preloader
REAL NAME,
No Gimmicks.
A BOOGIE WIT DA HOODIE
words by: Rose LILAH
Photos by: Matthew glickman

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie is an artist who is light on gimmicks. If you do a quick google search on the word “gimmick” you should find the following definition: “a trick or device intended to attract attention.” It’s an all-too familiar device in our current climate, and thus that definition alone should sound familiar, should ring bells -- a few rappers might even come to mind, depending how deep you are in these internet shits. The public’s attention, or perhaps, attention in general, is so often fleeting. It’s not something you can grasp in the literal sense, but equally if we take the non-literal approach to it -- there’s the existing idea of “15 minutes of fame” for a reason -- it’s hard enough to find attention, but what’s more, hold on to it. This is especially a conundrum in today’s digitally-driven and minute-attention-span age. Millennials are so often preoccupied -- their minds are engrossed with a million things at once, just as our phones will often keep apps running in the background if we don’t actively choose to close them, so to are the minds of the youth, probably even abuzz with the apps they use online.

The options we have when it comes to music are plentiful, to the point that it can be overwhelming to navigate. The music industry is an oversaturated place, new artists are attempting to squeeze through a sea of already existing musical bodies, trying to raise their hand, jump up and down, or whatever it is, to stand-out in these densely packed waters. Enter: a gimmick. In some cases, maybe the way to do this is to really just “jump” up and down on social media, “look at me!,” through various online provocation or antics. In other cases, maybe it’s developing a trademark “look” -- a hair colour, a polarizing fashion sense -- although, even these “gimmicks” are becoming more and more the norm, thus making it even more difficult for any would-be artist to truly stand out alongside so many fellow dreaded, colourful-haired rappers.

Where does this leave someone like the Highbridge-raised, ardently New York artist, A Boogie, real name, Artist Julius Dubose?

I first meet Artist at his mansion, which is tucked away in a heavily wooded township of New Jersey, an area that is defined by curved roads and far-away neighbours, offering large property and even larger homes. He doesn’t have a fresh fade. He complains about it half-heartedly, because we are planning to do a photoshoot the following day, and he’s thinking about whether or not he needs to wear a hat, a hood (he ends up doing both, and then, in a shocking twist, dares nothing at all). Even when he does have the freshest of fades, his hair is, for all intents and purposes, normal.

"I find that way of doing crazy shit on the internet and all that, I figure that to just be getting out of character for myself."

Consider this: A Boogie is 22 years old. Lil Xan is 21 years old. Lil Pump is 17 years old. Smokepurpp is 20 years old. Tekashi 6ix9ine is 22 years old. Despite all these artists’ closeness in age, there feels like a glaring disparity when it comes to a sense of maturity or groundedness. When it comes to a sense of respect, equally, for elders within rap and hip-hop’s storied past. This particular conversation -- the whole “Youth vs OG” -- has been had so often lately, I won’t tread over that territory again, however, there is something interesting to think about here. For whatever reason, it seems like we (the general we) do not group A Boogie in with these new cats -- the wave that’s currently upending the notion of what “hip-hop” should look or sound like (and that’s not to say that’s a bad thing, it just is what it is). Why is that? Is it because of the time in which A Boogie first popped off in the game, a nose hair before we were flooded with all your favorite lil’ MCs? Is it because of the music itself; the content and style are simply not as outlandish, not as far-reaching or genre-spanning, more “typical” to hip-hop’s upbringing and expected evolution? Is it because of who he is, his character, basically, the man himself?

If you ask A Boogie, it’s the latter. “I feel like that’s a ‘get it how you get it’ thing,” he says when asked about discrepancy between himself and similarly-aged peers like Lil Xan. He elaborates: “I was raised on just listening to 50 Cent, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, Nas, and all of them and I was really into it-- that’s cause of my parents, and a lot of people nowadays they just got a character that they wanna portray.”

