A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie: From The Bronx To No. 1

Words: Ayana Rashed

Images: Miguel Crespo

Forward: Jon Powell

RESPECT. Founder: Jonathan Rheingold

Story and photos COPYRIGHT MUSINART LLC 2019

The world of music is changing. Not only are we witnessing paramount shifts in Hip-Hop culture before our very eyes, but also rapidly new ways in which Hip-Hop is sold to the masses. Streaming is now king, and Rap’s current frontrunners have shown us the way to adapt and evolve. Artist Dubose — better known by many as A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie — is one of those artists leading the way; his second studio release, Hoodie SZN, landed at the top of the Billboard charts almost single-handedly via digital streaming platforms (tracks like “Look Back At It” and “Swervin” are two very dope reasons for this). Add in fellow Bronx emcee Don Q, you can see why Highbridge The Label is making so much noise right now.

Recently, RESPECT.’s Ayana Rashed had a chance to speak to A Boogie about the new album’s success, along with his inspirations, touring, being a father and more; you can check that out below. This man represents the future of Hip-Hop, and you can certainly expect him to keep innovating the culture in the years to come.

RESPECT.: How long did it take for you to come up with your stage name?

It came naturally, I started off wearing a lot of hoodies and everybody just started calling me A Boogie because of how I was like the character named “Boogie” in the film Paid in Full that we used to watch all the time, Boogie was a rapper. So I was A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, it stuck.

RESPECT.: Growing up in Highbridge, Bronx, who were a few of your music inspirations?

Most of my inspiration comes from Jay-Z, he’s not from the Bronx but yeah, Jay-Z. Not only him, but he’s really who got me started. It’s Jay-Z, Max B., [and] Lauryn Hill, also.

RESPECT.: You’re young, rich and famous. Did you expect your life to turn out this way?

I didn’t expect my life to be this way. I didn’t really expect none of this. I always thought 2 million and 3 million dollars was a lot of money. Now I look at it like it’s nothing.

RESPECT.: Hoodie SZN went #1 on the billboard charts and it sold 823 visual copies, but had 83 million streams. What is the importance of streaming services in your opinion?

In my type of world, I don’t know about anybody else but I believe streaming is taking over, period.

RESPECT.: This was your first U.S. number one album. How did that feel?

It [feels] like the goal is accomplished. I worked hard on that right there and I was hoping that it would go number one and it did.

RESPECT.: Who was your favorite artist to work with on Hoodie SZN?

I feel like Young Thug, because me and Thug have a lot of different songs…that’s why I like his stuff because it all gives different vibes for the clubs to go crazy. But everybody together on the album was equal to me because I had the same type of vibe working with everybody.

RESPECT.: So you worked with a slew of producers for the album, from Skip On Da Beat to London On The Track. Did you want to develop a new sound with this album?

Yeah I was going for a developed sound really, a more mature A Boogie, like a more grown up A Boogie.

RESPECT.: Given your versatility with the rhymes and the melodies, do you consider yourself a rapper or an entertainer?

I consider myself an artist.

RESPECT.: So you’re going on the A Boogie vs. Artist tour. Which cities are you most excited to touchdown at?

New York and Toronto — those have become my two favorite cities.

RESPECT.: Was there any artist that you’ve met for the first time that you were in awe over or admired?

I feel like Jay-Z was the only person that had me like that; when I met Hov, I was kind of starstruck.

RESPECT.: Did he give you any words of advice when you guys met?

It wasn’t any advice, it was just like cool vibes and regular chill talk.

RESPECT.: How has fatherhood changed you?

It has changed me in a mindset way, it made my mindset expand. I’m on some grown man s*** now.

RESPECT.: Which song of yours is your daughters favorite? Does she have one she dances to?

I think her favorite one is “Uptown / Bustdown.”

RESPECT.: Are we going to get a Don Q and A Boogie collaboration tape soon?

We getting the Highbridge Label tape coming soon, a lot of the artists are on there, and me and Don Q have a lot of songs together too.

RESPECT.: What was the first rap song you knew word-for-word as a kid, if you can remember?

I feel like it was Nas’ “I Can.”

RESPECT.: Could you see yourself getting into another business — such as acting — in the near future?

Yeah, I’m trying to be a big entrepreneur, that’s the goal right there.

RESPECT.: You also went to your first Paris Fashion Week show this year, how was that?

That was amazing, it was a different like environment that I always wanted to be around. I love being somewhere like Paris where fashion is so big.

RESPECT.: Would you ever consider hitting the runway?

Hell yeah, I got some big plans in the future.

RESPECT.: Do you have a top 3 for your favorite kicks?

Puma OS X, Christian Dior’s and Christian Louboutin.

RESPECT.: Who are your favorite NYC artists right now or of all-time?

Right now it’s a new artist called Saint Jhn, I’ve been listening to him lately.

RESPECT.: Have you reached the level of success that you’ve always dreamed?

Not yet. I feel like I can’t get too comfortable in this position. This is like go time. I can’t be chilling.