Towards the end of 2010, Boog Brown quietly dropped one of the best Hip-Hop debuts of the year. Executive-produced by Apollo Brown (no relation), Boog’s Brown Study was a refreshing LP introduction, and devoid of pretense despite heavy topics spanning spirituality to erotica. While today’s Hip-Hop mainstream champions a pink prototype to represent the fairer sex, Boog refuses to engage in internecine disputes to build her name. Find out how she plans to continue shining above the industry madness.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: With Brown Study, who took the lead between you and Apollo Brown?
Boog Brown: I’d have to say Apollo was, because he was more experienced in making albums and shit. For me, I’ve only been rhyming 5-6 years. This was my first actual album, so he made a lot of the decisions. We went back and forth, and I had my say, but I trusted his decision-making because I was such a novice at it. I trusted him and Mello Music Group, and it came out fucking brilliant! I’m always awed at the response and hearing people talk about it. I love it.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: On the “Master Plan” track, we hear a lot of diverse philosophical and religious influences. What have you gone through in your life that’s brought you to where you are now in your spiritual journey?
Brown: I’ve been through a lot [laugh], and too much to talk about in this interview right now. But what I’ve ultimately learned is that every experience in your life is for a reason. It’s to teach you a lesson. I’ve been through so much shit I know what to expect sometimes. Take it for what it is, as opposed to some “woe is me” shit. Everyone feels sorry for themselves or insecure at some point, but take that shit and build on it.
If you’re feeling insecure, you need to check yourself and see what you can improve on. It’s all a lesson, you cannot just stop because some shit happened to you. So what? Shit happens to everybody. That’s everybody’s fucking story. Keep it moving. If you start sulking, you’ll never learn to appreciate the good shit. Recognize the bad shit, but don’t dwell it. It’s momentary.
In the church when they used to sing “trouble don’t last always,” I used to not know what the fuck that meant. I got older and realized rent’s due, bills are here, and I don’t have money coming in like it’s supposed to. Well I do, but I have to claim it. Just keep it moving.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Being that you worked with Invincible on this album, would you say there’s good camaraderie overall between female emcees?
Brown: Nooo! Some women that happen to be emcees that are my homies, they support. Other women feel like there’s not enough space for everyone to get on. People, stop bitching and complaining about someone trying to take your spot. I don’t want nobody else’s spot. I want my shit! If you focus on your own shit, you wouldn’t be worried about everyone else. I support everyone that’s dope. If you’re dope, I’m rocking with you. But if you act like a douche bag when I fucking meet you…a lot of bigger name female emcees that I’ve met have been assholes for no reason.
You don’t have to look at me as some sort of threat; I look up to you. If I’m here, I’m trying to give you props. I can’t take your shine because it’s your shine. Take that and continue running with it. If anything I’m an advocate, because I love the ladies out here rocking. I can’t wait to see a woman get on and rock it, I love that. But women act so funny style. You don’t have to act funny style to me; I’m on your team!
“FRICTION’ FEAT. MIZ KORONA & INVINCIBLE”
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: When you pursue a craft full-time, there’s going to be people you look at for mentorship, or inspiration from afar. Who was that person or persons that you looked to as a model to hone your rhymes?
Brown: Honestly, Nas has been my biggest influence forever. Scarface, Outkast, Wu-Tang, Redman, oh my God, them motherfuckers was crazy! Monie Love, did you listen to her flow? What?! There’s been more since I moved to Atlanta. You got Adrift, Stahhr, Rita J, Lyric Jones and so many other women out here rocking that shit. You can’t even deny it. I’m inspired by life mostly, but if I hear something that touches me, that makes me want to make timeless music.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: It’s interesting you bring up Nas, because I covered the BET Hip-Hop Awards…
Brown: Really? How was that?
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Well…
Brown: Oh wow [laughs]
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Right [laughs]. But I ran into Waka Flocka, and he told me one of main artists he’d like to work with is Nas.
Brown: Wow, really?
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Yes, despite the styles clash, he said Nas is the best rapper in the world.
Brown: I can agree. [Pauses] Well I can’t because I’m the best [laughs]. Sorry, I’m not, but I’m working on it. Every emcee should feel that way. It goes back to not trying to take someone’s shine, but just supporting yourself.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Piggybacking off that word, let’s talk about two album tracks, “Shine” and “Friends Like These.” I sensed some personal venom on those songs for people who really wronged you. When you started to rhyme, did you get support from your family?
Brown: I experienced a lot of motherfuckers that didn’t really understand what it was I was doing, and that’s fine. It was difficult because I wanted my fam to be down. Some didn’t respect it. A friend told me if you loan someone $20 and they never pay it back, you just paid $20 to get a motherfucker that wasn’t worth your time out of your life. The people that are meant to be here are here. The others are not, and that’s cool. But I wanted to speak on it because they act like you don’t recognize what it is they’re doing on the sneak. I’ll write a song and be done with it.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Let’s touch on the “Just Be” track. That’s probably one of the most sensual and erotic Hip-Hop songs released last year. But it’s also very cerebral. Was that a focus, or was it an organic song?
Brown: It was kinda some organic shit. I probably had some really great sex before I wrote it…
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: That always helps…
Brown: Yeah, that does always help [laughs]. I enjoy really great connections, sex, intimacy, [and just] really genuine shit. I wanted to speak on it without it being too corny or cheesy. I wish I could have spit it differently. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I just felt like I could have done better. That’s just artist criticism.
Beats, Boxing, & Mayhem: What’s the word on a Boog Brown tour?
Brown: Wherever they’re paying I’m going [laughs]. I’m not doing any more free shows. I can’t do that shit. This is not a hobby. I need you to pay me for my work. I’ll pay it forward, and pay whoever else I’m working with. I would like to be able to pay my DJ, videographer, and the other people who want to work with me. I’m trying to get overseas. I got bills to pay like everyone else in the world.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Are you currently in a committed relationship?
Brown: I am.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: How difficult has it been to juggle it with your career?
Brown: It’s interesting as fuck. It’s hard finding a partner that’s confident, secure, and understanding about you being an artist. And especially being a woman in a male-dominated field, it’s interesting but not impossible. I always look to my homegirl, Monica Blaire, and her relationship. She’s been putting me up on game for a long time, even indirectly. Seeing her move, work, and have the type of committed relationship she has, is incredible. The partner she has is amazing. I look to her for inspiration, and my homies Dennis and Lailini, who’ve been doing music for over 20 years. They love each other and have a son who plays with them in their band. It’s possible, but you have to find the crazy that works with your crazy.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: In Hip-Hop, what is more important to you, your identity as a woman, or your voice as an emcee?
Brown: I would rather be respected as an emcee. I’m respected as a woman, period. When the cameras are off I’m Elsie, and I know that. I don’t want you to like or not like me because I’m a woman. Base it off the skill, flow, and what I write about. Basing it on me being a girl? Fuck that shit, that’s shallow as hell. You’re looking at some outer surface shit. We’re all beings and vibrations.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: To close, what’s the one song you would give someone to introduce them to Boog Brown?
Brown: “Understanding” on Brown Study. Check that shit out. That chronicles A-B.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: I appreciate you taking the time out.
Brown: Thank you very much.