A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie Blends Bravado With Vulnerability on ‘The Bigger Artist’ Album
Becoming an overnight success in entertainment is the exception rather than the rule, however, rules are made to be broken and challenged, which explains A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie's instant success and widespread popularity. Many rap artists have come out the gate with a buzzworthy song, but few have garnered cosigns from rap's biggest superstars off the strength of a debut mixtape, a feat A Boogie accomplished when Drake brought The Bronx native out onstage at Madison Square Garden during his Summer 16 tour last year.
The appearance came on the heels of the release of the Highbridge rep's Artist mixtape, which contained tracks like the gold-certified hit "My Shit," a song that would help solidify his record deal with Atlantic Records in July 2016. Despite words of praise from his predecessors and peers alike, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie has chosen to stand on his own two as he embarks on the mission of making himself a household name. His debut album, The Bigger Artist, serves as the first step towards that goal.
On "No Promises," the introductory salvo on The Bigger Artist, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie basks in the glory of his meteoric rise in the rap game, bragging, "I made a milli' in less than a year and I blew that on stupid shit." He also atones for past misdeeds and the hearts he's broken. However, the fame and fanfare that came as a byproduct of his success isn't enough to bury the pain of incidents such as the death of 20-year-old University of Louisville student Savannah Walker, who was shot and killed at a concert A Boogie was scheduled to perform at in March 2017 ("Savannah just wanted to see me perform and got hit over stupid shit").
Producers !llmind and Murda Beatz cook up a trunk-rattling soundscape in "Undefeated," a cocksure selection that A Boogie Wit Da Boogie uses to claim his stake as one of rap's hottest new hit-makers. "Can I get some company?/I'm like, Damn I'm really undefeated," he boasts. Costar 21 Savage anchors the track with a boisterous stanza of his own, with standout couplets like, "Bitch I got more bodies than a general in Vietnam/Fuck yo nigga, he a bum, strippers picking up the crumbs/Hundreds in my pocket, you would think that I had beef with ones." His lyrics are indicative of his understated wit and lyrical guile.
"Nothing these niggas could do to us/Who the fuck can they compare to us?" the 2017 XXL Freshman ponders on The Bigger Artist standout "No Comparison," a brooding composition which pits A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie against solemn keys and percussion courtesy of Metro Boomin. Running roughshod over the beat, A Boogie asserts himself from start to finish on one of the more brash offerings on the LP. "I put this beat on my body list/Metro a beast, yeah he bodied it/They tried to give me a stylist, I told ’em I'm good, yo, you wylin'/I got sick of wearing Versace," the rhymer barks.
A Boogie's ability for delivering quote-worthy bars are displayed throughout The Bigger Artist, but his bread and butter is when he finds himself chronicling relationships past and present, as he does on the Scott Storch-produced "Unhappy." "She used to say, 'What's up, daddy?'/Now she walk past me with a mug, she keep calling me a dub/Plus she won't stop throwing subs at me," he raps. A Boogie reminisces on a disgruntled lover in addition to reconciling fatherhood and humble beginnings with his newfound fame with the lines, "I be stuffing hundreds in Melody piggy bank/I'm that nigga, yeah, I wish a nigga would these days/I got rich but I still go back to the hood these days."
This trend continues on subsequent cuts like "Let's Start Over" and "Get to You," although they lack the infectious bop of "Unhappy," particularly the latter, which is built around a backdrop that borders on lackluster, making for one of the less impressive offerings on The Bigger Artist.
A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie may be the headliner of his Highbridge the Label roster, but fellow Bronx native Don Q is also highly touted in his own right after scene-stealing appearances on collaborations like "Bando" and "Bag On Me" and a myriad of murderous freestyles. Popping up the DJ Mustard-produced banger "Somebody," which has all the makings of a party-starter that should find its way to radio airwaves sooner than later, and "Money Sprung," Don Q's grisly rhymes serve as the perfect complement to A Boogie's high-pitched yelps and is yet another display of the dynamic Highbridge duo's effortless chemistry.
The Bigger Artist is full of vibrant, upbeat selections, but one of the album's more potent cuts is "If I Gotta Go," a track that finds A Boogie staring in the face of death while addressing the snakes of the grass. Produced by JAMZ, "If I Gotta Go" finds A Boogie professing his determination to avoid the pitfalls that fame and jealousy can bring to be there for his daughter, Melody Valentine. "I went to war with niggas, but we used to be friends though/You was my nigga, I wish the best for you even though you want me dead though/Melody need me, she gotta see me on TV, no nigga I can't go," he delivers, vowing vengeance on anyone that threatens his well-being.
Additional highlights from The Bigger Artist includes a pair of pair of collaborations with some of R&B's biggest names, as Chris Brown makes a cameo on the raunchy "F*****g & Kissing," while Trey Songz and Robin Thicke ride shotgun on the breezy Tracksterz & Myster Whyte-produced "Bad Girl." The latter, littered with crisp instrumentation, finds A Boogie getting sensuous amid ad-libs from Songz and Thicke, with the final result being one of the more refined inclusions on the rapper's debut. Closing the proceedings with the PnB Rock and YoungBoy Never Broke Again-assisted "Beast Mode," A Boogie bookends The Bigger Artist with a fiery pairing of three of rap's current leaders of the new school, ending the album in grand fashion.
The Bronx may not have the most consistent track record in comparison to its neighboring boroughs when it comes to producing star rap talent, but A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie is a good a candidate to assist in making that drought a distant memory with the arrival of The Bigger Artist. Having already proven his knack for making an impact on the charts through singles like "Drowning," which also appears on the album, A Boogie puts forth a collection of songs that display an underlying depth and plays to his strengths; he offers arrogant raps are complemented by wistful musings sprinkled with a touch of tough talk to complete his recipe for success.
However, that same recipe is one that holds the potential of The Bigger Artist hostage, as it's subject matter can border on redundant and glosses over the details of A Boogie's life before stardom—memorable anecdotes could've given his debut more character. Those gripes aside, The Bigger Artist captures A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie's infectious blend of vulnerability and bravado, successfully branding him as one of his New York's most promising exports and a force to be reckoned with.
Here Are the Best Projects Released From 104 Past and Present XXL Freshmen