With nearly 20 million streams, the upcoming 22-year-old rapper Boslen is the next hottest commodity out of Vancouver, BC. Despite his hopes of becoming a professional Rugby player in college, his dreams were cut short after he sustained an injury. However, the Canadian rapper is already gaining a strong fan following in the US and Canada. Boslen has already caught the eye of a few media outlets like XXL, FADER, HNHH, and Lyrical Lemonade. His biggest singles to date are ‘VULTURES’, which has received over 170,000 streams in one month, and “Eye for an Eye” which raked up 900,000 views on YouTube.
Boslen recently dropped his Capitol Records debut album, DUSK to DAWN. This project consists of 12 songs produced by Justsayin that take you on a sonic journey from darkness to light with features from Charmaine, Vory, Tyla Yaweh, Rascalz, and more. With a mixture of trap, punk, pop, and rock melodies, listeners will be taken on a shape-shifting transition throughout the album.
We had the opportunity to talk to Boslen about his Jamaican and Indigenous descent, his life before music, the process of creating his debut album, upcoming projects, and learning more about his work ethics and his appreciation for Kanye West.
The KnockTurnal: You spoke a lot about Kid Cudi’s “Up, Up, Away” which helped you through a troubled time. Did you get into music to help comfort people who were going through a hard time as well?
Boslen: Yes, the feeling music gave me as a kid made me not feel alone. I wanted to establish my career. Also, music played an important time in my life during my athletic career before music. It would help me stay motivated. So when I started making music, I wanted to harness that energy I felt and put it into my craft to help others.
The KnockTurnal: Let’s talk about your first song. What made you want to go into the studio, and what was your inspiration for your first track?
Boslen: It was called “Charlie Chaplin,” I think. My mom bought me his poster from Ikea and I just looked at it while I wrote my first song. I’m still unsure why, but that poster inspired me to just create. I think it was cause my dad was showing me the Three Stooges around the same time, so just being creative and finding my own identity as a kid I saw as “growing up”. But my first time going to the studio for me was my garage. I got some money from Christmas and saved up to buy my own setup. To me, that was the best studio I ever needed. I would just make beats and record myself for hours that summer.
The KnockTurnal: With a Caribbean and Canadian background, did your cultural heritage have any impact on the sound you have created for yourself?
Boslen: Absolutely, both my parents introduced me to my First Nation/Indigenous side so as a kid that helped me creatively tap into spirits and animals for wordplay and also use these themes with a meaning behind it. That helped my music become authentic, it wasn’t good but it was authentic to me at the time growing up and helped me become the artist I am today.
The KnockTurnal: How would you describe the process of creating “the Black Lotus Ep” vs “DUSK to DAWN”? What did you change about your work ethics to create the debut album you knew you wanted?
Boslen: Black Lotus was made at a time when I was first transitioning my living situation from Chilliwack to Vancouver. I had just met my executive producer at the time Justsayin, and he introduced me to a lot of beats I have never heard before. The best way I can explain them would be as “spooky”. From there I was working with new producers I had just met in the city of Vancouver and taking any session I could, I was hungry to just work. The 7 song project came together within 3 months. it was ready to be released with no structure and just a group of songs that I liked at the time. On the other hand, DUSK to DAWN was worked on for over a year. My creative director Natasha and I came up with the visuals of this album together and wanted to do something different, take a risk. Everything felt calculated, from the music to the songwriting to the way it all fits together from merch to videos to songs to showcases. I wanted to build a world.
The KnockTurnal: You speak about “DUSK to DAWN” being a sonic journey from darkness to light. Were you mentally in a dark space and overtime were you able to overcome this feeling?
Boslen: Absolutely. From the first day, we started this project I was at a low point in my life. I kept having past thoughts that would haunt my mind. While I was making this project it was very therapeutic for me because I witnessed myself becoming more grounded as a human. Admitting and facing your inner self is one of the hardest things anyone can do, and for me the more I did it the more I felt empowered.
The KnockTurnal: You spoke about “Dusk to Dawn” being pushed back five times. What made you finally say ok this project is finally ready for the world to hear?
Boslen: It just felt right, it felt like all the stars were aligning and you can just tell at the moment. As creators we all chase perfection and that ultimately sparks madness. I think I was just crazy enough in the moment to be like “okay we’re ready”.
The KnockTurnal: In your previous interview, you speak a lot about Kanye and his work ethic, and the person he was able to become today. Would you say Kanye has a big impact on the artist you are becoming? What is the most important thing you learned from Kanye?
Boslen: I think so. His ability to reinvent himself so more people can connect to him is very powerful. His work ethic and methods are very different and I admire that. I don’t wanna be a sheep. Becoming a trailblazer in this day and age is the hardest thing. This industry is filled with more artists than ever before. So standing out is not just about the music anymore. Kanye impacted my mentality on that. Everything around the music must also hold artistic integrity and truth.
The KnockTurnal: You speak a lot about having your listener appreciate the art behind your music being the most important thing to you. Would you say streams, and views aren’t as important to you? Especially in a generation where an artist can explode overnight from a viral video.
Boslen: I’d be lying if I didn’t say a #1 song would be nice. But at the end of the day, all that matters is the kids. The supporters. The people who are willing to drive across a city and wait outside to see you perform. There are many artists who have big numbers online but cannot fill a room. I’m just trying to grow organically and that takes time man.
The KnockTurnal: As the year is wrapping up, what else can we expect from you this year?
Boslen: A show in Los Angeles I just announced. Another song that I can’t wait for you’ll to hear. But really we are gonna hit the ground running at the top of the new year so keep your eyes out.
The KnockTurnal: You had the opportunity to work alongside Vory, Charmaine, and a few others. Who do you hope to have a collaboration with in the future?
Boslen: Kid Cudi.