Highbridge The Label
Highbridge The Label

Whoever continues to say that “New York rap is dead” clearly hasn’t been paying attention to A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. The young Bronx native has been steadily gaining momentum as he rolls into rap’s forefront by mixing Big Apple vigor with boastful melody. His string of hits like “My Shit" and "Bag on Me" all made waves online but his come up was hardly an overnight success.

At the top of the year, A Boogie dropped his Artist mixtape, but those select individual tracks made more noise than the project as a whole. The rapper added much filler on the tape, which didn’t play well for the 13-song project. However, A Boogie has learned from his debut tape's shortcomings and trims the fat on his new EP, TBA.

TBA is much better calculated than his prior release with only six tracks. For an artist at A Boogie’s newcomer level, making a shorter project is by far his best move to maintain focus from his audience and not spread himself too thin. The rhymer does that well here, pouring all of that young Bronx bomber energy into 20 minutes.

“Ransom” is similar to his prior hits in the sense that AutoTune is used to the point where the beat and his voice become a singular sound, but “Macaroni” is where he really shines. A Boogie leaps all over Slade Da Monsta’s dreamy beat with such gritty gracefulness it becomes hypnotic after the first listen. Although A Boogie's general vibe on this song and beyond is wide-eyed and enthusiastic, there are some hard knock stories woven throughout. “My nigga don't tell me what to do/Mel went to school for shooting hoops and then he learned to shoot/Had to lock myself inside the booth, that's how I kept my cool/Saw my nigga Quado on the news, that's why I kept my tool,” he rhymes, providing a look behind the smiley, “happy to be here” curtain that A Boogie puts up 99 percent of the time.

“Timeless” isn’t his best vocal performance as he pulls back on the trap&B melodies and goes a little more avant-garde with his delivery but A Boogie's second verse still finds him rattling off some solid bars like his Michael Jackson punchline: “What u sayin'? You ain't really on shit/Got zippers on my jeans like I'm Billy on this.” The mismatched production selection reinforces the importance of locking in a specific sound – especially at this early stage in his career. "Baecation” will arguably be A Boogie’s next banger purely based off the fact that the piano-laced, midtempo D Stacks beat allows the rapper to flex as he pleases. For A Boogie, a more structured beat allows him to perform at his best.

A Boogie can't be knocked for dabbling with different flows but songs like “Wrong Nigga” don’t necessarily play to his strengths. While some hip-hop heads may not see him as the New York poster boy for hard-hitting, gritty lyrics he’s gifted with delivering both rhymes and rhythms, which is obviously a hot commodity in today’s game so sticking to his bread and butter works in his favor. TBA shouldn’t be considered a whimsical experiment, but pressing play on this EP guarantees you’ll hear A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie navigate musical maturity right in front of your ears.

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