Music

Cousin Stizz Really Likes Making Music — Especially When It’s ‘Just For You’

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A little over two years ago, Boston’s Cousin Stizz was Trying To Find My Next Thrill. The title of his 2019 sophomore album presented a man searching for the next excitement in his rap career. He’d won the hearts of those in his hometown through his first two mixtapes, 2015’s Suffolk County and 2016’s Monda, and well as his 2017 major-label debut One Night Only. He’d collaborated with some big names in music like Offset, Smino, Freddie Gibbs, Yung Miami from City Girls, and more. So a search for his next thrill through two albums and two mixtapes made sense.

In 2022, though, Stizz returns with his third album, Just For You. The 13-track project is a mostly solo effort, with just one guest feature from Curren$y. While the Boston native’s search for his next thrill is ongoing, he continues this journey with a project crafted for those who adore him the most. Stylistically, it’s quite reminiscent of Suffolk County and Monda. Backed by strong production from Kal Banx, Charlie Heat, Latrell James, Luke Crowder, and more, Cousin Stizz runs the show from start to finish with equal amounts of precision and finesse.

Fresh off the release of his new album, we caught up with Cousin Stizz to talk about the project, how it’s been searching for his next thrill, the Boston hip-hop scene, and more.

Pandemic things aside, what have you spent the last two, going on three, years doing that brings us Just For You.

Learning bro, literally. Just been learning the game, where I want to be, and where I see myself in the game. Learning life things, you know, things for myself to just help me grow and put us here.

I really liked the idea and concept behind Trying To Find My Next Thrill. Where do you feel like you are on that journey and what place does ‘Just For You’ have on this journey?

Ironically, I feel like Just For You is filling that void. I feel like right after I made Trying To Find My Next Thrill, the world shut down. I went on my own about the business, so that and all the things that happened in the midst of that, it kind of just ironically became that.

Speaking about Just For You specifically, what was/were your biggest intention(s) with this project?

Man, I just wanted to really put something out. My biggest intention was just to get some music out and really just kind of see how people feel about it. My biggest intention was just to get my point across and see how people felt about it because it’s been a while.

You released two projects under RCA, and now you’re back on the independent route, what went into this decision especially ahead of this project?

I think it was just where I saw myself in my journey and where I want to be. I feel like I kind of have to build my foundation just to make sure everything is done the way I want it to be done.

The scarcity of features on this album reminds me of Suffolk Country and Monda. Why did you choose to completely lock in with yourself this one?

I like making music, you know? And I make a sh*t ton of music that doesn’t get out there for people to hear, but I like making music. It’s not even a thing that I do intentionally. I just make music and everybody ain’t there when I’m making music. I make music a lot of time at my crib around like one or two in the morning. I’m rapping from like, 10 pm to 6 am in my crib. So it’s like who am I really around during those times, but myself?

So it’s not really like an intentional thing because I like the people I like and I like working with the people I’ve worked with, we’ve made great music. I make music for myself and I tried to keep my fans in mind when I’m making the music as well because, without them, there’s no me, but I really make music for me.

What are some things you wanted or tried to do differently on Just For You compared to your previous releases?

I kind of try to always do that. I know what I’m good at. I know what I do well. I always leave pieces of that in records because that’s what you should do. I know what people want to hear from me, for the most part, but at the same time, in order to keep it exciting for me, I always gotta just try things and let that part of me go.

Being able to put out five albums and still get the attention you get is a blessing. What keeps the love alive for crafting projects each time around?

Man, that is a blessing and I’m super grateful for it. I think that’s half of it, just knowing that it’s been since 2019 and I’m still getting some type of love and that’s crazy to me. I’m just super appreciative of that, and that alone helps me love this sh*t a lot. It shows me people care, and when people tell me that they care — those real person-to-person interactions where a motherf*cker come up to you and they tell you “This record helped me” or “This record did this for me or that for me” — that keeps the love in the game for me every single trip. Plus, I just like making music, it’s something I was doing for free, it’s something I would do for free. They say if you don’t love your job, you should quit and it’s like I just like making music.

Looking back at your days of doing cyphers at 12For12 and dropping Suffolk Country to where you are now, you’ve accomplished plenty in your career. What are some personal goals you what to check off for yourself and your legacy?

I want to be the best in my eyes. When I feel like I’ve accomplished that — and I got a long way to go — but when I feel like I accomplish that, then I’ll be okay. I don’t even know what that means because we always feel like we can get better, especially with music or with any art, you feel like something can be better with something. But whenever I feel like I’ve got to this point and I can look back and say I’ve done something, I’ve helped a lot of people, and I’ve taken care of everybody that I needed to be taken care of, then I feel like I could be like, right.

When we look at the Boston scene, acts that you came up with (Latrell James, Avenue, Kadeem, etc.) are still working. Then there are acts like Van Buren Records, Sean Wire, BIA, Najee Janey, and more who are getting their shine now. How does what you see going on in the scene feel to you? Is it reminiscent of what you experienced in the city during your own come-up?

Shoutout to everybody that you named. I think it’s super f*cking dope. I think around the time that we were doing what were doing, it was really me and all my friends. I remember booking venues that we were going to and sh*t like that, I remember being there for all of that. Now, it’s a bunch of different cliques and crews doing their thing and that sh*t is fire. I think that’s super important. You need a bunch of different energies in order to make a scene and I think that’s what’s starting to happen. I think that’s what is happening. Shoutout to all those kids, keep doing y’all things, keep going, keep being consistent, and don’t stop. Literally, just don’t stop.

In these few years, as you’ve worked on the latest chapter of your career, what was the best advice that you received?

There’s been a couple of different gems, but really one of the best [pieces of] advice that anyone’s ever given me is that this sh*t does not stop. Once you get to what feels like your goal, it just kind of restarts. You put a new goal on yourself, just so just know that when you’re in this, there’s no break. So if you’re willing to understand that and you’re willing to make those types of sacrifices, then this is for you. If you’re not willing to be that then, maybe you should try something else.

Just For You is out now via Stizz Music Inc. You can stream it here.

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