An exclusive interview with Nigerian Hip Hop artist Boogey
Boogey is one of the best artists to come out of Africa, The ever consistent artist is currently working on his first solo LP “Nouveau Niveau”, which he plans to release at the end of the year. Boogey has already released his first single off his upcoming project dubbed “Liquor Nights”, a song which he says is based on true life experiences during his stay in Marrakech, Morocco.
Boogey took some time off his busy schedule to have an interview with |Afroway. He gives a detailed view of his personality, regimented writing process, how he mastered his unique rhyme structure which is full of introspection…
“I never wrote a song or a verse that wasn’t how I felt at the moment” – Boogey
Afroway: What’s up Boogey?
Boogey:Hey what up?
Afroway: Who is Boogey… and why the name Boogey?
Boogey:Boogey’s a personality that was required for shy little David to break out of his hiding place and be fully expressive with his thoughts and feelings. It’s short for The Boogeyman (the popular horror myth). I actually started with “Boogeyman” as my rap name but something about it seemed hard to market. It didn’t exactly roll off the tongue. After a few years, I decided to cut it short. I chose it because of the boogeyman’s element of surprise. You never know how or when he comes out from under the bed or a wardrobe or sneaks up behind you when you look in the mirror. Coming out of the dark and revealing your true form is the very practical epitome of honest self-expression.
Afroway: Tell us a little about your childhood, where are you from? And growing up…
Boogey: I was born in Ogoja, Crossriver state, Nigeria. Dad was a young officer in the Nigerian Navy and mom was a young nurse. I was the first child, and a girl and two other dudes came along after me. The girl died of an illness at a young age and so I grew up with two brothers. I grew up in Lagos and we moved a few times because of the nature of my father’s job. My folks were overprotective from the start and so it made me a really shy and reserved kid, not used to a lot of interaction apart from school, and even that was minimal.
Afroway: With all this when do you take up the David Iye Odey personality?
Boogey: I like to think of it as a tag-team. Boogey has always been here. Rap music became a means of making my mind public and turning emotion into message. Boogey’s a conduit. I’m always David and always will be, but now I’ve got help.
Afroway: What inspires the stories you tell in your music?
Boogey: Everything. I don’t have a filter for what’s incoming. I free my mind and soak in all it can, good and bad, light and dark. The entire world is one big globe of synaptic information and I keep all five senses always ready for whatever they get. I’m a very emotional person and I use it as an advantage. I never wrote a song or a verse that wasn’t how I felt at the moment. I remember a lot of details quite easily, especially when they trigger high levels of emotion. The stories inspire themselves. I just happen to be in the center taking notes.
Afroway: Are you a gamer, into movies or comics, or is it both?
Boogey: All three actually, since I was little. They were ways to escape. I admit that the fantasy and fiction helped strengthen my ability to imagine and paint pictures with detailed expression. The Matrix trilogy and The Godfather Trilogy are the greatest movies of all time, in my opinion, and I love superhero movies as comics and cinema are a mix made in nerd heaven.
Afroway: What artists influence you and your craft?
Boogey: Different aspects of my work were probably influenced by a handful of musicians but when I started rapping and considering a career in music, Talib Kweli was the rapper I could relate to the most. I also listened to a lot of old Slick Rick. I thought his rhyme style was already a flying car before cars existed. Eminem and Cory Gunz (much later) forced me to study rhyme structures and flow patterns and how to piece words together like a science. Lupe Fiasco made me realise I could be articulate with the word combos and still be a threat, like a professor wielding a bazooka. Horrible analogy but that’s all I’ve got. In recent years, the rise of J. Cole and Kendrick, among others, has been a huge inspiration and has affected my state of mind and music in a positive way.
Afroway: What is Boogey bringing to the game this year?
Boogey:I’m bringing consistency as always. I’m working on putting out my first solo LP “Nouveau Niveau” before the end of the year. I already released the first single from it titled “Liquor Nights”. Between now and the release, i might do a few features and freestyles to keep the audience engaged, or put out a second single from the LP. I’m also focusing on ways to make my video releases more frequent.
Afroway: What inspired your new single Liquor Nights, quite an expressive track.
Boogey: Mostly a true story of a night out in Marrakech, Morocco, at a time when I clubbed and hung out A LOT. I got wasted and the flashes I had the next morning remained an interesting memory for me. A lot of past memories come to me when I hear certain beats. This was one of them.
Afroway: We got to ask this…what is your opinion of mumble rap?
Boogey:I’m personally not a fan. I understand that a lot of people generally enjoy some of the music that contains “mumble rap”. You have to give some respect to the artistes for being able to appeal to a market and sell but that’s about it for me. I take lyricism in hip hop very seriously and sometimes it’s sad to see people act like it’s not important. However, people like different things and you can’t force taste down anyone’s throat. I’m not a fan of it. Anyone who’s a fan, that’s their preference. Do you.
Afroway: What is your view on sampling, any African music legend you would definitely sample?
Boogey:Sampling has been an essential part of hip hop for decades. My first obvious choice would be Fela. Can’t go wrong on a Fela sampled beat. I would also love to sample Angélique Kidjo, Frank Sinatra and Evanescence.
Afroway: What would you say is the state of the music industry in Nigeria, does it actually exist with working structures?
Boogey: This might be the most asked question in the history of my interviews and it’s not even close. I think it’s a trial and error industry. It’s highly unstable. Large focus on “blowing” and little focus on distribution, quality and uniqueness. As we say, “all na packaging”. You can have the biggest song in the country one year and have nobody checking for you the next. Our music distribution needs a lot of improvement. Artistes hardly make their money from sales. If we did, everyone would eat. Put out a single, hope it blows up and gets you shows that pay millions. For an artiste like myself with no proper promo engine or funding to properly advertise my craft, it can be a nightmare. We also don’t exactly have a music buying culture here. I have observed that purchasing music digitally seems to be hard work and a frustrating task for many Nigerian fans. Until we work on that mentality, it’s trial and error with the hope of blowing up.
Afroway: What kind of impact do you want your music to have on Africa?
Boogey: I want the opportunity to make the continent proud. I want to be able to show Africa and the world that hip hop music is rich in Nigeria and there is a true culture, regardless of immaturity. I want to have the chance and the courage to take it to where some of our idols wouldn’t and to let the kids coming up feel like anybody can make it if they stay true to themselves. One chance is all I need.
Afroway: Entrepreneurship is a key element of Hip Hop, as an artist, what else are you into…or is it strictly music?
Boogey: It’s strictly music at the moment. I don’t have the finance to start any other business yet.
Afroway: What would you say has been your biggest achievement to date?
Boogey: I would say my biggest achievement is my consistency. I’m not famous yet but I do have a loyal fanbase I am highly grateful to, and I’m proud to know I have not disappointed them even once. I got two award nominations at the HEADIES last year, unsigned and without a manager. That happened largely because of constant support from fans, fueled by my ability to stay consistent. My fan base plus my consistency and resilience. Now we have to make that translate into money lol.
Afroway: Where can one find your music or merchandise?
Afroway: Finally, which is your favourite hangout joint in Nigeria…
Boogey: I don’t really have a hangout spot. I’m mostly an indoor guy until basketball, the music, a performance or the “industry” drags me out. If I had to choose, I would say the cinema *avoids unpaid publicity*. I often go to the movies by myself, see a movie while I eat, just like I do at home. I guess I’m my best company ☺️