Beyond High Tea, Onward to Beats & Rhymes – The Boston Public Library pursues Year 2 of the Teen Music Maker showdown


Traditionally known for its quiet opulence with arched coffered ceilings and High Tea Sundays, the Boston Public Library is expanding its reach to build a community for local hip hop artists with Year 2 of the Teen Music Maker showdown. BPL has put out a call for song submissions for cash prizes and is also offering free music consulting workshops and installing portable music kits across its branch locations to foster and support the next wave of hip hop rap artists.

From May 3rd to June 10th, Massachusetts-based teens are encouraged to submit a file of their own original music for the contest.  For teen music makers looking for guidance and support, BPL is also offering a series of in-person drop-in workshops on Friday 5/20, 5/27, and 6/3, from 2:00pm—5:00pm with professional music producer and educator, Tony Hamoui, a.k.a. Hamstank to receive feedback and guidance on their submissions.

The top artists will additionally win professional recording studio time, prizes, and gift cards totaling over $7,500, with the grand prize winner also taking home a $1000 Visa gift card.  All contributing artists will be honored at an online Awards Celebration. The top 10 will be awarded a songwriting commission from the BPL: a paid opportunity to create another original track for the library over the summer months.

Submissions will be judged by a group of Boston-area professionals, music producers, and musicians who will decide who comes out on top.  Established Boston-area rap artist, Red Shaydez, will be one of the submissions judges as offering free social media consulting to teens (and parents) during the workshops.

“We wanted to create a bridge for these musicians to produce and license their music appropriately… Last year 4 of the top 5 winners produced new tracks for the library and got paid for it,” said Chris Jacobs, Teen Central Team Lead for the BPL, in an interview with Boston Hassle. 

Starting May 10, teens can also record their music in person at BPL’s Grove Hall, Lower Mills, Roslindale, and Roxbury branch locations using their new ultra-portable music studios.  BPL is offering free education and instruction to aspiring young hip hop artists through these new portable kits.  “We know it’s not always easy for all communities to get to our Copley location, so we’re increasing accessibility by providing these branch locations our ultra-portable music studios with equipment that includes Novation Launchkey Mini (Keyboard Controllers), Scarlett 2i2 (audio interfaces), Shure Sm58 microphones, and brand new 9th generation iPads. The lab will also have a new Apogee duet audio interface, and a Neumann TLM 102 condenser mic,” said Jacobs.

The in-person workshops are in place for feedback on the types of tracks they’re thinking about submitting.  It’s a chance to get feedback and consultation.  “The producer is very hands-on,” said Jacobs.  “He can show the teens our resources, show them how to produce music in Ableton for PC’s and LogicPro for Macs. This is what 75-90% of producers are using right now.”  


Last Year’s top 3 winners were a duo by the name of The Loop, Nayely, and Jamie Glover. The professional producer at the workshops will be Hamstank.

Questions? Email [email protected] or call Chris Jacobs at 617-859-2215.


Here is a link to last year’s award ceremony 

















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