The rapper talks with Billboard about his new EP, receiving co-signs from Nas and 50 Cent, and upcoming music with Young Thug and Lil Durk.
Though A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie didn’t release a full-length album this year, he emerged as a formidable co-star for emerging acts, leaving his indelible prints on songs like Mooski’s “Track Star” (Remix), B Lovee’s “My Everything (Part II),” and NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard’s Culture Jam standout “Bestie” with Capella Grey. Though Boogie remained active on the features front, this month he’s pedaling back to the solo path with his new seven-track EP, B4 AVA.
“I think it’s gotten to a point where I’m having too much fun to pay any mind to that now,” says Boogie about his role as a young veteran in the rap game. “I’m just doing what needs to be done… You know how somebody got a plan of reaching a certain amount of money at the end of the year? That’s something you’re not supposed to do because it’s destiny. Whatever is supposed to happen is gonna happen. You gotta meet halfway, so I’m moving like that.”
Released on Friday (Dec. 10), Boogie’s sticky melodies and lovestruck ways make up B4 AVA, the appetizer before his next full-length album, scheduled to drop next year. While Boogie continues to work on new music for his follow-up effort, he’ll also be embarking on joining the NFT world — alongside renowned 3D artist Gal Yosef, who created Boogie’s B4 AVA album cover and the introduction video for his headlining performance at Summer Jam. Their NFT drop, an animation collection, will arrive between February and March next year.
“We’re doing something really big,” says Yosef. “This one is going to be number one. It’s going to be a collection NFT drop with a totally unique character that me and Boogie have been developing for a long time. It’s going to be a really, really big one.”
Ahead of his performance at Rolling Loud California, Billboard spoke to A Boogie about his new EP, turning 26, receiving co-signs from Nas and 50 Cent, upcoming music with Young Thug and Lil Durk, and finding the balance between his alter-egos.
With you turning 26 last week, what does that number mean to you?
Every year, it’s like we’re climbing up more and more. You have a different anticipation, and that anticipation turns into my highlights. Every time I drop an album, the anticipation grows even more. I’m not even talking about the quantity — I’m talking about the quality. I don’t even pay no mind to how many songs I can put on a tape. It’s all about what songs matches the [vibes] and what songs sound good together for a project in total. That’s where I’m at right now. I’m just trying to make sure everything sounds legit when I throw that s–t out. But you already know, you gotta dumb it down sometimes. So A Boogie is where I dumb it down when it comes to that, but Artist has everything covered.
Like you just said, quality is important and it shows on your new EP B4 AVA. What made you decide to give fans this project before the end of the year?
It was supposed to be six songs, really, but I threw “24 Hours” on there because I wanted people to be familiar with what was going on. At the same time, it was a matter of understanding the concept. So “24 Hours” is also [me playing as my alter-ego] Artist and the fans can see that at the end of the tape. It still follows into that direction.
Have you finally cracked the code in trying to balance your two alter-egos, which are Artist and A Boogie?
I still look for it every single day because you know, you never could finish learning new things. You only use about 5 percent of your brain, so it’s our job to capitalize on whatever we could and balance that at the same time. You pick one thing up, let the other thing down and maintain that by just having structure in everything. So that’s where we at.
After working with Nas on “YKTV” and having 50 Cent bring you out at Rolling Loud New York, how do you feel to have the official stamp from these New York legends?
That sh-t feels blessed man — because you already know, I wasn’t getting co-signs in the beginning. There were hard feelings about that in the beginning, but I always used to getting taught the tough ways of life. I take concern to that when it comes to my thoughts and emotions. Everything is all love but I understand now why everybody wasn’t cosigning me. I’m at point where I’m just moving along, not letting it change me and doing what’s best for me.
I just want everybody to know that I can do anything. Before I was just aiming at things one at a time when it comes to the genres, but now, it’s to a point where anything you throw me on, I’ma body that s–t. I’m bodying anything you throw at me. So nowadays I’m not missing no more. I was practicing before. I’m not missing no more. I’m not throwing out any bulls–t. I’m throwing back-to-back heat. I promise.
I remember you told me years back you were still looking for that Future collaboration. Are there any new features or collaborations fans can look forward to?
Yeah, that’s gonna come. Like I said, nowadays, I’m just letting everything come to me. At the same time, if I reach out, it’s still gonna happen. I’m still gonna reach out to everybody the same way, but I’m letting things happen the way it should. Right now, we got something with [Highbridge the Label] coming soon. Coi Leray, we got something coming with her soon. We got mad s–t with Durk. We got mad s–t with Thug. I got s–t coming around everywhere.
Me and Roddy [Ricch] gotta get it. I told him once he’s done [with his album], we gotta get to some s–t. Same thing I was telling PNB Rock. I told him that I need to get with him. I ain’t been with him in a minute. We got a little tradition when it comes to that.
Just any female I feel like I can connect to on that side of the world. I just try to go for whatever matches my style and everything. So right now that’s what I’m rocking with.
You’re also working on an NFT. Talk a little bit about that and your collaboration with 3D Artist Gal Yosef?
It started off when I was kind of in space where I was looking for a new look when it comes to art content. When I met Gal Yosef, we became best friends with that same mindset. It was an easy 1-2-3 where we connected the dots. Now we’re up to a point where we have a whole lot of designs, a whole lot of characters that we created and we’re just trying to show the love in the NFT world.
This is more for my happiness and fun. When people want to get to know me and they ask questions, this is what I want them to see and learn about me. I like to do sh-t like this in my room. Literally, I’ll sit in my room for 12 hours and draw up sketches. Me and Gal would talk for days about new ideas. This is what I really like to do, and this is what I want people to see what I mean by Artist and A Boogie.