“I find that way of doing crazy shit on the internet and all that, I figure that to just be getting out of character for myself,” the rapper tells me during our conversation at the Highbridge The Label mansion. We’re talking in a room that seems to be the most furnished and lived-in of the mansion. The room is carpeted, with many of A Boogie’s platinum plaques lining the floor, not yet adorning the walls, although where and when they will be plastered onto the wall is discussed multiple times while I’m visiting. There’s a sunken-in black couch and a large Mac on a computer desk with a set of exaggeratedly large speakers. Beyond the computer chair, there are a couple of black, collapsible chairs; everything is very basic.

The mansion doesn’t exactly feel home-y either: the kitchen is sparse, but there are several choice cereal boxes in the cupboards (Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Frosted Mini Wheats among others), there’s Redbull in the fridge. When we arrive, A Boogie and QP, the CEO of HBTL, are both genuine in their greeting, they’re hospitable and humble. QP take us on a tour of the main floor, which, past the kitchen, includes a large open space, otherwise known as a living room. No couch or proper ‘living’ items are to be found, instead, there is nothing but a piano (A Boogie doesn’t really play either, but he’ll push on a key or two, and he’s clearly excited about the piano’s existence and its beauty) and a fireplace (another centerpiece in the empty room that Boogie references rather excitedly). Further down the hall, there’s an office which feels as though it’s straight out of a Sherlock Holmes movie: it has antiquated-looking built-in wooden bookshelves but no books (a large, wooden desk, but there is absolutely nothing on it, I imagine the drawers are the same). The entryway to the home plays host to a large box of semi-rifled through mail and some other odd trinkets/trash.

“Some people got that walk, some people I dunno if you can call it, thinking he the shit, or he is the shit, whatever you wanna call it, some people just got that whole look in ‘em. And I don’t care about having that look. I just wanna connect with people,” Artist says. He’s wearing brand new designer gear to be sure, a designer I can’t readily name either, and he’s got ice around his neck, the type that looks as heavy as it is, or so I imagine -- a HBTL rectangular piece that is almost choker-length, but not quite, glittering at every angle. He reveals later he just purchased the maroon-and-white sweatsuit he’s wearing for a cool $3,000, but this is not in a flashy, “look what I bought” way, it’s actually more in a “gah damn why did I do that but I did it” way -- we’re talking about being wise with your money, and it is here where he admits that he is still somewhat foolish with his new-found bank account status, although he says he is trying to be better.

Trying. That’s not something that is generally perceived of as “cool” -- no one wants to look like they’re trying too hard at something. For A Boogie though, it’s a given with the territory he’s navigating. The idea that he’s regular, or normal, is also perhaps not one that his colleagues want to embrace-- perhaps they go out of their way to be the opposite-- in that sense, they are trying, too. It’s not everyone who shies away from the idea that being a regular ol’ person is such a bad thing. Cardi B, for all her obvious eccentricities, is a self-proclaimed “regular degular shmegular girl” from the Bronx. This is a term she wears as a badge of honour, and undoubtedly, it’s helped her connect with her fans. So why can’t A Boogie be a regular degular shemgular dude from the Bronx? Whether or not his major label likes it: “They didn’t really say I need a gimmick,” Boogie says of Atlantic, “It’s just I need something...You see how people got that gimmick shit, but my music kinda covers up for that, so all I need to do is show myself more -- like the ‘Gram, YouTube, blogs, just showing my character more.”

“I just don’t do things on camera, I was never really a camera guy. I’m surprised I’m this famous to be honest.” He sounds genuinely surprised when he says this too, his voice moving up an octave slightly, “‘Cause I always looked at myself as a behind the scenes [person], writing for somebody. I ain’t really think I had the image. I didn’t try nothing, I just came out. I didn’t try no stupid shit for an image, I just came out like myself,” A Boogie says. In the week or so following our conversation though, I see scattered attempts at “flexing on the Gram” - glimpses of glittering watches filled with jewels, money thrown recklessly for no apparent reason, brief looks at the HBTL mansion, that sort of thing. I know he’s trying, but I also wonder if this is really the “character” he needs to show fans more of, or is at the behest of his label?

