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Artist Spotlight: ET

Pics by Gio Diaz (@giosworldtour)

"I don’t know where I’m gonna take it next but that’s what makes it fun."

ET, previously Saint Lyor, has played an integral role in the success of the Brockton, Mass-based group, Van Buren Records, over the past few years. At 23, he has embarked on a new journey, putting his original moniker aside and introducing the world to ET, with the self-titular debut project #ET that was released at the end of March 2023.

Comprising a diverse group of artists and producers, Van Buren Records has earned widespread acclaim from fans and industry heads alike for their relentless work ethic and ability to deliver high-quality releases from every label member consistently. Although each member brings their own unique style and approach, they are setting a new standard for quality rap music in Massachusetts and beyond, cementing their reputation as one of the most exciting and innovative music collectives of recent years.

The Brockton up-and-coming rap scene has gained momentum recently. The city has produced several talented and promising artists making notable waves in the rap industry, ET leading the charge along with fellow Van Buren artist Luke Bar$, whose smooth flow and introspective lyrics have garnered a growing fan base. The Brockton rap scene also boasts a tight-knit community of artists and producers who collaborate and support each other’s work. With increasing venues and events catering to hip-hop fans, Brockton is quickly becoming a hub for the Massachusetts rap scene.

We got a chance to sit down in the studio with ET before the release of his new album to gain a new perspective on his work ethic, intentions towards the 8-song album, and overall energy he's bringing into this rebrand:


When did you start making music?

I started making music at thirteen years old in high school… It was just some music with my friends. We would honestly just be sharing music with each other; I never looked at it as us actually making music. It was a fun activity to do with my friends! We started to take it more seriously and then started dropping on SoundCloud.

Did you ever think you could just focus on music?

Yeah, definitely. When I got to college, I was like, ‘alright, I just want to do this,’ because, in high school, it was more of just playing around with it. I have always wanted to do it but never saw it as a possibility until I went to school. I was in the real world and on my own, so it was one of the first decisions I made as an adult.

Your sister was the one who introduced you to music, correct? Specifically, The Fugees? They influence so many other artists and have helped so many people diversify their music taste.

Yeah! She was listening to music while I was listening to the radio then. A lot of the records on the radio we’re like Lil Wayne and pop records like Lady Gaga. So she introduced me to “music- music.” She would always be listening to Pandora. The album that really resonated with me in middle school was The Score. The Fugees got me more interested in music discovery in general. What really made me want to even start making music though as a group was Outkast.

...And here you are today. Speaking of music groups, when exactly did you join Van Buren Records?

Around 2016, which was my freshman year of college. Being from Brockton, I had known the collective and they were especially making a wave in our hometown. When I linked up with them, we clicked instantly. I appreciated how everyone was their own individual artist and had their own individual sound, but at the same time, we can all bounce off each other on any track.

Speaking on the importance of Brockton to you and your story as an artist, do you plan to continue to bring more recognition to the Boston rap scene? Or are you looking elsewhere for that recognition?

As an artist, you gotta move. You have to get your name out there. But I love being from Boston, Brockton, and just Mass. I love the people there, and I want to be able to shine more light on the artists there because we are all coming up together, so it’s inevitable.

Switching gears and talking about you personally, has it been more challenging for you to make it under your own solo project? Or has V.B. helped you as a solo artist? Has being in a tight-knit collective like that been better for finding recognition in Boston?

Yeah, because we get the luxury of having ten other people at your disposal to help, whether creatively or collaboratively. A lot of artists don’t have that luxury. When you see 13 people moving in unison, it will turn heads. It’s going to be beneficial.


Since your last AFTR PRTY interview, there have definitely been some major changes in your life, most apparent is your recent name change from Saint Lyor to ET. Walk me through what made you decide to switch it up.

I wanted to be more personal with my music and my supporters. I’ve always been known as ET to the folks I’ve grown up with back home. I felt it was time to let everybody else know now.

Can we expect a new sound to his music following the name change?

That vulnerability to intertwine your personal life with your music is something that is not always easy for artists to do, especially in rap music today. Your music has a lot of emotion, especially in your lyrics. How did you find that comfortability in vulnerability?

I don’t know, but it’s something that I live with every day, so I guess it isn’t that hard for me. I am who I am; I’m not afraid to showcase that.

How do you find inspiration in your songs? What comes first, the lyrics and inspirations or the beat?

Life! Life, and the conversations you have with people, it’s all so important. It also depends on the song. All the beats I rap on are usually a collaborative effort. The producers will go back and forth, discussing ideas and what we want to do. Sometimes I'll sit on a song for a week, sometimes 2-3 months later while I tweak my verse.

You can tell that you really take your time and are particular with the music you release. That mindset is definitely clear on your most recent project, #ET. Standout tracks like "Gutta Gutta Gutta," "MIMS" and "Only Death" really speak to how much you have progressed over the years. On your new album, do you feel like your sound has progressed or are you trying to figure it out as you embark on this journey?

It’s definitely a little more genre-bending. More afro-beat and funk-inspired. It’s still the same energy, but more advanced and grown. Honestly, it’s always going to progress as I evolve. I don’t know where I’m gonna take it next but that’s what makes it fun.

Stream ET's latest album out now on all streaming platforms, and TAP IN to see what ET has in store as he embarks on this new journey:

Spotify: #ET

Twitter: @babacountry

Youtube: ET , Van Buren Records

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May 13, 2023

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 5️⃣0️⃣8️⃣

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