Cover Photo by Reclusive.

That Portland Produce section is looking pretty promising…

At the tail end of November, we received two new projects from the collective. how you like them APPLES? by Donte Thomas, and Thru the GRAPE Vine by Bocha. Both projects contained 10 songs and were released on the same day, November 27, 2020.

Needless to say, this crew is in sync, and there is no 90’s boy band involved.

(See what I did there? Ha. Ha. Ha.)

First came the albums, and not too long after came the visuals. To kick off the new year, both artists presented visuals for the opening tracks on their albums. Thomas released “la manzana,” and Bocha dropped off “BLOCK,” a nostalgic, scene swapping, black and white visual directed by Fenn Paider.

Thru the GRAPE Vine was Bocha’s second project of 2020.

Last May, his 6 track EP, I Like U, brought us the sounds of Summer a month early. He touched on love (or lust?) in track “Gotdamnit,” produced by Tawrence, featuring Blossom & Dani Danger. He spoke on the Black experience in jazz-infused “Brown Skin,” produced by Neill Von Tally. And he talked his shit in “Freak,” produced by Sxlxmxn.

The majority of the EP (4 out of the 6 tracks), were produced by Sxlxmxn, who collaborated with Bocha on 2018’s release of Maturing as a Nigga (M.A.A.N.) The two sound great together, if you ask us.

“BLOCK” was produced by Corey G, a musician and producer from Inglewood, California, who wraps us in a blanket of nostalgia by way of active 808’s and slopped samples. Bocha writes with a personal pen, flipping through his phases and ages like the pages of a book.

“13 when my uncle got shot.
14 when I saw him in the coffin, my God.
15, witnessed my mama off of the rock.
At 16, I had dreams. Said I never would stop…”

The visual, filmed entirely in black and white, adds to the nostalgia and personal lyrics, piecing everything together like a puzzle. It’s quite motivating…

Bocha does not deny his past, nor does he judge his past self. It is clear that he has done a lot of growing since his teenage years, yet he is not ashamed to admit that he loves the streets that made him, regardless of the trauma he may have experienced there.

We see scenes of him posted on what may be some of those same blocks. Split screens show him in various settings, mirroring the growth that he speaks of in his lyrics.

After each line, he always returns:

“…But I’m in love with the BLOCK.”

The end of the video displays a dedication to Collin Johnson, who passed away in a car accident on November 20, 2020. A message beneath Collin’s photo reads “Check on your peoples.” This is a reminder that we all should heed. RIP CJ.

Thank you for sharing your story Bocha.

Click play on the visual below and if you haven’t yet, listen to Bocha’s latest project, Thru the GRAPE Vine, available on major streaming platforms.