The Come Up: Boogie Continues Climbing to the Top the Honest Way
Just a decade ago, the state of West Coast rap was in a state of flux, with a mere sprinkle of rappers from the region making moves that would garner respect and maintain success. In 2016, California appears to be fertile soil for top-tier talent once again, and Compton native and Long Beach rep Boogie is surely one of its finest prospects.
After finding his way while navigating the mean streets of southern Cali as a youth, life's harsh realities would eventually lead Boogie to make the transition from the block to the classroom, where he would pursue a career in audio engineering while simultaneously making his own foray into rap. First creating chatter with his 2014 song, "Bitter Raps," Boogie would capitalize on that buzz and release his debut project, Thirst 48, in the summer of 2014.
While Thirst 48 would establish Boogie as one to watch, garnering a profile in XXL's The Break column, it would be his 2015 single, "Oh My," that would raise his stock exponentially, ultimately garnering a bidding war, before the rapper decided to ink a deal with Interscope Records in the summer of that year. Now, with a major label machine behind him, Boogie looks to take the next step in his career. The 25-year-old refuses to rest on his laurels, keeping his nose to the grindstone and a humble disposition as if he feels he still has more to prove. Although some fans have compared his musical stylings to that of Chance The Rapper and fellow Compton native Kendrick Lamar, compliments Boogie accepts graciously, he is his own man, with his own unique story and sound that puts him in a class of his own.
After holding us over with his 2015 mixtape, The Reach, Boogie's long-awaited follow-up project, Thirst 48, Pt. II has once again put the rapper in the spotlight with tracks like "Nigga Needs," along with its equally compelling video.
XXL speaks to Boogie about the rhyme and reason for his latest project, love triangles, honesty and why 2017 is looking to be a monstrous year for him.
You signed a record deal with Interscope last summer. How did that whole deal come together?
I had been talking to Interscope for about a year, they had called me. This dude named Tim Glover [A&R at Interscope], my homie, he had called me when I dropped Thirst 48 Pt. 1 I had this song called "Bitter Raps" and he fucked with it. All the labels after that, I think they came after I did "Oh My," so I just kinda trusted Interscope more with my sound because they were there before I dropped that super big viral song, so I just wanted to go with them.
What's the adjustment to being an artist on a major label been like?
I think it's just a patience thing. I thought I had great patience already with my kid, but it still gets testy with a label. I'm just used to having more control and you just gotta be more of an open person when you sign to a label because other people got ideas and you can't be stubborn. But at the same time, you gotta stand your ground and make sure everything you drop, you believe in it and you're proud of it and ain't nobody forcing stuff on you, but at the same time, you still gotta trust the people around you. But yeah, that's the biggest adjustment.
Having the backing of a label comes with its share of perks on the musical side, how would you say you've been taking advantage of that?
I guess it's a machine behind you, for sure, it definitely helps, but I think people get it twisted, like when you get signed it just gets easy. It just gets harder for me, honestly. I haven't seen the easy perks of it. I don't even know it that's true. I think it's just a mutual agreement on both sides. As hard as you work, the label will work that hard for you, but it still falls on me at the end of the day.
You just dropped Thirst 48, Pt. II earlier this month. How has the reception been thus far?
I think it's dope. I think everybody that hear it fuck with it. I think at this stage in my career it's all about building my fan base organically and, of course, I want it to be way more popping than where I am, 'cause I'm that hard on myself, but my main thing is getting it out, staying consistent and keep coming with great music.
Every artist wants the fans to hear every word they deliver, but if you could handpick a few records you're especially excited for fans to hear, which ones are they?
The ones that mean the most to me probably are "Prideful," "Fall Before the Climb," Sunroof." Those are probably some of the most important ones to me.
When we spoke to you the last time, you mentioned having fallen for one of your close female friends. Would that be the lady featured on the cover of Thirst 48, Pt. II, by any chance?
Yup, that's her.
Was she your muse, of sorts, during the making of this project?
Yeah, for sure, she's definitely an inspiration for all the relationship-type tracks, which tap into other people feelings and all my relationship feelings come from her, unfortunately, 'cause I been dealing with her so much. That's crazy, she just called herself my muse the other day, she don't like that shit [laughs].
Speaking of the title, Thirst 48, Pt. II, what was the rhyme and reason for revisiting the first installment and turning it into a series, or was that the plan all along?
I was ready to move on to the next chapter of my career, but I wanted to make sure I didn't leave that story unfinished. I touched on it on Thirst 48, Pt. 1, but it was so much that came after this tape that I felt I just owed it to my fans to give 'em the sequel and actually show them I actually tried out this relationship with my best friend.
On the song, "Still Thirsty," you say, "No several seats for Sharese and she say she can't stand me/That's too bad, you know we never had that family in real life," and then you say, "And most the time I don't be in the mood/It's different women that I'm hitting too/As soon as I finish, hit Jamesha like I'm missing you/Damn, see I'm a different dude." Who are those two women, for those who may be unfamiliar?
So Jamesha is the girl on the cover, that's who all the records is about, first off. I just brought her up 'cause the whole tape is about her. Sharese is a girl I started fucking with when I was getting into it with Jamesha, when we had some off time. It was some girl I had started fucking with and I think that girl thought more of what we really were 'cause I always ended up going back to Jamesha. So that was the inspiration for that.
