Emcee Boog Brown and producer Spittzwell teamed up for an EP that blends the old with the new titled “Summer Daze Vol. 1.” The first installment of the Summer Daze series finds Boog Brown rhyming over classic Hip-Hop samples re-fashioned by Spittzwell. The six track EP features guest appearances by Backwud Marc, Stanza, and Ekundayo.
Boog is also scheduled to take part in Ladies First: A Virtual Mini Fest this Saturday, August 29, 2020 on NoonChorus.com The event will showcase some Hip-Hop’s most talented emcees, vocalists, deejays, and producers. Performing at Ladies First along with Boog Brown will be Akua Naru, E-Turn, Lisa Vazquez, Prowess the Testament, Jeia, Pattyclover, Annalyze, New Fame, Aubrey West, and MoZaic
The Real Hip-Hop spoke to Boog Brown about her upcoming performance at the Ladies First festival, the importance of mastering one’s own life, and her new EP with Spittzwell, Summer Daze Vol. 1.
TRHH: How did you and Spittzwell link up and decide to do Summer Daze Vol. 1?
Boog Brown: I’ve known Spittz from living in Atlanta for a while. He was like, “I want to try and look at these classic samples and see if I can put my own spin on them and I’d like to recruit a couple emcees to rock.” I was like, “Alright, cool.” It’s a volume series and I am the first emcee and Ekundayo is the second. Spittz is my man, we’ve been knowing each other for a long, long time.
TRHH: You mentioned the classic samples on Summer Daze; was it challenging to write to some of those beats?
Boog Brown: Yeah, some of them because you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. You want to see that you can honor that classic but also to throw your own spin and take on it. The only difficulty was making sure that I didn’t do the same thing twice and ruin the idea and thought of the sample for people who are going to be consuming the art. How can I make this my own? The only time that a beat is a challenge to write to is if I don’t like it [laughs]. You follow the way, you follow the path, the music opens up itself to you and you have to honor that. You have to look at it like the first way might not work, the second way might not work, the third probably will though.
TRHH: The song “The Seed” has lyrics about controlling your own life and being the master. What inspired you to write that song?
Boog Brown: I’ve been on a path of self-discovery since about 2012 – seriously since about 2013 – a more serious approach. At this point in my life it was time to put theory to practice, but I didn’t necessarily know that. When I was finally able to do that actually, not being able to talk it, but live it, and not just be able to understand what that meant, but also to practice what it means, to be in control of your own mind and your own output it opens up the space a whole lot more. I think that we think that blame and blaming other people or other things is a way to absolve ourselves from the responsibilities that we have to excel, advance, and grow. When we do that we effectively take our own powers from ourselves. We take our powers from ourselves when we don’t realize that we are the common denominator in certain situations.
If we’re talking about systemic racism and its massacre that it’s had on the psyche and minds of African’s, African-American’s and all people of color on these lands, that is the root of a lot of mistrust that we have between each other, the mistrust that we have of others, the mistrust that black women and black men have between each other is a direct branch from that root that was planted so many years ago. But it’s effective in that it has been passed generationally through trauma, wounds, wombs, and through the passing down of grandma’s house and the state coming in and saying, “Oh, she didn’t pay these taxes.” And now you gotta sell your grandma’s house – your family home. The legacy that you were denied, now you can’t necessarily access it because you were so busy in your brain being mad about white folks that you don’t see that your resources are your kinfolks – your skin folks. It doesn’t necessarily have to be one in the same, but it does have to be at a point where you think about the idea that, “Hey, we can do more together.” But because we don’t trust each other, because we don’t see one another, and someone did that to us on purpose too – make us not be able to see and trust one another – we get into this idea that we can blame everything and we don’t have the power to do things.
We relinquish our power to take control of our situation. Certain things are going to be more challenging than others, of course, but once you realize that you have the control of your mind and you can control your mind it opens you up to a space that gives you more power and gumption to get out and go, get, and do what it is you want to get out, go, and get, and do. I feel like we need to teach our babies this – that they are the masters of their destinies. Whatever it is you believe you are right. It’s important to know that if you’re constantly saying, “Oh, I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it,” then you are right. And if you say, “I can do it, I can do it, I can do it,” you are right. Whichever way.
