Emerging from Vancouver’s booming music scene, Boslen is the genre-bending rapper combining his lyricism and atmospheric sound with intertwined storytelling. His Capitol Records debut album, DUSK to DAWN, toggles between slower melodic verses and energetic trap-infused beats. Despite its easy listening, the album is full of emotion and artistry.
Adding to Canada’s rising repertoire of musicians, Vancouver stands in the shadow of Toronto’s popularity. The music scene is a gem hidden in plain sight tucked behind soaring high rises and gloomy clouds. The city is the backdrop for Boslen’s creativity. When asked about the city’s influence, he responds, “I think it made me the man I am today, honestly.” He sits in front of a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the concrete jungle on a rare sunny day. He continues, “I feel like Vancouver, more than anything, shaped my culture and everything I am today. There are so many creators here, there are so many kids that are just like me. They all just want to be heard.”
The first track on the project, “DUSK,” begins with mellow synths that build into a rhythmic melody. The rapper harmonizes then jumps into his first verse as the bass picks up. The track is the preface to the fast paced standout single, “VULTURES.”
Equipped with forceful riffs and a beat drop, “VULTURES” is a hip-hop track that showcases Boslen as a rapper. The track is a party song that can effortlessly transition from the club to the car. The rapper’s bars are poised and vocalized with ad libs sprinkled throughout the background.
Without hesitation, the project then switches to an R&B sound on “FORSAKEN” featuring singer Vory. Boslen steps back into his delicate harmonies over a soulful airy beat. Each verse shows a softer, more emotional side to the artist. The track then fades out leading into “HAVE YOU,” keeping the rhythmic vibe with an ambient pop twist. The vibe is playful and child-like, taking a lighter approach to his vocals.
Even with the rigid jumps from one sound to another, Boslen seamlessly blends each element together. The difficulty of classifying him is the allure of his music. “I’m just a creator. I just create. That’s what I want to be,” he shares with EUPHORIA. “I don’t want to be put in a box, necessarily. I feel like being genre-less has the most artistic integrity to me.” He cites some of his biggest influences: Kid Cudi, The Weeknd, Post Malone, Travis Scott, and Kanye West.
DUSK to DAWN features Boslen’s previously released singles, “TRIP” and “DENY,” which gave fans a taste of the rapper’s unique skill sets. The accompanying visuals tie together with an underlying story of love, heartbreak, and impulse decisions. The “DENY” music video shows the rapper looking back on a date night party portrayed in the “TRIP” video. Boslen takes the listener on a journey through his experiences with intricate imagery, but also leaves aspects open for interpretation.
For the ninth song on the album, the rapper recruits Canadian hip-hop group Rascalz. Paying homage to Vancouver yet again, the experimental sound of the group along with the soulful R&B beat paints a vulnerable picture of the artist. Boslen harmonizes, “I gave you stars and the moon, I gave it all up for you.” The deceit and grief can be heard with every verse.
Contrast is a major theme throughout Boslen’s project. The metaphorical tug of war between darkness and light is consistently present. Listeners are given a front row seat to the mind of the rapper, pulling between the angel and devil on his shoulders.
The closing track, “DAWN” is slow and steady with subtle guitar strums and atmospheric synths. The track is a personal favorite of the artist. He describes, “For me on DUSK to DAWN, I think the outro best wraps the world of light and dark, vulnerability and self-empowerment all into one song.” The piece instantly transitions to an upbeat trap song mirroring the opening vibe of the album. “I don’t think a lot of people will catch that transition at the end because it probably takes a minute to get to that beat switch, but that is the most out-of-body experience I can give someone,” the rapper continues with a smile and chuckle.
Boslen is ahead of his time, denying the label of a sole genre. His sound is contemporary art, overstepping the boundaries of mainstream music. While he still encompasses the rebellious allure of rap, he dives deeper with meticulous storytelling and lyricism. DUSK to DAWN is much more than a simple release. Two years in the making, the 12-track project encapsulates Boslen’s artistic authenticity and creative emotion with longevity as the end goal. “When we were making this project, my executive producer and I had a whiteboard and the first thing we wrote was ‘Timeless.’ We wanted this project to be timeless,” he says, “We wanted artistic integrity. We want to look back on this project in five to 10 years and still really resonate with people.”