Whatever the case, A Boogie had to work on becoming more of a "people person." He’s a man of sparse sentences during the majority of our interview. It’s actually a point of contention/congratulations amongst his fans, who will often point out the improvements in his skills as an interviewee (“they growing with me,” he says with a smile), but he’s still so soft-spoken that I worry whether or not the audio recorder is picking up his voice when we’re talking. “To be honest, it’s kind of hard for me still. I’m one of those people that I just like to be in my own world,” he says when I ask about his personal growth with the media.

This nature, of preferring to “be in my own world” seems similar to that of another widely-known media-shy personality: Young Thug. Perhaps this is why they’ve ended up meshing so well together. On top of which: “He’s not that quiet, but he’s not extra.” Not to mention: “I could tell he’s like me [when it comes to] women too.” Like what, I ask. “I can’t even explain. Women is a different thing when it comes to music...It’s always something going on with a man and any female in the world-- so, no matter who you are-- even you [points to random person in room] you got something going on with a girl right now, so if I make a song about what I’m going through, and you kinda relate, it’s a great vibe. So we [Young Thug and I] had a good thing going on with that.”

A Boogie has just flown in from Atlanta an hour prior to our conversation, after binging on studio sessions with the squeaky-voiced Thugger. He previews the music they have finished thus far for me, around five songs, which are all so melodic they’re swoon-worthy. All the beats were handled by Wheezy and London on da Track, and each is drenched deep in feelings about women and lady friends/problems. Over a particularly bubbly-pop-trap beat that would fit well in the Beautiful Thugger Girl soundscape, Boogie screech-croons, “You can’t be my wifey, you just like me / Sex me don’t caress me, I’m good I don’t wanna be your bestie.” On another song, backed by the strumming of a guitar, Young Thug’s vocals waver, “I told her I love her but it was a lie, you know what she did,” before the pair actually layer their vocals atop each other for the guitar-backed hook, “I don’t ever wanna be away from you, I don’t ever wanna say no to you, baby I just wanna be holding you, baby I just wanna be close to you.”

Although A Boogie likes to be in his own world, he knows just how big the outside world is. And he also knows what that means, or what it could mean, for his career. It’s been almost a year since he dropped his extremely well-received debut album, The Bigger Artist, a dope, cohesive body of work that is actually somewhat reminiscent of an era bygone when it comes to rap album releases: a 15 song-long curated tracklist, artwork that broached a wider theme within his career, the advance album roll-out, a lead single that preceded the album by several months; these aren’t tactics often employed anymore. For whatever reason (or perhaps for a specific reason: could these methods and approach to music overall not be influenced by his listening habits and parents’ oversight?), A Boogie’s debut album brought a mid-2000s rap release feel with it. The album ended up debuting at #4 on the Billboard 200 when it dropped, and has since been certified gold. The past year, A Boogie has stayed quiet on the project front-- however, he has been on a collaboration spree, offering fans a wide variety of featured tracks (Tory Lanez, Tee Grizzley, YFN Lucci, and Alkaline are among those that have been released), or else he’s featuring on songs himself, including the surprising Maroon 5 “Wait” remix, as well as another radio sensation, this time in the electronic sphere, with Marshmello’s “Friends” remix.

What does all this mean? It means A Boogie has a master plan. It wasn’t always that way, though.

A few days prior to the release of The Bigger Artist, entrepreneur and ever the advice/hustle-giver, Gary Vaynerchuk, or Gary Vee as he’s often referred to on the internet, had a conversation with A Boogie and his HBTL team members. It’s an important piece in the A Boogie timeline. “I took it as a wake-up call,” Boogie says of the meeting. “At that moment, we didn’t have no kinda deals coming in, and we was just lost.” Gary proves a great resource when it comes to A Boogie’s strategy and planning in the seven months that have followed his debut album.

We’re not talking about planning the next 24 months either, as Gary Vee says, rather, the next 24 years. He guides A Boogie to start thinking outside the box, guides him to think about how he can grow his brand not only organically. Again, there’s this idea of putting in the work and effort in order to gain something-- organic or viral fame is great and all, that is how A Boogie got his foot in the game, however, not all success will come naturally, naturally.

