Local cultural developer and Harlem-transplant, Billy Dean Thomas has been hyper-focused on expanding the quality and reach of Boston’s hip hop scene. Using a three-pronged approach of music, fashion, and culture, Thomas has provided a platform for the new generation of LGBTQ+ rappers that now occupy some of the top spots in the local hip-hop landscape. Thomas even curated and MC’ed one of Boston’s most successful hip-hop events in recent memory, Hip Hop and Haute Couture. The event brought together over 4000 hip hop fans, art lovers and fashionistas at the MFA to blend a new texture for the genre in Boston. Musically, Thomas uses adrenaline-pumping beats and deeply creative wordplay to tell important stories of their experiences fighting against the forces of homophobia and racism. With coverage across mediums from WBUR, WGBH to ABC’s The View, Thomas was named one of Boston Globe Magazine’s Most Fashionable Bostonians. Now the fashion, music and culture icon is sitting down with hip hop writer Jared Steinberg from Boston Hassle to talk about why it’s great being an artist in Boston (vs. New York) offer some pandemic-specific fashion-tips, and discuss their new EP, For Better or Worse.
Interview by Jared Steinberg
Video by Robbie Rhodes