August 11, 1973.
Bronx, New York.
1520 Sedgwick Ave.
A Dj Kool Herc Party.
HIP-HOP WAS BORN.
The early pioneers of Hip-Hop spent two decades crafting and developing a sound and art form that would become synonymous with every borough in New York. As Hip-Hop evolved through the eighties and into the nineties, the hard hitting boom bap, samples, and lyrical content shook the airwaves.
The growth of Hip-Hop led other regions of the country to enter the landscape. The emergence of the West Coast, Midwest, and the South forced The Mecca to take a backseat the upbeat, 808 based sound.
44 years later, a new class of artists are here to help the birthplace of Hip-Hop reclaim it’s title.
At the front of this class is Bronx native A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. A Boogie had one of the best debut years a new artist could ask for. He opened up for Drake and Future in Madison Square Garden, made the Forbes list of up-and-coming rappers, and his first single “My Shit” is certified Platinum. Boogie’s early success culminated, as he was named to XXL Freshman Class and scored a major label record deal with Atlantic Records.
A Boogie mixes the lyrical themes of New York with the melody driven sound of today to deliver his debut album, The Bigger Artist.
Because his music is melody driven, it can be easy to put him in the same class as the new “mumble rappers”. But don’t get it twisted. Boogie can spit. And he proves it right off the bat. Inspired by the death of a fan at his show, the album’s opening track “No Promises” finds an apologetic Boogie not able to commit to a relationship to his fast paced lifestyle. His feelings towards women and past relationships are present throughout the album’s entirety, a theme we don’t usually don’t see this early in a rapper’s’ career.
On “No Comparison”, “Money Sprung”, and “No Promises” Boogie effortlessly switches from a monotone rap flow to singing anthemic melodies. Add in Boogie’s bravado and it’s a recipe for a hit. Such is this the case with “Say A’”, the album’s third single. On this record, Boogie catches these melodic grooves and pockets, and utilizes them to get in his bag and talk his shit. An example of this can be found towards the end of the second verse where he brags about the amount of money unclaimed in his email.
“Febreeze, believe me, it’ll cover the weed smell,
I probably got 3 mill, sittin’ in my email,
So much on me, they second guessing what we sell.”
A Boogie’s dealings with women make up a sizable chunk of the album. On “Unhappy’ he has an ex-girlfriend throwing shots at him. Then there’s “Lets Start Over” when he smashes an ex, probably the same one, but warns her not to catch feelings. Lastly “Get To You” where he pleads he’ll do HENNYthing to get back to said ex. Guys everywhere can relate to having these conversations and feelings for women, and it’s refreshing to hear them addressed. Another standout on these records is the interpolations of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex Factor”, Usher’s “You Make Me Wanna” and Maroon 5’s “This Love”.
My favorite of these women centered records is the Chris Brown assisted “Fucking & Kissing”. A Boogie uses the Young Troy produced track to get back with an ex for one last time. Chris Brown bodied his performance on this feature. He always delivers a strong vocal performance, and this one was no different.
Easily my favorite part of The Bigger Artist is the instrumentation. From Metro’s trap flute and lush strings to Jahaan’s hypnotizing piano on “Drowning”, the album’s producers delivered a more than sonically pleasing album. DJ Mustard, Nav, Ness, and a slew of other producers tastefully carry the piano theme throughout the album without making redundant.
A Boogie’s versatility and style shines with the album’s guest features. 21 Savage, Trey Songz, Kodak Black, and PNB Rock all hold there own and deliver solid verses. None compare the Highbridge team of A Boogie and Don Q however. The chemistry between the two is incomparable as they connect on “Somebody” and “Money Sprung”.
2017 has seen a number of solid debut albums. The trend continues with A Boogie’s The Bigger Artist. A well blended mix melody and rap, Boogie proves he has the tools and substance to remain a force in Hip-Hop for years to come.