Gary brings up the online gaming platform, Twitch, and encourages Boogie to connect with the top players on the platform in order to help promote his music to a wider, and perhaps different audience -- and it’s here when a spark happens. When Gary mentions FIFA, Boogie quickly interjects -- “FIFA is a great one...Cause [NBA] 2k is more like me, FIFA is outside the box.” And, again, Gary brings up organic vs. non-organic growth: how much does A Boogie think about connecting with a person in Brazil, or a country-loving music fan?

We can trace back these bits of wisdom, the ones gleaned from Boogie’s meeting with Gary Vee, as the root of his hustle and plans these past seven months. Why else is he now connecting with artists from around the world for what he had dubbed an "international project" -- titled The International Artist-- set to release around the 2018 FIFA World Cup, no less?

World domination doesn’t stop at music collaborations either. “I really wanna change my whole family’s life, and music ain’t gunna do it, that’s changing my life,” he says in a fit of poignant observation. He adds later, “I’m tryna get [behind] something big. I wanna be behind something that nobody knows I’m behind... like a pencil that everybody buys, but nobody knows that it’s me.” He’s got 50 Cent businessman desires, but combined with the lowkey, rather unsuspecting nature of Jay-Z.

Prior to A Boogie’s debut album, you wouldn’t necessarily say that the NY rapper is out here collaborating left and right, in fact, he seemed to keep features at a minimum. However there is a strategic advantage in collaborating. Mixing it up with new fanbases-- whether it be the EDM realm of Marshmello, the radio-friendly vibes of a Maroon 5 collaboration, and the streets-approved Tee Grizzley, for example.

“At first, in the beginning, it was like, ‘aight, I’m nobody, I need a fanbase.’ I got my fanbase, I got y’all now, let’s go on to the next fanbase, I got y’all now, I got y’all, then I did my tour, I been in every state,” A Boogie explains, yet, he is not satisfied, there are fans that remain to be seized. “When I did my little tour in Europe, I kinda noticed they wasn’t familiar, but they was still fucking with me. But I want them to know me, so I gotta do features with artists from other countries.”

A Boogie, for his part, knows the fanbases he has on lock, one of them may or may not surprise you: “It’s mainly women and children,” he says of his fans. He explains why he thinks young kids latch on to his music so easily -- a fact that I’m somehow surprised by, yet not really. Have you heard “Right Moves”? Even Remy Ma’s new single, on which he’s featured, “Company” offers elementary school-like vibes, a song that children can connect with musically.

“[It’s] part of my beat selection too, people thinking I’m tripping when I drop these childish beats, but I’m really saying some shit on these beats. But at the same time, I’m making it so that the kids get attracted to it-- like I got a daughter, so I like it when she hear songs and start bopping her head and shit, so I figure out the vibe that does that to them.” He continues, “I want the kids to look at me -- like, right now, I’m that kid that was looking [up] at Jay-Z -- I want those kids to look at me like that.”

It’s in this one sentence where he shows his perspective, and how it differs from his same-aged rap peers.

CLOSE
preloader
REAL NAME,
No Gimmicks.
A BOOGIE WIT DA HOODIE
words by: Rose LILAH
Photos by: Matthew glickman

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie is an artist who is light on gimmicks. If you do a quick google search on the word “gimmick” you should find the following definition: “a trick or device intended to attract attention.” It’s an all-too familiar device in our current climate, and thus that definition alone should sound familiar, should ring bells -- a few rappers might even come to mind, depending how deep you are in these internet shits. The public’s attention, or perhaps, attention in general, is so often fleeting. It’s not something you can grasp in the literal sense, but equally if we take the non-literal approach to it -- there’s the existing idea of “15 minutes of fame” for a reason -- it’s hard enough to find attention, but what’s more, hold on to it. This is especially a conundrum in today’s digitally-driven and minute-attention-span age. Millennials are so often preoccupied -- their minds are engrossed with a million things at once, just as our phones will often keep apps running in the background if we don’t actively choose to close them, so to are the minds of the youth, probably even abuzz with the apps they use online.

