Can Cousin Stizz put his hometown on the hip-hop map?

Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

In hip-hop, your city is your identity. Chance the Rapper is synonymous with Chicago, Future holds it down for Atlanta, and Kendrick Lamar is Compton’s hero.

Boston, though? Currently, the city has no nationally known rapper of its own. But Cousin Stizz, 25, a Dorchester native, might change all that. He’s dropped two well-received mixtapes so far, “Suffolk County” and “Monda,” and his first studio album is set for release next month. The Globe caught up with him by phone from Los Angeles, in advance of his homecoming show Saturday at Boston Calling .

Q. Boston’s rap scene has never been as strong as the ones in other major cities, like Atlanta or Chicago for instance. Any theories on why that is?


A. The door was just opened for those cities, you know what I mean? Like, there was a time when Atlanta wasn’t popping. But once those doors opened, once some people came out of there, more followed. Same with Chicago. After Kanye West got big, more and more rappers followed and now you have the same thing happening with Chance [the Rapper] and them. I’m one of the first to come out of Boston, but that just means that more people are gonna come out from there now.

Q. I know one of your first breaks was when Drake played one of your songs at his birthday party a couple years back. Was that when you knew you made it?

A. That was definitely the first time I was like, “Yo, people are really listening.” It wasn’t a “you made it” moment though, because that was still really early on, I still had a lot to do. But yeah, when Drake is listening to your music, you got to straighten [up] then.

Q. When will you have “made it,” then?


A. For me, making it means I’ll be able to buy my mom a house. With a [expletive] super big backyard and a pool and maybe a lake. That’s when I’ll know I made it.

Q. On “Suffolk County” and “Monda,” it felt like a lot of what you were rapping about came from your experiences growing up and living in Dorchester. As your life changes, is the inspiration for your music changing at all?

A. Yeah, it’s different now. It’s a growing-up thing. I have different goals for myself than when I was 19. Back then I was trying to figure this thing out. I needed a change of scenery, and I wasn’t getting that where I was at. Like the other day, I went on a really long walk just for no reason, and ended up in a really nice neighborhood with pools and tennis courts. I was like, “This is what I want.” I have to to see it. I have to see it to believe that it’s out there and know that I want it.

Interview was edited and condensed. Alex Frandsen can be reached at alexander.frandsen@globe.com.