Big time’s within his ‘ Reach’

Rap­per Boo­gie’s first al­bum is get­ting him, and his 6- year- old son, a lot of at­ten­tion.

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - By Devon Maloney

Go­ing by his new­est mu­sic video, you’d think Boo­gie was the life of the party.

In the rau­cous clip for “Oh My,” his best- known song, a crew of what looks like hun­dreds dance their way through Comp­ton, his home­town — on a city bus, on a front lawn, on street corners, in the mid­dle of the road, even on rooftops. The 25- year- old rap­per, also known as An­thony Dix­son, is at the front of the pack, spit­ting verses about grow­ing up hun­gry and get­ting shot at the park with the com­fort­able swag­ger of a

star quar­ter­back amid the per­va­sive, charm­ing re­frain: “Oh mah! Oh m’good­ness!”

The video has been viewed on YouTube well over half a mil­lion times.

In per­son, though, it’s a whole dif­fer­ent story. On a hot, lazy June af­ter­noon, con­gre­gat­ing near the grassy court­yard of a gated apart­ment com­plex across from Comp­ton’s Roy Cam­panella Park, a few days be­fore his al­bum- re­lease show at the Mint in Mid- City L. A., Boo­gie is soft- spo­ken, when he talks at all. He’s still sur­rounded by friends, of course; they mill around out­side the apart­ment of a friend known only as G Weed ( or Weeder, as Boo­gie af­fec­tion­ately refers to him), re­count­ing last night’s gam­bling for­ays and ar­gu­ing an­i­mat­edly about why the Cleve­land Cava­liers lost the NBA cham­pi­onship se­ries last week to the Golden State War­riors.

Boo­gie, clad in a black cap and bright red long- sleeved shirt de­spite the heat, blends into the group. A mum­bled opin­ion on the Cavs’ ros­ter here, a quiet, clipped lament about a re­cent ar­gu­ment with his girl­friend there. It’s a far cry from the stream of con­scious­ness that is “The Reach,” his self- re­leased de- but record.

“That’s why — I think I re­al­ized — I don’t open up in per­son no more,” he says later, in G Weed’s liv­ing room. Be­hind him, shots of the War­riors’ Oak­land vic­tory pa­rade play on mute on a mas­sive f lat- screen TV. “’ Cause I’m, like, I do enough on my mu­sic, I don’t need to, like, sit here and, like, go deep.”

In­deed, “The Reach” leaves no room for spec­u­la­tion about this rap­per’s thoughts: Twelve back- to­back, ver­bose so­lil­o­quies on sub­jects rang­ing from the hun­gry pur­suit of a mu­sic ca­reer on the same streets that have pro­duced some of the most in­flu­en­tial artists in the genre’s history ( as well as scores of lazy im­i­ta­tors), to judg­ments of un­healthy In­sta­gram ob­ses­sions ( mostly those of the women in his life — his own ac­counts are mainly for retweets and al­bum pro­mos).

“I think I’m just gen­uine; I’m an hon­est per­son,” he says. “That’s my main thing I’m push­ing right now. I just, my for­mula is I’m go­ing to show my f laws and my inse­cu­ri­ties, and hope­fully peo­ple learn from them. I’m not go­ing to try to hide them.”

The pro­ject, which fea­tures the kind of vivid, fullf ledged pro­duc­tion usu­ally re­served for a suc­cess­ful main­stream artist on his or her sec­ond or third ma­jor- la­bel ef­fort, was kept close to home. The ma­jor­ity of “The Reach” was pro­duced by Boo­gie’s nephew, Keyel Walker, and en­gi­neered by their friend Dart­tny “Dart” El­lis.

He says the record’s ti­tle is as mul­ti­fold as his rap tales, al­lud­ing both to his own grind — “reach­ing for suc­cess” — and op­por­tunis­tic ac­quain­tances: “homies reach­ing for at­ten­tion.”

There’s one re­cur­ring topic, though, that has de­fined his im­age al­most as much as his Comp­ton- Long Beach street roots, from the re­lease of his first mix- tape, last sum­mer’s “Thirst 48,” to the day of this in­ter­view.

As he puts it: “Short ver­sion would be that I’m a 25year- old dad. That raps. From Comp­ton.”

Son Dar­ius was born not long af­ter Boo­gie started tak­ing his rap ca­reer se­ri­ously. The 6- year- old, who now splits his time be­tween Mom and Dad, fea­tures promi­nently in his fa­ther’s work: shirt­less and eat­ing ice cream in the video for “Bit­ter Raps,” a cut from “Thirst 48”; jump­ing around like a ma­niac on a mat­tress in the back­ground of the video for “48’ s” “Let Me Rap”; and con­tribut­ing ad- libbed sam­ples to tracks like “Make Me Over,” “The Reach’s” sec­ond sin­gle. ( The re­cent kinder­garten grad­u­ate says his prayers on the lat­ter song.)

At­ten­dees of NPR’s South by South­west show­case in Austin, Texas, this year heard Dar­ius’ recorded voice be­fore the rap­per even opened his mouth. If, or when, Boo­gie achieves main­stream suc­cess, Dar­ius will be about as fa­mous as his dad.

“My dad was never around — I know it’s like a cliché story now,” Boo­gie says back on G Weed’s couch. The win­dow be­hind him over­looks a hand­ful of grade- school­ers crawl­ing over a play­ground at the cen­ter of the com­plex’s court­yard. Dar­ius is at a school­spon­sored event to­day. “But, yeah, he was never there. I just make it a point to be in my kid’s life, maybe even too much at times, but I don’t care. That’s my No. 1 pri­or­ity, for sure.”

The “in­tro­spec­tive, hy­per- emo­tive, in­vested dad with ex­plicit gang af­fil­i­a­tions” char­ac­ter Boo­gie has de­vel­oped in his mu­sic over the last few years com­bined with the fer­tile at­mos­phere cre­ated by lo­cal suc­cess sto­ries like Ken­drick La­mar and YG have made for an ex­cep­tion­ally promis­ing start. “Oh My” was pro­duced by Jahlil Beats, whose other clients in­clude Meek Mill, Jay Z, Diddy and Lil Wayne. That af­ter­noon in Comp­ton, ref­er­ences to co- sign­ers and their po­ten­tial pa­tron­age f loat through the air from his crew and man­age­ment — Waka Flocka Flame, Rick Ross and, of course, La­mar. Later, a rep from Re­pub­lic Records shows up for an im­promptu visit.

“By com­par­i­son, what I’ve been through and what I got to go through ... I’m not re­ally scared of noth­ing in the mu­sic in­dus­try, hon­estly. I just come from a tough place. It’s like, what’s in the in­dus­try that can scare me that I haven’t al­ready been through?”

Mel Mel­con Los An­ge­les Times

“I ’ M A 25- year- old dad. That raps. From Comp­ton” is how An­thony Dix­son, known as Boo­gie, de­scribes him­self in ad­vance of the re­lease of his de­but al­bum.

Mel Mel­con Los An­ge­les Times

COMP­TON RAP­PER Boo­gie ( An­thony Dix­son) has half a mil­lion YouTube views for his video “Oh My.”

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