TRHH: That’s like the Locus of control in psychology, right?
Boog Brown: Yeah, I’m not familiar with that but my roommate, Yolanda, was just talking about that the other day.
TRHH: It’s basically the idea that there are people who make things happen and people who think things happen to them.
Boog Brown: Right, right! Exactly. It’s very interesting what we lend credence to. It’s very interesting how we are so willing and ready to do that. We’re so very ready to give somebody else the rein. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and he was just talking about how the system keeps doing this and that to him and I was like, “Well, okay, do you have everything that you need to have done solid, tight, and righteous?” he was like, “No.” Well how can you complain about something that you’re not actively participating in changing? That doesn’t make sense to me. He’s one of those people where things happen to him and he’s not in control, that’s not exactly how it goes, bro.
TRHH: I don’t think I figured it out until I was 30 years old. I think you have to experience some kind of victories to know, “Yo, I did this! I can do this!” I didn’t get that until I was 30. I’m glad I got it, but it was late [laughs].
Boog Brown: Shoot, I didn’t get it until I was after 30. There’s that. It’s not about necessarily the time, but that you do. We have to give ourselves more power, not less. More, more, more control, not less. We are the most powerful people walking. Everybody is, really. Your brain is your brain. Your brain works. Man, I keep telling people, you see people that are like, “I’m broke, I’m broke, I’m broke,” and every time you see them they’re broke. Ery’time, ery’time you see them they’re broke. Ain’t got no money! Not pot, not window. They’re like, “My life is so hard,” yeah, nah. You keep claiming these things, holding these things, saying these things like, “I’m stupid. I ain’t smart enough for that,” you’re right. What do you really want?
TRHH: You’re from Detroit but lived in Atlanta for some time, how would you say living in ATL has influenced your music?
Boog Brown: Yeah! Oh man, well, honestly Atlanta was the place that I decided that I was actually going to emcee. Because there were people there that had styles that I had never really heard people do, but also, I was an Outkast fan, and a Goodie Mob fan, and a fan of music in that way. Being from the Midwest we get just about everything. It’s hot, it’s beautiful, it’s the city in the woods, it’s lot of trees, it’s lots of resources and things, it’s just a beautiful place. For me it’s pretty difficult not to be inspired by it in that realm because it was just gorgeous. Of course, racist because it’s still Georgia, just Atlanta. It was just powerful to be there, powerful to be where MLK stood, walked, and lived, powerful to be a part of that kind of legacy and see that kind of legacy going strong.
It was challenging too, because there was still a lot of heartbreak involved in that, too. I was just living my life. Atlanta kind of gave me something that I couldn’t get here in Detroit. Plus, my sister was on the scene here and everybody knew me from her. I wanted to have something different. I didn’t want to be little Jackie, I wanted to be Elsie. I wanted to be Boog. And Atlanta gave me that most importantly – my own voice, my own identity, and the ability to create. I met some of my closest friends and collaborators in Atlanta. I’m forever grateful. Forever I’ll love Atlanta.
TRHH: You’re performing at the Ladies First Fest on August 29th. What does it mean to you to perform on such a unique event?
Boog Brown: I remember a time where I was really very convinced that women in Hip-Hop didn’t necessarily need to stick together because it’s a boy’s club and if you want to be considered an emcee then you should be an emcee regardless of whether or not you’re with your girls or not, or whether or not your vagina has anything to do with it. I still to a degree feel that way. Being a victim and a survivor of that boy’s club, not even just the violence, but the silence in the studio where you’re in the studio creating your song and everybody else is talking about it and no one is listening to you, because you’re the only woman there. Fifteen minutes later, you go back and they’re like, “We should do this,” after you said it three times fifteen minutes ago. So, it’s that’s kind of thing. It’s like, okay, if we’re not going to be accepted in this boy’s club then we’re going to have to run shit. We’re going to have to dismantle the bullshit.