The options we have when it comes to music are plentiful, to the point that it can be overwhelming to navigate. The music industry is an oversaturated place, new artists are attempting to squeeze through a sea of already existing musical bodies, trying to raise their hand, jump up and down, or whatever it is, to stand-out in these densely packed waters. Enter: a gimmick. In some cases, maybe the way to do this is to really just “jump” up and down on social media, “look at me!,” through various online provocation or antics. In other cases, maybe it’s developing a trademark “look” -- a hair colour, a polarizing fashion sense -- although, even these “gimmicks” are becoming more and more the norm, thus making it even more difficult for any would-be artist to truly stand out alongside so many fellow dreaded, colourful-haired rappers.

Where does this leave someone like the Highbridge-raised, ardently New York artist, A Boogie, real name, Artist Julius Dubose?

I first meet Artist at his mansion, which is tucked away in a heavily wooded township of New Jersey, an area that is defined by curved roads and far-away neighbours, offering large property and even larger homes. He doesn’t have a fresh fade. He complains about it half-heartedly, because we are planning to do a photoshoot the following day, and he’s thinking about whether or not he needs to wear a hat, a hood (he ends up doing both, and then, in a shocking twist, dares nothing at all). Even when he does have the freshest of fades, his hair is, for all intents and purposes, normal.

"I find that way of doing crazy shit on the internet and all that, I figure that to just be getting out of character for myself."

Consider this: A Boogie is 22 years old. Lil Xan is 21 years old. Lil Pump is 17 years old. Smokepurpp is 20 years old. Tekashi 6ix9ine is 22 years old. Despite all these artists’ closeness in age, there feels like a glaring disparity when it comes to a sense of maturity or groundedness. When it comes to a sense of respect, equally, for elders within rap and hip-hop’s storied past. This particular conversation -- the whole “Youth vs OG” -- has been had so often lately, I won’t tread over that territory again, however, there is something interesting to think about here. For whatever reason, it seems like we (the general we) do not group A Boogie in with these new cats -- the wave that’s currently upending the notion of what “hip-hop” should look or sound like (and that’s not to say that’s a bad thing, it just is what it is). Why is that? Is it because of the time in which A Boogie first popped off in the game, a nose hair before we were flooded with all your favorite lil’ MCs? Is it because of the music itself; the content and style are simply not as outlandish, not as far-reaching or genre-spanning, more “typical” to hip-hop’s upbringing and expected evolution? Is it because of who he is, his character, basically, the man himself?

If you ask A Boogie, it’s the latter. “I feel like that’s a ‘get it how you get it’ thing,” he says when asked about discrepancy between himself and similarly-aged peers like Lil Xan. He elaborates: “I was raised on just listening to 50 Cent, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, Nas, and all of them and I was really into it-- that’s cause of my parents, and a lot of people nowadays they just got a character that they wanna portray.”

“I find that way of doing crazy shit on the internet and all that, I figure that to just be getting out of character for myself,” the rapper tells me during our conversation at the Highbridge The Label mansion. We’re talking in a room that seems to be the most furnished and lived-in of the mansion. The room is carpeted, with many of A Boogie’s platinum plaques lining the floor, not yet adorning the walls, although where and when they will be plastered onto the wall is discussed multiple times while I’m visiting. There’s a sunken-in black couch and a large Mac on a computer desk with a set of exaggeratedly large speakers. Beyond the computer chair, there are a couple of black, collapsible chairs; everything is very basic.

