Westside Boogie chops it up with us for an exclusive interview about the long-awaited new album (it's around the corner), the Smino collab album, why signing to Eminem was the right choice and more.
On Tuesday, November 30, Atlanta hosted the return of Red Bull's SoundClash concert series. It's a unique live experience, where two artists are pitted against each other in an effort to win the affection of the crowd while performing records that may or may not be outside their comfort zone. In the case of the ATL stop, Westside Boogie and Shelley not only performed a selection of their own hits, they were also challenged with performing (disparate) covers of OutKast's classic "Roses," and pushed into unfamiliar territory by performing renditions of their own cuts, basked in an entirely new genre. As you can imagine, this type of back-and-forth between the artists makes for quite an exhilarating and interactive live experience.
Ahead of the show, we spoke to Westside Boogie in his green room at the Eastern. The rapper was rocking a pair of bright yellow sweat pant (which still had the store's anti-theft tag on it, much to Boogie's dismay), and his own black hoodie, a recently-released merch drop that reads 'WESTSIDE WORLD WIDE' in a bright, slightly cartoonish gothic font. He was relaxed and ready for the show-- a statement could also seemingly be applied to his long-awaited sophomore album.
Westside Boogie released his debut album, and his inaugural Shady Records release, Everythings For Sale, back in 2019. Since that time, he hasn't dropped another full-length, although he's delivered scattered loosies and guest appearances; it still feels like forever in internet time-- and his fans clearly agree, often littering his comment section with some version of "where's the album." It's become a running joke for Boogie and his fanbase at this point, while Boogie admits he's "trolling," because the album is finally done. It's just a matter of paperwork.
Later that night, following our interview, Boogie reveals as much to the excited Atlanta crowd, slotting his new album into a "first quarter 2022" release.
This one hits close to home, as fans of HNHH, in particular, may recall our early days in support of Westside Boogie-- then going by Boogie, and also, not yet signed to any sort of major label, simply a Compton rapper who was attempting to leverage the internet for his budding rap career. Back in 2014, right after "Bitter Raps" hit the e-streets, we tapped in with him to formally introduce him to the site in one of his first interviews. From there, we continued to support Boogie as we premiered his three successive mixtapes, from his breakout Thirst 48 to Thirst 48 Pt II. And so, to see his career blossom as it has, resulting in a Shady Records deal, an organic, friendly, and constantly-growing fan-base, and a ton of genuine excitement for a sophomore album, with plenty of other prospects on the table-- it's amazing.
Check out our interview with Westside Boogie below. Stay tuned for more information on the new album.
HNHH: I haven’t seen you in forever and so much has happened with your career -- but it's been exciting to see where your career has progressed, just as a fan and watching you move from where you were to Shady Records. So, I just want to know, how has life changed since we first connected?
Westside Boogie: A complete 180 mentally from where I was, at that point is just like, life, I guess that's everybody's life experience over time, you just grow and change. I've learned so much about myself, about the industry, so at this point, I'm just trying to still be great. Keep learning every day. I don't look at anything as like the beginning or ending of my career. It's just all like, part of the story so I just wanna keep going.
But like you're in a comfortable place as far as like, you know, raising your son and like you kind of made it as like...
I'm glad that's [the] perception, but I'm far from comfortable. Yeah, actually, I don't even like-- this has nothing to do anything-- but like, I put in my 30-day notice for my last apartment like 30 days ago. I never found an apartment yet. So when I go back to LA, I don't know where I'm going. So that’s just to let you know I'm like, not comfortable in my life. And I feel like all over the place. Career-wise, I have grown an amazing fan base, organically, which I'm super grateful for and proud of that. I have like, gotten to the rhythm of being a dad now. My kid is 12, so I guess I kind of figured that out. But teenagers it's like you starting all over again. I don't know nothing about this life right now. So yeah, I think life is like that. It's never really like, well, I just don't, I don't like being comfortable anyways.
Westside Boogie performing at Red Bull Sound Clash on November 30, 2021 - Red Bull Content Pool
So I do want to talk just about signing to Shady. For me, when I found out that news, I was super happy for you, but also a little bit surprised, I guess. I was like, oh, Shady?! I guess it wasn't like, when I first connected with you, I wasn't like oh, Boogie's gonna end up at Shady. Was that a surprise to you?
