You only get one opportunity to make your first full-length album, and Vancouver singer/rapper Corben Bowen—aka Boslen—has certainly made the most of his. With his inaugural long-player, DUSK to DAWN, Boslen drew inspiration from the all-time greats: Kanye, Cudi, Travis Scott, The Weeknd—i.e., master conceptualists who turn albums into events. “It’s a story of an individual that faces his own self-hate, or his own shadow,” Boslen tells Apple Music. “We pulled a lot of inspiration from Carl Jung’s shadow theory, which says that everybody has a shadow that they’re scared to face—they’re scared to face their vulnerabilities and biggest weaknesses. So, DUSK to DAWN builds on that theory and dives into who Corben really is, and how you can turn your vulnerability into empowerment.”
In showing us who he really is, Boslen reveals the full breadth of his musical vision, as he bounds between streetwise trap bangers, wounded R&B balladry, pop-punky melodies, Afrobeats-inspired bops, vocalized guitar solos, and even a boom-bapped tribute to Vancouver-rap pioneers Rascalz (via a prominent sample of their 1997 jam “Blind Wid da Science”). But these disparate elements are strategically stitched together through textured, ambient interludes and a cinematic sense of drama and grandeur. “It feels like gladiator music,” Boslen says, proudly—and with this track-by-track guide, he invites you to get in the ring.
“DUSK” “On ‘DUSK,’ I’m admitting, ‘If it’s time for me to say I lost it/Just know I tried/I’ll keep that to my casket.’ Those are the very first words on the album. So, basically, what I’m saying is, ‘OK, if we’re about to really do this, just know I gave it my all.’ If you love it or if you hate it, this is it, no matter what. It’s kind of like shooting myself before it begins, in a way!”
“VULTURES” “The reason why I wanted to put ‘VULTURES’ second is it taps into the elephant in the room, which is the bloodsuckers in the music industry. I have artists reaching out to me every day for advice, and they’re getting contacted by these bloodsuckers. When you’re so new in the industry, and you don’t have a manager or any guidance, it’s going to be very easy for you to get lost in it, or you could fuck up your entire career by signing one messed-up contract. So, I wanted to throw that to the universe right off the bat, and get that out of the way before we dive into who Corben is.”
“FORSAKEN” (feat. Vory) “More than anything, the theme of this project is escapism. This song cuts like a dagger into that feeling of seeing the gravesite from the start—you know what’s about to happen, but you don’t really want to face it yet. And when that distortion hits at the end, that’s when all the emotions let loose. That’s my voice making the guitar sound. Kanye used to do that, so we tried it out.”
“HAVE YOU” “I grew up with three sisters and a mother that were very strong individuals in my life, and they shaped the man I am today. So, with this song, I really wanted to give back to them. It’s not so specifically for all females in general; it kind of stays in the pocket of this album by being about one specific female. But that female doesn’t have a name—she’s kind of like a figurative being that I just pull inspiration from.”
“DENY” (feat. Tyla Yaweh) “My sisters loved Marianas Trench, Sum 41, blink-182—they were obsessed with that type of music. And I had never tried that vibe ever before. The project was finished with 11 songs; everything was done. But at one of our last sessions, my executive producer, Oz [aka Ozcan Sayin, better known as justsayin], played a sample of that guitar from [producer] Stoopid Lou and it didn’t hit me. This song builds off the idea of escapism again, and the idea of denying something that you once thought was good for you. But it doesn’t have to specifically be for a relationship—it can be for drugs; it can be for friendships.”
“TRIP” “Everything on this project is pretty heavy, and I just wanted something that you can play in the car and roll with it. It’s literally telling you ‘don't trip’—don’t worry about the small things. But right when I started getting into the second verse of the song, that’s when we started having the idea of making the story twist.”
“NIGHTFALL” (feat. Dro Kenji) “When I was creating ‘Nightfall,’ I just wanted a high energy—just a joyride of craziness. But near the end, I’m tapping into the theme of loyalty again.”
“QUARTZ” (feat. Charmaine) “‘QUARTZ,’ to me, is like a Tasmanian devil, you know? It’s about bravado, sex, drugs, and just being a ruthless young man and letting your full inner ignorance come out, because that’s the purest form of confidence in a man. 2Pac was really able to do that, and I think A$AP Rocky does that a lot, too. But I always wanted a female artist on this project, and I was thinking of a Savannah Ré or a Jessie Reyez—I wanted a singer. But when we were creating the song, justsayin was like, ‘What if Charmaine hopped on this?’ When we got it back, we immediately thought of [Nicki Minaj on Kanye West’s] ‘Monster.’”
“NOTE TO THE CITY (INTERLUDE)” (feat. Rascalz) “Trying my best to just give back to Vancouver and shine some light on the city, because I feel like there’s so many kids just like me, and so much culture here. When we made the song, I was originally writing it about a female—I was thinking of a woman in the city just living on her own, maybe like a prostitute who has the hardest of hard lives. But justsayin and I were brainstorming, and he was like, ‘What if you made that about Vancouver?’ So, I looked up ‘Vancouver hip-hop’ on YouTube and Rascalz popped up, and I was like, ‘Who the hell are these guys?’ And then I just kept diving deeper and deeper and became obsessed with their story. I felt like they were the true trailblazers of Vancouver, so I wanted to pay tribute.”
“MY WAYS” “This is just about being OK with being stuck in your own madness...but on, like, a light side.”
“ASHES” “This is one of my favorites. It’s just got so much grunge and grime. When I was making it, I thought of, like, headlining Rolling Loud. This song is just like a ‘fuck you,’ just a slap in the fucking face to all the naysayers.”
“DAWN” “‘DAWN’ is one of the most important songs that I’ve made in my entire life. There are so many genres we tap into on this project, but the pure feeling I want people to feel is in this song. When I made this project, I was coming out of a relationship of five years and it ended really bad. I never had my closure, so I made this song probably three months after that. We knew we wanted it to be the outro. The number one thing we really wanted was to end this album on a high—like, if you watch a movie that ends on a cliffhanger, you’re itching to see what’s next.”


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