The mansion doesn’t exactly feel home-y either: the kitchen is sparse, but there are several choice cereal boxes in the cupboards (Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Frosted Mini Wheats among others), there’s Redbull in the fridge. When we arrive, A Boogie and QP, the CEO of HBTL, are both genuine in their greeting, they’re hospitable and humble. QP take us on a tour of the main floor, which, past the kitchen, includes a large open space, otherwise known as a living room. No couch or proper ‘living’ items are to be found, instead, there is nothing but a piano (A Boogie doesn’t really play either, but he’ll push on a key or two, and he’s clearly excited about the piano’s existence and its beauty) and a fireplace (another centerpiece in the empty room that Boogie references rather excitedly). Further down the hall, there’s an office which feels as though it’s straight out of a Sherlock Holmes movie: it has antiquated-looking built-in wooden bookshelves but no books (a large, wooden desk, but there is absolutely nothing on it, I imagine the drawers are the same). The entryway to the home plays host to a large box of semi-rifled through mail and some other odd trinkets/trash.

“Some people got that walk, some people I dunno if you can call it, thinking he the shit, or he is the shit, whatever you wanna call it, some people just got that whole look in ‘em. And I don’t care about having that look. I just wanna connect with people,” Artist says. He’s wearing brand new designer gear to be sure, a designer I can’t readily name either, and he’s got ice around his neck, the type that looks as heavy as it is, or so I imagine -- a HBTL rectangular piece that is almost choker-length, but not quite, glittering at every angle. He reveals later he just purchased the maroon-and-white sweatsuit he’s wearing for a cool $3,000, but this is not in a flashy, “look what I bought” way, it’s actually more in a “gah damn why did I do that but I did it” way -- we’re talking about being wise with your money, and it is here where he admits that he is still somewhat foolish with his new-found bank account status, although he says he is trying to be better.

Trying. That’s not something that is generally perceived of as “cool” -- no one wants to look like they’re trying too hard at something. For A Boogie though, it’s a given with the territory he’s navigating. The idea that he’s regular, or normal, is also perhaps not one that his colleagues want to embrace-- perhaps they go out of their way to be the opposite-- in that sense, they are trying, too. It’s not everyone who shies away from the idea that being a regular ol’ person is such a bad thing. Cardi B, for all her obvious eccentricities, is a self-proclaimed “regular degular shmegular girl” from the Bronx. This is a term she wears as a badge of honour, and undoubtedly, it’s helped her connect with her fans. So why can’t A Boogie be a regular degular shemgular dude from the Bronx? Whether or not his major label likes it: “They didn’t really say I need a gimmick,” Boogie says of Atlantic, “It’s just I need something...You see how people got that gimmick shit, but my music kinda covers up for that, so all I need to do is show myself more -- like the ‘Gram, YouTube, blogs, just showing my character more.”

“I just don’t do things on camera, I was never really a camera guy. I’m surprised I’m this famous to be honest.” He sounds genuinely surprised when he says this too, his voice moving up an octave slightly, “‘Cause I always looked at myself as a behind the scenes [person], writing for somebody. I ain’t really think I had the image. I didn’t try nothing, I just came out. I didn’t try no stupid shit for an image, I just came out like myself,” A Boogie says. In the week or so following our conversation though, I see scattered attempts at “flexing on the Gram” - glimpses of glittering watches filled with jewels, money thrown recklessly for no apparent reason, brief looks at the HBTL mansion, that sort of thing. I know he’s trying, but I also wonder if this is really the “character” he needs to show fans more of, or is at the behest of his label?

Whatever the case, A Boogie had to work on becoming more of a "people person." He’s a man of sparse sentences during the majority of our interview. It’s actually a point of contention/congratulations amongst his fans, who will often point out the improvements in his skills as an interviewee (“they growing with me,” he says with a smile), but he’s still so soft-spoken that I worry whether or not the audio recorder is picking up his voice when we’re talking. “To be honest, it’s kind of hard for me still. I’m one of those people that I just like to be in my own world,” he says when I ask about his personal growth with the media.

This nature, of preferring to “be in my own world” seems similar to that of another widely-known media-shy personality: Young Thug. Perhaps this is why they’ve ended up meshing so well together. On top of which: “He’s not that quiet, but he’s not extra.” Not to mention: “I could tell he’s like me [when it comes to] women too.” Like what, I ask. “I can’t even explain. Women is a different thing when it comes to music...It’s always something going on with a man and any female in the world-- so, no matter who you are-- even you [points to random person in room] you got something going on with a girl right now, so if I make a song about what I’m going through, and you kinda relate, it’s a great vibe. So we [Young Thug and I] had a good thing going on with that.”

