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Artist Profile: Feed The Family Is Bringing Hip-Hop Back to Boston

Portrait of Feed The Family members BoriRock, Dun Dealy, Shaykh Hanif, and TOP HOOTER by Ramon ‘1000WORD$’ Lazo
Portrait of Feed The Family members BoriRock, Dun Dealy, Shaykh Hanif, and TOP HOOTER by Ramon ‘1000WORD$’ Lazo By Courtesy of Ramon "1000WORD$" Lazo
By Ryan S. Kim, Crimson Staff Writer

Feed The Family, a dynamic artist collective founded in Boston, is bringing authentic hip-hop back to Massachusetts. The group consists of four rappers native to the state: BoriRock, Dun Dealy, Shaykh Hanif, and TOP HOOTER. They are known for their group chemistry and hard-edged sound, which combines gritty street tales with a throwback-style production from in-house beatmaker Tremendiss. Rooted in their Boston origins, the group's influence within the East Coast underground continues to grow thanks to their recent output and strong connections with other rising Northeastern talents like MichaelAngelo, al.divino, and Estee Nack.

The group’s self-titled debut project, released in Jan. 2022, is a testament to their artistic chemistry and Massachusetts origins. The project captures the essence of their collective identity and artistic vision with standout tracks like “DUCK DUCK GOOSE” and “RELIEF,” which turn introspective and vulnerable storytelling into hard-hitting street anthems.

The four rappers in Feed The Family are all independent artists in their own right. Shaykh Hanif shared that he grew up listening to music from Dun Dealy and TOP HOOTER’s group RNO.

“I remember watching DVDs with Dun Dealy on it and everything like that,” Hanif said in a sit-down interview with The Harvard Crimson.

The idea of forming Feed The Family had not emerged until the recording sessions for their debut album had already begun, according to Dealy.

“I don't think originally it was really part of the plan, but the way the project came out and the whole process, it just only made sense,” Dealy said.

“It was like the perfect pie,” TOP HOOTER added. “It had all the ingredients and everything just came together crazy. The studio was a sanctuary for us.”

Hanif echoed his groupmates' assessment of how they came together, crediting BoriRock with the creative direction behind Feed The Family.

“I didn't think it was actually going to be a group or a project,” Hanif said. “Bori is such a visionary that he had all of this mapped out in his head before any of us even knew where he was going to take it.”

BoriRock came up with the group’s name randomly while driving and listening back to the tracks that would become the full length “Feed The Family.”

“When I went back to the studio, we did a song and I put the songs on a private SoundCloud link and just called it ‘Feed The Family’ because I liked how that name sounded,” BoriRock said. “The name came on its own because it wasn't like, 'Yo I'm gonna name it that.’ I just did it real quick for the link.”

Although the name arrived at the spur of the moment, the moniker holds deep meaning and reflects the group’s commitment to each other, their families, and their city.

“We all providers,” BoriRock said. “We all got family to look out for. It just means that you gotta put on. It's bigger than you type shit.”

In addition to bringing the group rappers together, BoriRock also introduced Feed The Family to their now go-to producer Tremendiss around 2016.

“Through him, I met everybody else, because we lived in the same house,” Tremendiss said. “Bori is my family, he lived on the first floor, I lived upstairs, so he was always watching me make beats.”

According to TOP HOOTER, the positive reception of the Feed The Family album strengthened the group’s resolve and inspired others from the local scene to rap.

“It's kind of life changing, because before we were all trying to find our way within ourselves. Now we formed this group and turned over a new leaf,” TOP HOOTER said. “Now everybody wants to rap again, which is cool because that's what we wanted anyway.”

With several projects in the pipeline, including solo work from individual members and the next Feed The Family posse album, the group is set to make a significant impact in the coming year. Hanif expressed the crew’s goal to elevate their state's musical representation and bring the local scene back to its roots, pointing out that legendary Gang Starr producer Guru originally hails from Boston.

“It was always a sound out here that was grimey,” Hanif said. “But, I feel like over time, Boston had lost that. It was a lot of doing what everybody else was doing, whether it was trap music or melodic rapping. So when Feed The Family came around, we took it back to the essence.”

—Staff writer Ryan S. Kim can be reached at ryan.kim@thecrimson.com.

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