Ladies and gentlemen, on #360View today, we are having the uber lyrical Boogey. Boogey is the voice of the new generational Hip Hop and if Hip Hop has ever been dead in Nigeria, Boogey is the man to resurrect it. He has defied all the odds by making deep, profound rap music that has left everyone awed. His 2013 single, Sanctum has gone on to be nominated for Best Hip Hop Video at the Nigerian Music Video Awards. Boogey was also nominated for Lyricist On The Roll at the 2013 Headies.
Hello Boogey. It’s an absolute pleasure having you on 360nobs
– What’s good. Pleasure’s all mine.
Can we start with a little bit of background for those who might not know who Boogey is. What part of the country are you from and where did you grow up?
– I’m from Ogoja, Cross River State. I was also born there, but raised in Lagos until i was 16 going on 17, then i spent the next six years in the Kingdom of Morocco.
Now, let’s forward a bit to your very first song ever recorded. When was that and what was the song about? Does the song still impress you now that you have matured or is it one of those mistakes you will rather hide? 😉
– My very first recorded song was titled “I’m Ready”. Truth be told, I wasn’t. lol It was in 2007, and it was produced by Komy (a member of a then popular Moroccan rap group, Brada). It was a time when i had just realised that i actually had something to offer. I was ready for the world (so I thought).
About a year before, I had started recording with my phone, with beats playing in the background, just to hear my vocals over instrumentals, and have an idea what I would sound like on an actual song. “I’m Ready” doesn’t impress me now, because i have evolved so much after so many years. But I would never see it as a mistake. That “mistake” pretty much started a journey which I’m still on. I’ll always be grateful for it.
What are the factors that encouraged you to be a rapper? Was there anyone who motivated you? Was there any rapper who you looked up to that kept you on track?
-Yes, there were a few rappers that made me want to take it seriously. Talib Kweli has always been my favourite teacher. Slick Rick made me wanna tell stories and paint pictures. Eminem made me want to improve my rhyme technique. Modenine made me want to flex my intellectual muscles. Later on, Cory Gunz forced me to improve my flow. There were so many rappers i looked up to, and they all had entirely different styles. I guess you can sometimes detect an influence or two when I rap.
Your music is as deep as it comes. Not only did you not decide to do a somewhat unpopular genre, but even on this unpopular genre of rap you decided to go with a not so conventional style. Did you not face pressure to do something more “commercial” and “acceptable”? And if yes, how did you keep your head up and not bow to the pressure all around?
I get this all the time. I’m facing pressure even now. It has escalated since my award nominations last year. I got two major nominations and I’m still relatively unknown. People say if I don’t “dumb it down”, all i will get is respect from the hip hop heads, with no income to show for it. One particular comment was, “Boogey, your rap is too conc”. That one had me laughing. Any unfamiliar thing would startle a shallow mind.
I think I am commercial, but not for everybody. There are times when I think I might be doing this all wrong and that maybe I could use this “formula” everyone talks about. But then I see a fan base growing. It might be gradual, but it is growing regardless. I’ve got people that don’t even listen to rap, quoting me. This is because it is much deeper than just the genre or style. I do what I do because I want people to enter my world. I like to share my perspective and the events of my life and how they affect me. There will always be people who have been affected in similar ways, so there will always be people who can relate, if they bother to listen. It is impossible to be accepted by everyone.
What’s your dream of the perfect Nigerian music industry? What will you like it to be like?
– I don’t think a “perfect” industry is possible, but I would like a better corporate structure. Every talented person putting in work, should eat. Producers (not just the 3 or 4 guys everyone knows) should get more recognition than they do. There is a new generation of stars and the media needs to help the transition. There are more stories about new cars and houses than about new talent. I would like for award shows to get their genres right, and I would LOVE the creation of award ceremonies, strictly for hip hop in Nigeria and maybe Africa. Rap music needs to be taken more seriously around here.
What’s the next project we should be expecting from you? And if it is not a full length album, when should we expect your début LP?
-I’ve got an EP coming in May, with the producer, Charlie X. It is titled T.I.N.A.A. (This Is Not An Acronym). There will be a few videos too. I might put out an LP at the end of the year. It depends on the reception I get. You might also hear me on some dope features this year.
So how did you hook up and get on AbOriginal? I am curious.
-It was unexpected, really. About a month after I released my Art-ificial Intelligence mixtape (2012), i got contacted by the A&R manager, Chijioke Stevens aka CJ. We arranged a meeting with the label bosses, and voila!
Who are your heroes in life? Be it music, social life, spiritual etc.
-Definitely my Mum and Dad. Being able to keep a family together this long, after so many trials. If that isn’t heroic sh**, then i don’t know what is.
Also on the other hand, who have you had particular issues with in the music industry.
– Apart from guys who like Eva? Nobody. LOL I joke I joke. No problems with anybody. I don’t want no trouble. I’m a nice guy. (..or am I??)
If you could go back and change anything in time, what will it be?
-I probably would pick Lagos for my NYSC. I moved back to Nigeria in 2010, and I served the same year, in Abuja. Great place but it limited my music hustle.
More personally, in 2008, two guys came at me with machetes. They were robbers. My first instinct was to fight back. As a result of a machete swing, my left hand is a little messed up, permanently. If I relived it, I would just be calm and surrender every item.
What’s the side of you that the public never sees?
-I’m a hopeless romantic. Ladies, take note. 😉
Back to your music, why do you suppose you have succeeded in a field where a lot of people haven’t met much success?
-Uhm..I haven’t succeeded yet but I will. I have faith. When I do, it will be because i am relentless. I receive a lot of discouraging advice but telling me i can’t have something, only makes me want it more. I also have never been about creating a false image for the cameras. What you hear and see is what it is.
Finally, are there any younger artists you know who you’re really impressed with and you will like your followers to watch out for?
-Yeah. Watch out for Eclipse and Barzini. Great talent. Both are also signed to AbOriginal. They’re coming for y’all.
Thank you, Boogey for this awesome interview. You really made this fun and gave us a lot of insight into your life. We at 360nobs are solidly behind you and are rooting for you G!
– Thanks man. Any time.