he was 11, what element(s) helped you build your platform and appreciation for the craft of rap?
Biggie: Cory bought me under his wing when I was 11/12; Cory is our songwriter/peformance director here- he helps us and other ZUMIX youth write songs. He has bought me around some of the dopest emcees in Boston.
When it comes to building a platform, I feel it’s not that easy but at the same time it’s not that hard. I feel a lot of people get it twisted when they don’t put their heart and soul into what they want to do.
I can easily say ‘I wanna be a rapper’ but how are you going to do that? Are you going to grind or are you going to sit there and say ‘Imma post a video and I hope someone shares it’ – No, most people tag all of their friends.
I probably annoy the hell out of my friends about sharing my videos but I still do it and I definitely see results. It’s all about building a platform yourself and showing the world what you got. You’ll always have people that’ll rock with you and people that won’t but the best thing you can do is keep doing what you gotta do.
Allston Pudding: Social media was mentioned; how do you feel technology and social media has changed the rap game?
Dawry: Now, it’s much easier to make music and get recognized because of platforms like Soundcloud; the internet definitely plays such an important role in creation & exposure. I actually find it really interesting because when we first started, we didn’t use Soundcloud. We really just did live shows so we got all of our recognition and cosigns from just doing performances and meeting people. We only have one song on Soundcloud right now and it’s interesting to see how far we’ve come without fully using the internet to our advantage.
Kevin: Yeah, I feel where we are now with technology, we have it easy. We have all the resources; it’s just a matter of putting it to good use so we can give people a taste of what we’re capable of.
Allston Pudding: I wanted to go back to the age bit for a second; can you elaborate more on why you feel folks may see your age as a hindrance?
Chad: Some folks may be taken aback by how hard we work and how heavily we play with 90s style beats and raps when most young rappers in our age range, I’m going to use Lil’Pump as an example, put off the vibe that they’re doing rap as a joke. And most likely, he probably is just doing it for the fun of it.
But then you have kids like us who are actually trying to make a name for ourselves in the scene and unfortunately, due to society’s skewed perception of the ‘young rapper,” we’re still looked at as ‘kids just having fun.’ Like…folks think ‘oh when they get older, they’ll drop out of this stuff and get real jobs.’ So, for younger people, music is still seen as a hobby and older people don’t respect the fact that we understand rap and have respect and passion for the craft. But also there are some people who see us and they’re like ‘ok these guys are doing back to back shows’ and are very impressed with our hustle.
Biggie: The thing people need to understand about Lil’Pump is that he’s a trend and trends don’t last that long. There are so many artists out now with #1 hits but they’re trends.
Allston Pudding: Rap is very competitive; what’s your relationship with ‘competition?’
Biggie: The competition makes you want to keep going. Hip Hop is a competitive sport outside and inside the group. For instance, when we get in the studio; in my head I’m like ‘I want to have a better verse than anyone in the group.’
Dawry: Yeah, Chad and I put out a song called ‘Mambo’ and when we were writing I was like ‘I’m not trying to get bodied on my own song.’ We know that the competition, even within our own group, will only make us better.
Allston Pudding: With social media, technology, and everyone wanting to rap, what do you think rap will look like in the next 10 years?
Biggie: There’s going to be a new wave.
Chad: I think we’ll accept more of the international hip hop artists like Korean hip hop artists.
Dawry: Yeah, at least in 2020, there won’t be any Lil’Uzis or Lil’Pumps…we’re not gonna have any lil’s at all! I feel it’s going to be a lot more unique and self-accepting. We’ll see more artists like Brockhampton and Tyler the creator; meaning, non-traditional artists that are doing new and interesting things with the genre.
Allston Pudding: What can we expect to see from Project Method this year?
Dawry: We’ll be dropping a lot more music! We’re also trying to find a way to be more collaborative. I think we can see a Project Method mixtape coming soon; most likely in the summer.
Allston Pudding: In closing, finish this sentence. ‘An audience member at a Project Method show can expect…..
Chris: A lot of wildness.
Chad: Realness and hype.
Dawry: Uniquness & diversity
Here’s where you can see more from Project Method
Follow Their Social Media Accounts: Facebook/Soundcloud/Instagram
Dawry put out an EP! He has been working on it since July and is glad it’s finally out. His EP is the second EP to come out of Project Method, Biggie’s being the first.
Open MIC: Brought to you by the ZUMIX Teen Council (ZTC). The ZTC was founded a year ago to help bridge the gap between staff and youth at ZUMIX. By creating and planning events for and by teens, the youth at ZUMIX are able to create and appeal more to the youth.
Project Method will be performing at TEEN BAND NIGHT: in partnership with Boston Hassle, YCCA, Girls Rock Camp Boston, Brookline Teen Center, and ZUMIX. This is a YES Fest show and one of the new goals of the Yes Fest team is to give more youth artists more chances to perform.