It is, because as much as I know I'm a lyrics-based rapper, I just never, like tapped into that world, as much as other rappers think I do. Like, it's a lot of underground hip hop I don't even know about, people would probably cancel me if they knew some of the songs I don't know. And I don't even listen to a lot of it. I listen to R&B most of the time, so it was kind of shocking, because like, in my brain, I'm a singer low-key [Laughs]. But to everybody else, I'm a rapper. So you know, it was surprising, but I know how good I am at rapping so I get it.
So do you know what Eminem heard...
I think it was Paul Rosenberg who heard it first. He just played stuff for Eminem, and what was dope about first meeting Eminem is he didn't know like, I mean, he knew ‘em, but he wasn't talking to me about my bigger songs, he was talking to me about the album cuts and the ins and outs of flows that I didn't think he would know. And that's what made me trust him because I knew he coming to me because he really f*ck with my music.
"What was dope about first meeting Eminem is he didn't know like, I mean, he knew ‘em, but he wasn't talking to me about my bigger songs, he was talking to me about the album cuts and the ins and outs of flows that I didn't think he would know. And that's what made me trust him."
So it was like stuff off of like Thirst 48.
That's really cool. Okay, so obviously, fans have been hounding you for a new album, since Everythings For Sale. Has it been a strategic decision to wait this long? Or has it been like stuff happening behind the scenes and you're like, getting your songs together, like you're just been working on it for this long?
No, this whole process has been Boogie versus Boogie. I think Everythings For Sale was so good, I just want to make sure...Yeah, I'm a perfectionist. I know everybody like, over-uses that word, but I really am a perfectionist. And I won't put it out unless I believe in it all the way, now I'm finally at a space to where I'm really focused on figuring out paperwork and stuff out now, so now I'm just trolling people at this point. But yeah album done, I'm ready to drop this one and drop another one. I'm just grateful that my fans still waited this long, cause I'd be pissed.
"I'm finally at a space to where I'm really focused on figuring out paperwork and stuff out now, so now I'm just trolling people at this point. But yeah album done, I'm ready to drop this one and drop another one. I'm just grateful that my fans still waited this long, cause I'd be pissed."
I mean, Everythings For Sale is really like... I feel like that's an album that grows on you, which is the kind of album that you want. I didn't listen to it in one week, and then like, listen to something else. I literally like ...it just grew on me, the more I listened to it, the more I liked it, and the more I listened to it. I like those kinds of albums where it's like, that's timeless in a way.
I'm super proud of that. Every time I think about that album rollout and just everything we did, I just get super proud. And with this time, it's just about making it bigger and better, but still having that same effect on people, so it's about testing myself, trying new stuff. You can't be afraid, you gotta be fearless, so that's just where I'm at right now.
Okay, so then quick question, because I don't remember when you posted it but you said you were about to play your album for “some guy” in Detroit. So did that guy like it?
Yeah I went...when was that, about six months ago?
Yeah, it was a while ago, that's why I was like wow.
I played him the album, now he said yeah, you're good to go, I got back home, and started to tweak so much stuff, so now we here, six months later.
Okay, so one of the clips that you've been teasing, I guess on your Instagram more recently is “Non-chalant.” So is that on the album? And also-- because like there were two different versions-- I like the sped-up chipmunk [version].
A lotta people been hating, saying they like the other one better. Well, that's the original one-- the sped-up one. It is an album track. I wasn't posting nothing about this song or do anything. Mostly of the stuff I'm posting, well everything I post on Instagram is just about loosies, or like something I wrote that day. I want to still give my fans something while they're waiting for the album, but one day I was like, man, I gotta hit, I'm about to post “Nonchalant.” So I posted it.
That's what I like about the way that you handle your social media but like Instagram is like, you will post those clips on a note, like just off your phone, which is kind of like more... I feel like a lot of rappers, once they're signed to a major label, they're not necessarily doing those things where it feels really organic. It feels like oh, that's still Boogie.
I'll take pride in being like a people's person and being like the rapper that my fans could talk to and relate to.