Another line that stuck out was when you said, "I ain't scared of shit but my baby mama/No I ain't a punk I just hate the drama" on "No Way." What was the inspiration behind that line?
Just being honest, I'm so attached to my kid, he's the most consistent thing in my life. So I'm just scared of my baby mother taking her anger out on me over anything and putting my kid in the middle of it. Even though she don't do that, I'm not saying she do that, but it's just a fear for me. So I'm always trying to be on her good side cause I love my kid so much.
You worked with a lot of unsung talent on Thirst 48, Pt. II, but one track that stands out in particular is "Fuck 'Em All," which features Mozzy and DJ Quik. Was DJ Quik a staple of your childhood as far as rappers your mother would play or you came up on during your childhood?
Yeah, it was definitely big for me. Quik always been a legend to me, so it was definitely a big accomplishment in my career. Like something to check off the bucket list, got Quik on the verse.
How did that whole collaboration come together?
Me and Quik, we been knowing each other for a minute now. This like our second or third time being in the studio together so it was just hitting him on the text and telling him to come through. Mozzy, we had mutual friends that put us in a session. He came over to my house in Burbank and we recorded. He did his verse, I didn't do my verse that day 'cause it was on a different beat that I didn't even like that much, so I just took Mozzy verse from the other track and put it on this beat 'cause I had to keep him on the project.
What do you hope the listeners take away from Thirst 48, Pt. II, after giving it a spin?
I just hope people realize it's cool being honest. I think it's so many fake images being portrayed, people forget that you can be human and we're not perfect. You can be vulnerable, you can learn from your mistakes and stuff like that so just trying to take away the super cool factor that ever rapper's tryna have, to be honest.
Thirst 48, Pt. II is pretty much hot off the press, but are there any plans for your debut album, and if so, when can the people expect that?
Actually, the day we dropped the project [Thirst 48, Pt. II], I was in Interscope studio and I'm here right now, we're already starting on it. Trying to get this done fast, but still be way better than the next project, so I don't got a time yet, but it's gonna come way faster than the last project came. I'm definitely tryna have my album out next year for sure.
What producers have you been in the studio with as of late?
It's still Keyel & Dart is my in-house dudes, so I been with them like every day so besides that, Swizz Beatz finna come here. I been with my guy Bizness Boi, he do a lot of party stuff. Willie B., he fuck with TDE, that's my guy. J.LBS, who did "Fuck Em All." My homie C. Ballin, a lot of the homies. We gonna figure it out though. Oh, and I'm going in with Cardo. That's my guy.
Do you have any particular songs or surprise guest features you have tucked away that you look forward to the public hearing?
Nah, we don't. Right now, I gave the people what I got and right now we're just gonna come anew. I had like 60 songs I recorded this year though and I wish I would've put some out, but I guess we're just gonna come anew.
Who would you say are three artists and producers that you're looking to work with in the near future that you haven't?
Lauryn Hill, Jay Z and Kendrick 'cause we ain't got one in. Producer-wise, I don't know. I really can't think of no producers I care to work with that I haven't worked with. I just like my homies, I just like Keyel & Dart. Oh, [Dr.] Dre. I guess Dre for the culture. But yeah, I don't know. Nobody else really.
2017 is right around the corner. What would you say your top three goals are heading into the year?
Actually put my album out next year. That'll be a goal, getting it done and putting it out. Next year, after the album drops, I wanna do my first own tour instead of opening up for people. One more: get a car. Yeah, my homie said I need to get a car, yeah that's my goal [laughs].
So we can't expect to see you in a Benz anytime soon? You're not going with the BMX or nothing like that [laughs]?
That's not my vibe right now, nah [laughs]. I'm still trying to make it happen out here, not live above my means.
What would you say the odds are far as you crossing them off?
100 percent. If you put in the work, it's gonna happen.
You're a Clippers fan, right?
Yeah, I'm a Clippers fan.
What's your prognosis of what this NBA season is gonna look like for y'all?
Man, I'm hoping we ball out. I was hoping we did more changes in the off-season, but I don't know. It's the Warriors' season to me, in my eyes. I feel like the Warriors gonna kill everybody off.
How do you feel the Conference Finals will shape out?
I think the Western Conference Finals, it'll probably be Clippers vs. Warriors. In the Eastern Conference, it'll be Cavs... Bulls. I think I'ma go Cavs vs. Bulls.
The presidential race and the whole Donald Trump thing has been dominating the headlines and hip-hop has had a lot to say, especially your Cali brethren YG and Nipsey Hussle. What are your feelings on the political climate and hip-hop's role in it all?
I think it's dope that people are actually taking a stance. I'm hoping that everybody who do take a stand is actually conscious so we don't all look ignorant out here saying, "Fuck Donald Trump" and make sure we really know why we're saying, "Fuck Donald Trump." And if that's the case, I'm super with it. Definitely I don't fuck with nothing he talking 'bout, so I gotta go with Hillary [Clinton] just by default, but I think it's dope people are speaking up in hip-hop.
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