By Geoffrey Rowlands
When your real name is Artist Julius Dubose, there wouldn’t seem to be much point in adopting a stage name. Calling yourself Artist or perhaps The Artist would surely be sufficient.
But this is not how things worked out for the 23-year-old New Yorker. More by fate than his own choice, Artist J. Dubose is known to music fans as A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie.
“The name developed when I was about 12 or 13,” he explained. “I used to love watching a movie called Paid In Full. There was a character in it nicknamed A Boogie. When I started rapping, my friends thought I should have a rap name so they called me A Boogie after the guy from my favourite film.
“The last part of my name came from the hoodie becoming fashionable and I wore hoodies all the time. My friends then started calling me A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and it just stuck.
“I would have used Artist as my rap name but I’d started to become known as A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie so I thought I’d better stay with that. But Puff Daddy changed his name after he became really famous so I hope the time eventually comes when everyone will know me as Artist.”
Apart from his ability to rap, his schooldays were initially unremarkable.
“I was the quiet kid at the back of the class. Nobody took much notice of me. I used to have a big notebook which contained all the rhymes I’d written. It was only when I’d perform my raps from this at lunchtime that I drew attention.”
He attracted the wrong kind of attention during his later years in high school.
“I made the mistake of getting into legal trouble for selling drugs. My parents were really mad at me. They sent me away from New York to a prep school in Fort Pierce, Florida.”
Although he was intent on a career in music, young Artist had to earn a living after graduating from school. He had three jobs in three weeks before realising the nine to five routine was definitely not for him.
“I did pizza deliveries and a couple of little construction jobs. But I couldn’t take care of these things. I knew I had to go straight to the music. That was where my future had to lie.”
He moved back to New York and teamed with fellow rapper Quincy ‘Qp’ Acheampong to set up a home studio and create their Highbridge record label.
“I was trying to cover all bases. For me, I wanted to be a rapper. But if that didn’t work out, I could be a label boss.”
He released his debut mixtape, Artist, in February, 2016. It peaked at number 70 on the Billboard 200, and earned him a gold disc and a spot on the Forbes magazine list of up and coming rappers.
“I was working every social media platform available to me. My lyrics were posted across the Internet. I got name drops from people like DJ Khaled and Meek Mill. But it was probably selling out the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in Manhattan that really got me the attention of major labels and my deal with Atlantic Records.”
October, 2016, saw the release of A Boogie’s debut EP, TBA. This reached number 63 on the Billboard 200 and was named among Rolling Stone magazine’s 40 Best Rap Albums of the year.
He was then listed in XXL magazine’s 2017 Freshman Class before releasing his debut studio album, The Bigger Artist. Lead single, Drowning, which featured Kodak Black as a guest artist, became A Boogie’s first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
But while the single stalled at number 38, his album proved massively popular. It hit number four on the Billboard 200 and took pole position on both the Top R&B / Hip Hop Albums and Top Rap Albums charts.
This has now been followed by his sophomore album, Hoodie SZN. Pronounced as Hoodie Season, the album has debuted at number two on the Billboard 200.
Digital download sales saw four album tracks listed in the Hot 100. Swervin, which also features 6ix9ine, has so far matched the number 38 position reached last year by Drowning.
“I overstretched myself with work. It took me more than a year to complete the new album. I felt the pressure to create even better songs than on my first album. People expect so much more from you after you do anything.
“I want new people to get into my music but I regard Hoodie SZN as being particularly for all the people who have supported me since day one. I really wanted to thank them for riding with me.”
Bring Me The Horizon
Is change really such a good thing? Certainly not, according to many fans of English rock quintet Bring Me The Horizon.
The Sheffield band began their career in 2004 as purveyors of deathcore metal. They swiftly moved away from this extreme sound to less aggressive styles. This moderation in their music coincided with a distinct increase in the band’s popularity and record sales.
Their last album, 2015’s That’s The Spirit, received universal critical acclaim. It took top spot on the Australian and Canadian charts, hit number two in Britain and equalled this position on the Billboard 200.
But have the band now drifted too far away from their rock roots? Their sixth studio album, Amo, is set for release on January 25. Although frontman Oliver Sykes says the new album is more experimental than their last record and every song on Amo is completely different, the band’s rock-loving fans feel what they’ve heard so far is much too pop-orientated for their taste.
The video for Bring Me The Horizon’s latest single, Medicine, is posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=MocF43ncu8I Reaction has been decidedly mixed. One fan even suggested they should now call themselves Bring Me The Ariana Grande. Other detractors have at least admitted the song is catchy even if it is not the type of music they want to hear from the band.
“It’s the poppiest album we’ve ever made,” admitted Oliver Sykes. “But Amo is a concept album that explores every aspect of love. It is such a powerful emotion which can be good, bad or even ugly. I think we’ve created an album which is more varied, weird and wonderful than anything we’ve done before.”
Fresh from their half-time show at the college football national championship game, indie-rock quartet Imagine Dragons have released Bad Liar as the latest single from their fourth studio album, Origins.
The half-time performance didn’t exactly meet with universal approval. It even prompted an article in Spin magazine asking if Imagine Dragons were the worst band ever.
Things were not improved by Lil Wayne joining the band as a guest artist during the national championship game show. If there was enough criticism of Imagine Dragons, Lil Wayne was subjected to even more written and verbal abuse.
Despite all this, Origins still hit number two on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Top Rock Albums chart. The singles haven’t fared quite so well. The most successful of these so far is Natural which topped the Hot Rock Songs chart and reached number 13 on the Hot 100.
Perhaps Bad Liar will become the band’s next big hit. Despite having no official video, it is already in the Hot 100 and number five on the Hot Rock Songs chart. For now, fans just have a lyric video which is posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEDhGX-UTeI
Singer / songwriter Olly Murs enjoyed great success with his sixth studio album, You Know I Know. Released last November, it peaked at number two on the UK chart.
Lead single, Moves, did not do so well. Despite being co-written by Ed Sheeran, Snoop Dogg, Steve Mac and Ammar Malik, as well as featuring on the Johnny English Strikes Again film soundtrack, the song surprisingly stalled at number 48.
Olly will hope for a better response to his recently released latest single, Excuses. He co-wrote the song with Grace Barker and producer Steve Robson. Critics have acclaimed the track as being amongst Olly’s best work and initial fan reaction has been hugely positive.
Judge for yourself by checking out the video which is posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=IffQ0bsRIVU
There has been no new recorded material from Manchester hardcore metal band Guilt Trip for the past two years. But they have now completed the songs for a new album which will be promoted during a series of concerts and music festival performances during the course of 2019.
In the meantime, fans of hardcore metal might care to hear the band’s 2016 six-track EP, Unrelenting Force. It is posted in full at www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2KaH2Rui28
If you enjoy the songs, the EP can be purchased on a name your price basis from (no www.) guilttripmhc.bandcamp.com/album/unrelenting-force
Access to an earlier single, Hollowed Out, can also be gained from this webpage.
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