It’s important for us to stand together and it’s important for us to understand. I know that now, I didn’t know that back then. I really appreciate E-Turn reaching out to me and asking me to be a part of it because I’ve loved E-Turn for a long time. I’ve seen her come up, like grow up, totally evolve, smash, and do all this stuff. I think that is a powerful thing. I think women do that all the time and it’s important for us to celebrate it. It’s important for us to note it, to record it, and have it on the books because we have a voice too. We have to celebrate our voices where we have been shut out, dogged, and talked about. It’s too many talented women out here for us to not be on a single accord, ‘cause that’s not necessary, but we do have to have a code. We do have to understand that we have to have each other’s back because we are all we have.
I think it’s super-huge, monumental, important, and I’m grateful. It’s a show of grace to even come and have lyrics to go. These women on this bill are cold! Phenomenal. You ever hear of Lisa Vazquez? Have you seen her play around on her machine? These women are incredible! I think it’s important for us to band. It’s important for us to show solidarity with one another, so when people do try to come in and create dissension we can say, “Nah. We got this over here. That’s not what this is.” Set a standard. It’s wonderful. Super-important. I’m glad I know that now.
TRHH: This is a live streaming festival, what can fans expect to see from your performance?
Boog Brown: [Laughs] I don’t know, honestly. I’ve never done a live streaming performance before. We’re going to laugh a lot because we’re going to be in a bit of a learning curve for me. Maybe not for the rest of the ladies involved. I’m going to laugh, I’m going to tell stories, I’m going to talk about why it’s important. We’re going to have fun, we’re going to vibe, we’re going to get it! I got a lot of new music. I might just do an all new music set, just so that people can have an idea of where I’m going now. Where the energy for what we need in the world from Boog – from Elise – now is, and what I feel like I can contribute to the world. I’m very excited. I’m a little nervous, I ain’t rapped in front of people in a long, long time. It’s been a minute. I’m a little bit out of practice.
TRHH: Really? How long? Pre-pandemic?
Boog Brown: Yeah, the last performance I did was in Ethiopia in January and I wasn’t even necessarily in the show, I was just a facilitator. As I’ve been going through these changes personally, my music has changed also. I’ve been keeping it very close to the chest. I’m not uncertain about how it will be received, because I’m more concerned about the conception of the art. I’m more concerned with whether or not I like it and whether or not it’s honest and true to me. If so, that means that somebody is going to feel it, somebody is going to understand it, somebody is going to connect with it. I trust that, but also, I’m a little nervous. It’s gon’ be fun, it’s gon’ be interesting, it’s gon’ be solid. I’m excited. Nervous and excited [laughs].
TRHH: You mentioned that you might perform all new music at the Ladies First festival; down the line what can fans expect from you music wise?
Boog Brown: I say music wise you can expect to hear lessons, tools, and things that I’ve learned and grown from in the past year, year and a half that I feel are quite necessary. Like the idea and understanding that women should band together and do more together. And where our seat is in the world, as far as women are concerned. We can link with each other and reconnect with the family. We can find ourselves. I think it’s important because in mainstream Hip-Hop a lot of things are talked about that don’t necessarily serve us. It’s always nice to have money and all the stuff be coveted or admired, but that’s not all. People shouldn’t think that it’s okay to make rape jokes, people shouldn’t think that it’s okay to rap about rape and insinuate that kind of thing, or disrespect women, with little to no care about the children who are consuming this.
I think not necessarily that artists have to be role models, but you do have to be responsible. I want to make sure that my content is something that is adding value to the narrative, or to the culture, or to the community. That is an important part of what we do this for, because we can’t necessarily decide that we want change and still consume the same thing at the same rate of consumption that we have been. We also need to offer alternatives. We also need to offer a different vibe so we can get a different outcome. I feel like my music will sink into a spot that we didn’t necessarily know we needed. We didn’t know we needed it, but then also we’re able to show up. I’m hoping that my music will fill a space, fill a gap, fill a void.