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Noisy Neighbors

Slaine’s ‘The Boston Project’

Slaine

The Boston Project

Having long ago carved out and repeatedly defended his respected position as an artist, there’s not a whole lot more Slaine can do to build his name within the Boston hip-hop scene, which makes his decision to take on the ambitious “Boston Project,” a hybrid album/civic platform for more than two decades of hip-hop in the city, a bold statement of his commitment. Packing in more than 30 locally based collaborators through 17 tracks, it’s hardly cohesive or concise, but as a document of the local scene it has few equals in recent memory.

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With Slaine at the helm, the album explores some expectedly dark territory. Crazy meets insane when he teams with Amadeus the Stampede on “Cocaine & Whiskey,” and “Rats Maze” simmers with harsh imagery thanks to verses from Newz and Lecks Get It On. Slaine’s frequently brutal visions lead him to such like-minded artists as Rite Hook (“Zombie Land”) and Smoke Bulga (“Bad Guy”), making reflective cuts like “Polaroid Picture,” with J the S and Dutch Rebelle, and “Hero” stand out all the more. The latter track, featuring Jaysaun and Checkmark, has Slaine brushing off the tag of role model, but after this strong showing it’s unlikely that will take.

Martín Caballero

Essential “Polaroid Picture”

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