A Boogie has just flown in from Atlanta an hour prior to our conversation, after binging on studio sessions with the squeaky-voiced Thugger. He previews the music they have finished thus far for me, around five songs, which are all so melodic they’re swoon-worthy. All the beats were handled by Wheezy and London on da Track, and each is drenched deep in feelings about women and lady friends/problems. Over a particularly bubbly-pop-trap beat that would fit well in the Beautiful Thugger Girl soundscape, Boogie screech-croons, “You can’t be my wifey, you just like me / Sex me don’t caress me, I’m good I don’t wanna be your bestie.” On another song, backed by the strumming of a guitar, Young Thug’s vocals waver, “I told her I love her but it was a lie, you know what she did,” before the pair actually layer their vocals atop each other for the guitar-backed hook, “I don’t ever wanna be away from you, I don’t ever wanna say no to you, baby I just wanna be holding you, baby I just wanna be close to you.”

Although A Boogie likes to be in his own world, he knows just how big the outside world is. And he also knows what that means, or what it could mean, for his career. It’s been almost a year since he dropped his extremely well-received debut album, The Bigger Artist, a dope, cohesive body of work that is actually somewhat reminiscent of an era bygone when it comes to rap album releases: a 15 song-long curated tracklist, artwork that broached a wider theme within his career, the advance album roll-out, a lead single that preceded the album by several months; these aren’t tactics often employed anymore. For whatever reason (or perhaps for a specific reason: could these methods and approach to music overall not be influenced by his listening habits and parents’ oversight?), A Boogie’s debut album brought a mid-2000s rap release feel with it. The album ended up debuting at #4 on the Billboard 200 when it dropped, and has since been certified gold. The past year, A Boogie has stayed quiet on the project front-- however, he has been on a collaboration spree, offering fans a wide variety of featured tracks (Tory Lanez, Tee Grizzley, YFN Lucci, and Alkaline are among those that have been released), or else he’s featuring on songs himself, including the surprising Maroon 5 “Wait” remix, as well as another radio sensation, this time in the electronic sphere, with Marshmello’s “Friends” remix.

What does all this mean? It means A Boogie has a master plan. It wasn’t always that way, though.

A few days prior to the release of The Bigger Artist, entrepreneur and ever the advice/hustle-giver, Gary Vaynerchuk, or Gary Vee as he’s often referred to on the internet, had a conversation with A Boogie and his HBTL team members. It’s an important piece in the A Boogie timeline. “I took it as a wake-up call,” Boogie says of the meeting. “At that moment, we didn’t have no kinda deals coming in, and we was just lost.” Gary proves a great resource when it comes to A Boogie’s strategy and planning in the seven months that have followed his debut album.

We’re not talking about planning the next 24 months either, as Gary Vee says, rather, the next 24 years. He guides A Boogie to start thinking outside the box, guides him to think about how he can grow his brand not only organically. Again, there’s this idea of putting in the work and effort in order to gain something-- organic or viral fame is great and all, that is how A Boogie got his foot in the game, however, not all success will come naturally, naturally.

Gary brings up the online gaming platform, Twitch, and encourages Boogie to connect with the top players on the platform in order to help promote his music to a wider, and perhaps different audience -- and it’s here when a spark happens. When Gary mentions FIFA, Boogie quickly interjects -- “FIFA is a great one...Cause [NBA] 2k is more like me, FIFA is outside the box.” And, again, Gary brings up organic vs. non-organic growth: how much does A Boogie think about connecting with a person in Brazil, or a country-loving music fan?

We can trace back these bits of wisdom, the ones gleaned from Boogie’s meeting with Gary Vee, as the root of his hustle and plans these past seven months. Why else is he now connecting with artists from around the world for what he had dubbed an "international project" -- titled The International Artist-- set to release around the 2018 FIFA World Cup, no less?

