Cousin Stizz treats his music like a diary.
“[That’s why] . . . all my projects have been pretty different from each other,” Stizz told the Cleveland Scene in 2017. “My music is just about my life and where I am now. That’s how I’ve always been.”
Stizz, born Stephen Goss, has been putting Dorchester on the map for a while now. His 2015 mixtape “Suffolk County” gave listeners a first-hand look at what life is like when you’re pushing drugs in Fields Corner, losing your friends to death and incarceration, and dealing with the pain it all brings.
His 2017 debut album “One Night Only” found Stizz in Los Angeles. Despite being his debut, the album served as a victory lap and a full embrace of fame. His lyrics were happier and more welcoming, his songs more radio friendly.
Now, Stizz has dropped his second studio album, “Trying to Find My Next Thrill,” and it proves that no matter where Stephen Goss goes, he’ll never let Dorchester go. The album opens with “Meds,” a return to the stern lyricism that made “Suffolk County” such a hit. “Where I’m from living ain’t for the weak/I’m tryna stack up/Take care of the family/Smoking that dope but I can’t shake it off,” he raps.
It’s a perfect opener for the album because “Trying to Find My Next Thrill” finds Cousin Stizz coming down from the initial high of being a celebrity. He uses the album to embrace the duality of his life. Half his heart is still in Dorchester, and the other half is exploring life in LA.
That said, LA’s fingerprints are all over this album. On “Anonymous,” Stizz enlists the help of LA-based producer Kenny Beats and brings St. Louis-turned-LA wordsmith Smino to the mic. On “Toast 2 That,” Stizz teams up with Indiana’s Freddie Gibbs to make a party-ready banger. At the same time, there are songs like “Two Face” and album closer “The Message” that show Stizz’s maturity, minimal production style, and an earnest return to his ferocious and open-hearted bars. On “The Message,” Stizz aims his words to some younger friends from back home: “I remember times when we thought we seen you doomed/Lost ones you love too soon/Messages from us, sent to you with love/Lessons that you learned will forever be taught.”
On “Trying to Find My Next Thrill,” Cousin Stizz has managed to find a perfect balance between the grittiness of projects like “Suffolk County” and commercial appeal of “One Night Only” while staying true to his roots.