As Boston being my place of birth, I was fortunate to have four dominant sport franchises to support whole heartedly, but as I got older and gravitated towards music more, it was disheartening to find my hometown was practically barren of musical talent making an impact on a national scale. I yearned for the hometown hero to root for, like kids in Brooklyn have with Joey Bada$$ or Compton youth have with Kendrick Lamar, but that all changed when I got a new laptop last August. I had a new hard drive to fill with new music, and headed straight to HotNewHipHop for some great music. I go to the featured mixtapes section and see this cover for a mixtape called Suffolk County. Being from Boston, I know that county from anywhere, and come to find out it was a rapper from that county. I see the name Cousin Stizz with confusion, but gave it a chance to show support for a fellow Bostonian. What I heard was thirteen songs of raw, dark, but with a bounce that’s become an Atlanta staple. I finished the project and my first thought what else does this guy have? I looked on his SoundCloud to find two standalone songs released before his debut mixtape. As much I would love to jump right into where Stizz is now, it’s only right that we start from the beginning.cousin-stizz-nyc

Stizz was the oldest and only son of three children born to two hardworking parents. After watching a No Jumper interview on him, I found out his father was a construction worker, while his mother’s occupation is still unknown. Growing up, Stizz was a typical boy in a big city, getting into trouble just to pass time. Instead of going to high school in the city, Stizz was chosen to be part of a program in the area where urban high school students go to high in the suburbs, a program that Stizz had been on the waiting list for many years and that he was given an ultimatum, either do the program or go to military school. Stizz said this was fundamental in him seeing different cultures and him growing as a person. In the aforementioned interview, Stizz shares that the first rap he wrote was after he missed the bus to school, rapping over a beat from the classic Lil’ Wayne mixtape, No Ceilings. After that, Stizz was drawn to music quickly. It got deeper when Stizz participated in a cypher in 2012. In that cypher, Stizz, known back then as Stizzy, showed he had a talent to spit and that he was something special. After that, He contacted his current manager, Tim Larew, and told him that he was taking music seriously. After that, it was the studio and making music. After the aforementioned two songs hit the internet, Stizz released “Shoutout” in July of 2014. The calm, wavy, catchy track became a banger, getting so popular that Drake was videotaped listening to it and bopping his head to it at his birthday party, showing his stamp of approval. When most rappers would try to ride the Drake co-sign, Stizz knew that was when the real work began.cousin-stizz_2

In June 2nd, 2015, Stizz released Suffolk County, his debut mixtape to the internet. Stizz showed a certain kind of individuality by only having one guest appearance by Jefe Replay on the project’s sixth song “Talk”. By end of the year, it was on several blogs’ best projects of 2015 lists.

It is very normal in this day for rappers to release a project without a minimal amount of time between them, but Stizz use the old saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” to his advantage. While promoting and doing live shows with songs from his debut, Stizz released the single “The Wave” in late September of the same year. In November, Stizz released another single, titled “Cheddar Bring”. Stizz waited until the New Year had started to release another single titled “Super Bowl” in late January. Stizz then let nostalgia grow a substantial amount until he released another single, titled “Gain Green” in May, which premiered on OVO Sound Radio, Drake’s radio show on Apple Music. Not even a month later and Stizz released the single “Coulda Been” while announcing his sophomore mixtape, MONDA, in July. The title is in memory of his friend, Damone “MONDA” Clark, who died of cancer earlier this year. At the start of July, Cousin Stizz fans were ready than ever for MONDA to drop, and Stizz released a single from the project, “500 Horses”, which is my favorite song from Stizz as of late. The song hit SoundCloud and became an instant hit. After dropping “500 Horses”, Stizz announced that MONDA would be released on July 14th. Two days before MONDA was about to drop, Stizz released the audio and music video for the mixtape’s final track, “Where I Came From”. When July 14th came, thousands, myself included were anxiously waiting for MONDA, which was released around noon that day. Packed with fourteen tracks, Stizz kept the same formula, collaborating with the same producers from Suffolk County, but had new people with a collaboration with famed producer Cardo on “Every Season”, and the lone guest appearance from Larry June on “Down Like That”. On MONDA, Stizz shows that he is a star and getting rid of him is not going to be easy.cousin-stizz

With two mixtapes under his belt, a sold-out show in our hometown, and multiple dates at festivals and cities across the country, Cousin Stizz is primed to make the jump from regional to nationwide. As well as doing all that, Stizz has been catching attention from many record labels along the way. The most beautiful thing to me is that this is still the beginning for Stizz and campaign to make the Bean on the map in the music world.

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