From the rainy, grey Pacific Northwest city of Vancouver, Canada, Boslen has risen as a new voice in hip-hop, taking a refreshingly personal angle on the genre and establishing himself as an exciting, multi-faceted artist to watch. Coming up in Vancouver's fledgling hip-hop scene is no easy feat, yet he has managed to truly beat the odds, signing to major label Capitol Records after a series of high-quality mixtapes. Having just released his debut album DUSK TO DAWN, which featured collaborations with established names like Tyla Yahweh, Dro Kenji, and more, the young artist has set out to carve his own lane and put his city on the map. Recently, he sat down with EARMILK to talk about his beginnings in music, what inspired his new album, and his future plans in the industry.
Before music, Boslen was on his way to becoming a professional rugby player, however he was unfortunately sidelined by injuries. To get through the dark time that resulted from the setback in his athletic career, he turned to music as therapy, deepening his passion for the art form. "After I tore my ACL I was faced with depression, so what helped me to pass the time was writing lyrics," he recalls. After continuing to write lyrics for some time, he began to record and his music circulated around his college, rapidly gaining momentum and fandom. He remembers his initial surprise at the warm reception his music received: "we started playing songs at parties, and people would come and ask me who it was, which was crazy to me. I knew I had to keep going".
The first song that gained Boslen wider exposure was the nocturnal, bouncy banger "Eye for an Eye", a track that he recorded in his college dorm. "I literally made the song in 45 minutes. I remember being frustrated about what was going on with rugby, and I was just venting. The song came together super naturally, I just had to get it off my chest". After uploading the song to SoundCloud, it quickly gained attention within Vancouver, circulating mostly due to word of mouth.
By this point early on in his career, it was clear that Boslen was quickly rising to become a new voice for Vancouver hip-hop. In a music scene in need of a cohesive identity, he managed to establish himself as a leader early on, through "Eye for an Eye" and especially the songs that came after it. In particular, his song and music video for "QUARTZ" gave the city an entirely new image through its stylish, nonchalant confidence. He wanted the music video to reflect that: "we wanted to showcase the city in a light that portrays bravado and swagger, because Vancouver isn't really known for that so I thought it would be fresh".
"Quartz" was released as a single from his brand new album DUSK TO DAWN, alongside "DENY" with Tyla Yahweh, a track that also featured a vibrant accompanying music video. Perhaps the biggest single from the record, "DENY" has a similarly effortless charisma, yet feels more introspective, showing another side of the artist. Yahweh and Boslen share a natural chemistry on the song. "He took the song's theme and pushed it to a certain level, [and] it felt really authentic."
The accompanying video feels very cohesive and organic. "I was amazed by how everyone was there to support my vision, and it just made me go that much harder on set," he says. "It was my first big budget video, and there were so many people there and I had my own dressing room. I had to take a breath and just be grateful for the moment."
As for his new album DUSK TO DAWN, Boslen revealed that he created in during a challenging period in his life. "I wasn't satisfied with where I was," he says. "I was working hard on music and seeing other people in the city blow up from making 30 second songs on TikTok. And on the other hand, I wasn't happy with the album yet, so I felt that I was sitting on my hands".
He and his team, Chaos Club Digital, were working tirelessly to create a timeless project, and they really wanted to go the extra mile to bring their full vision to reality. "Our main goal was to make an album that we could look back on in 10 years and be proud of." In listening to the project, it is evident that they achieved this ageless quality in the end, as the album brims with authentic energy as it combines genres together in refreshing ways. Over 12 tracks, the artist delves deep into his state of mind, pairing an ear for melodies with introspective lyricism to create a truly compelling body of work.
The main theme for DUSK TO DAWN is that it is a sonic journey from darkness to light. Within this theme, the album dissects Boslen's personal highs and lows, and triumphs and tragedies. In doing so, it utilizes opposites in aesthetic and emotion to achieve an intriguingly mercurial effect. Interestingly, he says the album's theme was inspired by psychologist Carl Jung's theory of the shadow self. This makes sense considering the album's ruminative, diverse sound, and it seems that this theme comes from a truly authentic place. "I wanted to project my shadow self through my music, and from that I formed the album's identity".
It is evident more now than ever that Boslen is at the forefront of Vancouver's rising hip-hop scene. With DUSK TO DAWN, he cements himself as a creative force to be reckoned with, providing a revitalizing blend of genres while remaining unflinchingly true to himself. As for the future, he says, "in the short term, I want this album to have a moment for itself. I want people to connect with it, and pull a piece of themselves out of it." As for the long term he hopes to "bring light to Vancouver and to leave a trail of inspiration for the younger generation." All in all, it is clear that future looks bright for this ambitious rising artist and his city as a whole, as he cements himself as a powerful new voice from the region.