Yeah, that's dope. And you do seem like that, I saw the post where you met up with the fan who was in a wheelchair.
That was more for me. I needed that and I didn't even know I needed that.
Couple more song questions. Okay, so there was something about a Smino collab, and Eminem teased a GRIP collab-- what’s up with these?
Oh yeah, GRIP is coming here today [Red Bull SoundClash]. Me and Smino have been talking about this project for probably a year. It's just timing and getting into a studio. We got some records together. Smino's on my album, I probably shouldn't say that, but that's my boy.
"Me and Smino have been talking about this project for probably a year. It's just timing and getting into a studio. We got some records together. Smino's on my album, I probably shouldn't say that, but that's my boy."
He’s dope. You guys definitely would be-- like a collab album-- I could see that vibe like you fit perfectly.
Yeah I just like him as a person, that'd be amazing. For me, I'm a fan of people's music but a collab project, you gotta be able to be cool with somebody, have cohesive...
Just natural friendship almost. And then GRIP, you said he was coming here today, so I guess you guys are friends in real life?
Oh yes I seen he signed to Shady and I reached out. Well, he might have reached out first on Instagram. But then I told him, hit me when he was in LA, I just want to make sure we connect, ‘cause Shady Records you know what I'm saying, we've got TDE and Dreamvilles running around like they the biggest gangs in America.
It's funny because like I've seen, I don't know if it was on YouTube or just like on the internet in general, but I've seen a lot of comments that compare you to Kendrick and Cole, in a sense, and what do you think about that? Or they say that you're at that level? Do you want that amount of fame and notoriety?
Yeah. I been like what's taking y'all so long. But also, I'm cool when they put me in a box with them like, okay, the three, my three favorite rappers, but it's when they start comparing me to Kendrick. That's the one, like that's my favorite rapper too, but it's also, I'm competitive. So it's like I think it'd be... sometimes I know the story is similar, we both from Compton, both rap good, but it's like oh it's like the same thing and it's just like lazy listeners...
Yeah, yeah, I think maybe yeah, like on a surface level because of the lyrical content but like, yeah, the sound-wise. I don't really...Yeah. Okay, so just talking about the Red Bull SoundClash for a minute. Were you a fan of, I guess it's kind of like a battle, I mean, it's not like you're battle rapping. But were you a fan of battle rap growing up?
Oh yeah, heavy in my culture, so heavy for me. Smack DVDs, early Smack. All of that.
Was that something you also tried to do at all?
Oh yeah I did, in high school, I battled at parks, I battled everywhere in LA.
Okay, so I'm curious, do you have a strategy for tonight because Shelley is like, I'm curious what he's gonna do. He dropped a freestyle rap video just in promotion of this so like, what is he gonna?
He has a cheat code because he's way better at singing than me and he can catch any key. Even if he messed up, he could just sing like a random run and you would never know he messed up. So he does have that. But like I told him, he doesn't rap as good as me. I believe I have the energy over him.
Westside Boogie performing at Red Bull Sound Clash on November 30, 2021 - Red Bull Content Pool
That's what I'm wondering, because R&B is one energy...
But, but, he has hits. He has hits, he has “Broccoli.” Shit, I believe seven times platinum songs. That's my brother though so it's all in good spirit.
Yeah, for sure. Okay cool, I wanted to ask about LVRN. So I'm just curious because they're Atlanta-based, right, but you're mostly in Compton, why was that the right decision? I mean, did you think about?
Life happens so crazy at the same time...I'm not sure if you knew my previous manager, Clayton.
Yeah for sure.
So me and him just kinda hit a ceiling, we was going to split ways. That's still my brother, but we just decided there was only so much we could do for each other at this point. So me, having like, going through that with him and still not understanding my place in the Interscope roster at the time, it was kind of shaky, but I just kept believing and kept working. And then I got the call about Eminem. Then like a week later, my manager called me about LVRN. I mean, not my manager, it was my A&R calling me about LVRN, and then me and Clayton already knew we going our separate ways, so that conversation was easy. I met LVRN at dinner, it was five black dudes who I could see myself in, who I thought were doing amazing things. They got artists I love like Summer, and D.R.A.M who I was a fan of before, and I met a couple times, and then 6lack.