Radicle Sounds

Boston Chery Got Us Cuttin’ Up in the Kitchen

This is a playlist for choppin’ and boppin’.

Radicle Sounds is a seasonally-curated playlist series created in partnership with Black DJs. For our Eatin’ Good collection, brought to you in partnership with Grist, we collaborated with Jersey-based DJ Boston Chery. Darel Scott, Earth in Color’s Founder, sat down with Boston to learn about their musical journey and the process behind this cooking-inspired playlist. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

darel scott Tell me about yourself. What’s been your journey with music?

DJ boston chery I am a DJ, producer, and event curator. I was born in Massachusetts, but I am from New York. I grew up in Crown Heights in Brooklyn. My music journey started at seven years old when I used to write music and learned to beatbox from my mom. I actually got the idea of becoming a DJ from my friend’s mom in elementary school. We were hanging out at his house and from the other room she said, “You should get into DJing.” It was so crazy. It was like a light bulb clicked, and I just ran with it. I started producing music in high school, making beats using a discontinued Apple app called Soundtrack Pro. In college, I officially started DJing. I didn’t know that it would take me as far as it’s taken me. I am so grateful. 

In college, I didn’t even have a setup. I was DJing off my computer—I downloaded this program called Virtual DJ. A year later I got a controller. My first gig was DJing for my friend’s sister’s birthday party. Right after that, my sister booked me for a 16th birthday house party. And it was lit! I remember DJing off of the stove! The speakers were on the table. A lot of my early parties were like that.

I’ve lived many lives as a DJ. 

In 2012, I used to be in Soho a lot, and I’d bump into people who knew me from my house party days. I started taking pictures and videos for the parties I was throwing. And through that, I met my homie Armany, the son of Armand van Helden, a popular house EDM DJ. Through his father, I got an internship at Global Grind, Russell Simmons’ company. Within a week or two, I was the youngest paid person doing video work for the company. Then, I started DJing for Mass Appeal and met one of my first mentors, Natasha Diggs, an amazing DJ who gave me a residency at the DL Rooftop & Lounge. 

While DJing a backyard party, I met a videographer from Switzerland who flew me out to Art Basel. That was the very first time I’d flown on a plane. At that time, that was the biggest crowd I’d DJed for—underneath the outdoor tent were over 1,000 people, and next to it was an Erykah Badu party.

It all happened so fast!

Darel It seems like when you DJ, there’s a huge part of what you do that’s for the vibrant queer community around you in addition to being for Black people. Can you talk about the community you’re building?

BostonI started DJing for the queer community only a few years ago. I’ve met so many people who are now my chosen family. It’s been so liberating to DJ for queer people. I can’t even tell you how many queer Haitians come up to me and thank me. Representation really matters. I never knew the peace that I would feel meeting so many people who looked like me. 

When I first started DJing, I did not see many lesbian or masculine-presenting women and non-binary DJs. I thought it didn’t exist. I’m sure it did, but not on this level—where I can see queer and queer masculine-presenting DJs all around the world. I can tell you the names of people from London to Australia to Atlanta to Miami. I wasn’t able to do that ten years ago.

The queer community is beautiful. It’s vibrant. It’s great. They love to dance. They love to celebrate. It’s free. It’s very liberating. I have some straight friends that come to party just based on the freedom that they feel!

“It’s been so liberating to DJ for queer people. I can’t even tell you how many queer Haitians come up to me and thank me. Representation really matters.” DJ Boston Chery

Darel I love the energy that comes from the spaces you create. You exude liberation and freedom and it’s really beautiful. Tell me about the playlist you made for the Eatin’ Good collection. Take us to the kitchen with you.

bostonDefinitely! Thank you for saying that. When I created this playlist, I was thinking, “What would I chop my vegetables to? What do I want to hear when I’m going to the fridge to figure out what to make?” The playlist starts with a slow tempo then it gets up! I started with Afrobeats because it’s very grounding for me. Then, you’re stirring the pot and you hear Deli by Ice Spice. Next, we go to Jersey and are having fun with it, putting the food together. This is when you get heavy-handed with the seasonings since you’re already shaking and dancing. We have some throwback hip-hop music and then we’ve got Trick Daddy’s Take It to the House, which takes me to cookout days. You get back into the groove and vibe with Amapiano. Now that the food is cooking, you’re chilling. We go into Estelle, got a little R&B, and a little NOLA bounce because the food is almost done. We’re doing a little happy dance because the food is smelling good. And the last song is a slower version/remix of The Boy Is Mine.

DAREL It’s so good! It’s exactly what I want to play when I’m cooking.


darel What dish reminds you of home?

bostonDiri kole, a Haitian rice and beans dish with fried pork, plantains, spicy pickled cabbage, and a side of avocado.

DAREL What’s your favorite vegetable and how do you like it prepared?

boston Cabbage. Whichever way you cook it, I like it.

DAREL Three words to describe how you want people to feel when they listen to this playlist?

boston Liberated, grounded, and adventurous.

DAREL Share two emerging artists that you want people to know about.

boston Haitian producer Michael Brun. He just dropped an EP that’s very very fire. And Blxst, I know he’s not emerging, but he’s a beast—he’s a producer, musician, songwriter, and vocalist. He’s really amazing.