World domination doesn’t stop at music collaborations either. “I really wanna change my whole family’s life, and music ain’t gunna do it, that’s changing my life,” he says in a fit of poignant observation. He adds later, “I’m tryna get [behind] something big. I wanna be behind something that nobody knows I’m behind... like a pencil that everybody buys, but nobody knows that it’s me.” He’s got 50 Cent businessman desires, but combined with the lowkey, rather unsuspecting nature of Jay-Z.

Prior to A Boogie’s debut album, you wouldn’t necessarily say that the NY rapper is out here collaborating left and right, in fact, he seemed to keep features at a minimum. However there is a strategic advantage in collaborating. Mixing it up with new fanbases-- whether it be the EDM realm of Marshmello, the radio-friendly vibes of a Maroon 5 collaboration, and the streets-approved Tee Grizzley, for example.

“At first, in the beginning, it was like, ‘aight, I’m nobody, I need a fanbase.’ I got my fanbase, I got y’all now, let’s go on to the next fanbase, I got y’all now, I got y’all, then I did my tour, I been in every state,” A Boogie explains, yet, he is not satisfied, there are fans that remain to be seized. “When I did my little tour in Europe, I kinda noticed they wasn’t familiar, but they was still fucking with me. But I want them to know me, so I gotta do features with artists from other countries.”

A Boogie, for his part, knows the fanbases he has on lock, one of them may or may not surprise you: “It’s mainly women and children,” he says of his fans. He explains why he thinks young kids latch on to his music so easily -- a fact that I’m somehow surprised by, yet not really. Have you heard “Right Moves”? Even Remy Ma’s new single, on which he’s featured, “Company” offers elementary school-like vibes, a song that children can connect with musically.

“[It’s] part of my beat selection too, people thinking I’m tripping when I drop these childish beats, but I’m really saying some shit on these beats. But at the same time, I’m making it so that the kids get attracted to it-- like I got a daughter, so I like it when she hear songs and start bopping her head and shit, so I figure out the vibe that does that to them.” He continues, “I want the kids to look at me -- like, right now, I’m that kid that was looking [up] at Jay-Z -- I want those kids to look at me like that.”

It’s in this one sentence where he shows his perspective, and how it differs from his same-aged rap peers.

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Sam Patel
top comment
Sam Patel
May 23, 2018

A boogie is dope

deeez nuuuts!
deeez nuuuts!
May 24, 2018

anyone else think he's just the male version of Dej Loaf???

Playboy X
Playboy X
May 23, 2018

The Bigger Artist was a dope debut; looking forward to the next one

Mopthefloor
Mopthefloor
May 23, 2018

Great job Rose, this kind of stuff is great for the site

Rose Lilah
ADMIN
Rose Lilah
May 24, 2018

hey thanks 😇

CalliouOffTheGlue
CalliouOffTheGlue
May 23, 2018

A Boogie just on his music shit, none of this constant social media thuggin bullshit most of these new guys on.

GET THE STRAP
GET THE STRAP
May 23, 2018

nice work on design,coverstory is one of the strongest and best things on this site shame you only did once in 100 years

UncleJoe
UncleJoe
May 23, 2018

"A Booger" ftfy

Made_to_Post
Made_to_Post
May 23, 2018

A Boogie's got some cool tracks, still in need of growth though to become more well rounded.

OffsetYRN
OffsetYRN
May 23, 2018

I am not going to change my opinion on him. Sorry not sorry, haha.

Spirit Sword
Spirit Sword
May 23, 2018

Rappers look stupid holding up W’s if u not from the Cali

Jonathan Delgado

lol he does that cuz he’s from highbridge west side of the bronx on w 161st. you would know that if u was a fan

CALAMITYBXNY

Fboy,

Spirit Sword
Spirit Sword
May 24, 2018

@Jonathan Delgado : Well its a damn good thing I’m not 😂 but thanks for keeping me in the know

Sam Patel
Sam Patel
May 23, 2018

A boogie is dope