New York City has always excelled at creating figures in music who can grow to be future standouts in music, and this week's 'Up Next' feature is no exception. Bronx native A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie is on the come up and has begun to make a name for himself as an artist to look out for. With the vibrant support of his city serving as the base of his growth, everyday sees A Boogie continue to rise in the rap scene.
Just this weekend, the rapper opened two of Drake's Madison Square Garden "Summer Sixteen" shows. The endorsement means a lot coming from Drake, rap's biggest figure today, and the historic nature of the Garden adds to the importance. In the sold-out venue, 20-year-old A Boogie performed tracks like the popular "My Shit" and "Friend Zone," the latter of which had a corresponding video released four days ago.
Drake's cosign wasn't A Boogie's first cosign from other established music figures. DJ Khaled and Meek Mill have both acknowledged A Boogie in the past, and this past Sunday saw A Boogie perform in Connecticut alongside popular rapper Lil Uzi Vert.
"Friend Zone," like "My Shit," are songs off A Boogie's "Artist: The Mixtape." Released on Valentine's Day this year, the rapper's thirteen-track debut mixtape has racked up millions of plays on SoundCloud and a radio presence on New York's Hot 97 station.
“This is all I’ve ever wanted,” A Boogie told Pigeons and Planes in July. “What I got going on right now, it can’t get any better than this. Only I can be the judge of that—I can make it better or I can make it worse.”
On the tape, A Boogie shows how his sonic mix of progressive R&B and trap can turn into an easy listen with mood and energy changes by the song. Some tracks take on a more trap-heavy tempo, like the mixtape intro "I Know Whats Real." Others, like "Jungle," feature more singing and melody focus from A Boogie. The way he adjusts his styles on "Artist: The Mixtape" proved his impressive harnessing of a valuable skill in music today: variety. Those skills are helpful in getting to his end goal.
“I want to be the next legend," the artist said in a June interview with XXL Magazine. "It’s different; we’re doing it by ourselves. It’s just us right here, us four. We started this from the ground up. ... We invested everything we had. Nobody knew. We lost everything after a while. But luckily we came up on the grind so it evened out. Now we get to do shows. Shit is working out right now.”
The 'group' A Boogie mentioned references his involvement in "Highbridge the Label," a collective, named after his neighborhood in the Bronx, started with several friends. In May, the group released mixtape "The Takeover: Vol 1," which features tracks from A Boogie and fellow artist Don Q.
In short, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie stays busy and no stop is near. According to Pigeons and Planes, the artist has an album scheduled for later this year, so expect to hear a lot more from him in the future.