The night before we meet Boogie he’s performing the biggest show of his life, warming up a crowd of 83,000 on Eminem’s Rapture tour. The Detroit legend, notoriously critical of new-gen rappers, signed the 29-year-old to Shady Records in 2017 and that night, he pulls Boogie on stage for ‘Rainy Days’ (it’s Boogie’s newest single, and Eminem lends a typically Eminem verse to the otherwise radio-friendly song: “Like a shepherd havin’ sex with his sheep, fuck what you heard”).
Like Eminem, Boogie is pretty open about his early-career struggles. A lot of his 2019 debut album Everything’s For Sale revolves around gang-banging, raising his son, and generally being broke as shit. He arrives to set early, and despite a big night out involving a secret after-party and a 4AM scuffle with some true blue douchebags, Boogie’s in a good mood. He’s funny and friendly, sometimes walking around singing to himself while his DJ Dezzie Gee cracks jokes. When his road manager Dart heads to the cafe next door for coffee and a vegan breakfast, Boogie and I sit down to talk about growing up in South Central, getting shot in the baby toe and embracing his lisp.
How you feeling man?
Good bro, what’s good!
Congrats on the album. I love how genuine it is, you’re very open about your flaws and your insecurities. What did you want to say with this record?
Thank you man, it means a lot. It’s a comment on where where I feel like rap is at right now. It takes so much to get poppin’ these days, it’s not just about rapping at this point. You’ve gotta sell all your morals, the values you believe in to make it—the title is a testament to that. Obviously on this record I didn’t sell my integrity. I kept all of my integrity. But where music is at right now, overall, it’s all for sale.
I’ve seen you retweeting a bunch of people who are spelling your lyrics out with your lisp included.
Uh huh! That shit is hilarious, one of them says “Thilent ride home.” That shit is funny.
I heard you didn’t even know you had a lisp for a long time.
Yeah I really don’t be hearing it. I guess I noticed it when I realised that I can’t really rap super fast, because I’ve got a lisp. It doesn’t stand out to me otherwise.
‘Soho’ is one of my favourite tracks on the record, you’ve got a great feature on there from JID. How did you first link up?
100% that’s my boy. JID’s been my boy for a couple of years, we had a mutual friend when we was both super super coming up. We’ve been homies ever since then. Doing the track was some real dreamlike shit.
The video is crazy too, how was it working with all those prosthetics?
Yeah that shit is fire! But I don’t like wearing it at all, I had a panic attack while we were filming that actually. I had all this special effects shit on my face and I started sweating, panicking, and everything fell off.
Did you get to keep the Boogie puppet from that clip?
Damn, nah! I don’t know where that puppets at [Aside to his team] Ay, anybody know where that puppet is at? [Team shrugs]. Damn, I don’t know where that shit is at. I wouldn’t keep it at home though, that thing is creepy as hell. Creepy.
How involved do you get with your own art direction and music videos?
Nah I just be blessed to have good people around me. I really just trust Gina and Riley who are the two people that direct the majority of my videos. I really just be trying to make music, the visual stuff is not really my cup of tea but I’m just blessed.
Do you have a favourite video clip of all time?
By me or somebody else?
Of mine, it’s probably going to be ‘Nigga Needs’ but of somebody else’s.. I like Joyner Lucas’ ‘I’m Not Racist’. That’s a really good video.
Who’s on your rotation at the moment, who are you listening to?
Right now I’m listening to my girl Summer Walker a lot. Jorja, too. Who else just dropped… Oh, Kehlani! Kehlani just dropped so I’ve only had a chance to listen a couple of times so far.
Summer Walker is incredible. You’re really on your RnB shit then.
[Laughs] Yeah, I really be listening to RnB a lot I ain’t gonna lie, I was trying to think of a rap album that dropped lately but I couldn’t think of one. I listen to a lot of LA Ratchet music too!
Any unexpected faves?
Oh man, someone played me that Tracy Chapman song the other day—what’s her most famous song?
Yeah! That shit go so hard.
What kind of dude were you in school?
Earlier on, in Elementary school, I was kind of a nerd. Then as I got a little older, probably around 7th Grade, it just went the other way. I fell into Compton’s streets and tried to start being the toughest guy out, which wasn’t smart.
Do you think taking your music seriously helped you grow out of that?
Shit man, I probably haven’t even really grown out of that, honestly. That shit is imbedded in me now, that’s probably why I was fighting at that club last night when I shouldn’t have been! I’m supposed to be past that shit but I don’t know sometimes.
What’s the biggest misconception about Compton?
I don’t know man, ‘cause it really is gangbangin’ all day. I wouldn’t say it’s like niggas on the corner just standing outside and tripping on everybody, but you still can’t go nowhere in Compton. Tourists shouldn’t go, it’s definitely not a place to go and sightsee! If anyone has that perception where they might think you can go to Compton just to look around and sight see, they definitely shouldn’t.
The Eminem stadium tour you’re on right now is huge. What’s it like touring with such a massive artist—who happens to be your label boss too.
Man, it’s cool. I’m super grateful and I appreciate him for giving me this space and this platform to do my thing. That’s really just it, last night I played the biggest show I’ve ever done in my life, there was like 80,000 people there. It’s next level. I got to be a part of it man it’s lit. They came to see me! [Laughs]
Do you and him get much time to kick it?
Yeah I be talking to him. We don’t be like hanging at the house all day playing 2K or anything, but when we get the time we definitely get to talk. I ain’t no snitch over here though so no crazy stories from me.
Speaking of crazy stories, I heard that you got shot in the little toe?
I did get shot in my baby toe. Yep. [Laughs] It was just some girls fighting, shit popped off I just happened to be there at the wrong place, wrong time. I had started running and I got hit in the toe, fell down, all of that shit.
I also heard that you want to go Vegan.
I do, but I be capping hard! [Laughs] I definitely want to stop eating beef and pork, in all honesty, but bacon is tough for me. I love bacon. But I do know that if I went vegan that would open me up to a whole new fanbase and audience too you feel me? Blow up off that, that’s a cool 100K followers right there.
What’s the one Vegan meal you would survive off?
Impossible Burger bro, that shit is hard. It’s the fake meat shit, that’s like the only vegan thing I can really rock with to be honest with you.
Best of luck with letting go of Bacon. Thanks for coming through man, we’ll see you next time you’re out here!
It’s lit man, thank you man! Appreciate you!
Everythings for Sale is out now – Stream it here
Photography: Sarah Pannell