In the summer of 2015, A Boogie returned to New York with a determination to make it in hip-hop. He moved back to Highbridge, and got up with his childhood friend Quincy “QP” Acheampong, who co-founded their independent label, also called Highbridge. In December 2015, A Boogie went to work on Artist, linking up with D Stackz, who provided beats anchored by light piano melodies and orchestral sounds on six of the project’s tracks.
During the making of Artist, recorded mostly at a home studio in the Bronx, he found his voice after going through a tough situation with his girlfriend at the time. The pain and heartbreak from that experience sparked personal songs like “D.T.B.,” “Still Thinkin About You,” and “Friend Zone.” Lyrics like, “I had a knife in my back when I wrote this shit,” connected with A Boogie’s listeners, and his music started to spread.
Who do you want me to sound like? Do you want me to sound like 50 Cent, Jadakiss, Jay-Z? Why do you want me to rap like that?
“I broke down in that situation. So [when] I started, I went to the studio and just let it out,” he says. “I’m a puppet when you look at [the artwork]. She’s controlling me on the piano, that’s just symbolizing a girl that messed up a dude’s heart in a situation. She’s controlling the music now.”
In the span of two months, his emotionally charged songs started hitting locally. He performed small shows at lounges and clubs, gauging the responses of girls (and guys) to “Still Thinkin About You” and “My Shit” before putting out Artist on Valentine’s Day. Back in April, he sold out his first show at B.B. King’s, and returned the following month with more music, this time alongside rising rapper Don Q on Highbridge the Label: The Takeover Vol. 1.
By then, Hot 97’s Funkmaster Flex was supporting his records on the airwaves and he was earning the respect of DJ Khaled and Meek Mill, who both shouted him out on social media. Just recently, A Boogie’s NYC-centric hype caught the attention of Oliver El-Khatib, who played “The Jungle” and “Not a Regular Person” during his mix on episode 25 of OVO Sound Radio on Beats 1.