Boogiie Byrd on Murder Inc.’s Legacy, Rap’s ‘Drug Frenzy’

Boogiie Byrd on Murder Inc.’s Legacy, Rap’s ‘Drug Frenzy’

Rapper Boogiie Byrd realized hip hop was his calling after watching Diddy’s reality show, Making The Band. The Washington, D.C. MC, our TIDAL Rising artist of the week, has been flying solo for most of his young career, signing to Chris Gotti’s independent label, Add-ventures, before becoming one of the latest acts on Chris’ brother Irv’s revamped Murder Inc. Records.

Boogiie Byrd, 25, mixes reality rap with hustle-hard bars as heard on his previously released mixtapes including For The Moment and On The Way Up, the latter hosting the buzzy tracks “Being Me” and “Doing Something Right.” His breakout hit came with 2016′s “Murda Murda,” a salute to his label home that references Ja Rule, Ashanti and the Gotti brothers. Boogiie delved into more emotional territory with “Good Die Young,” a somber number about loss that was featured on Irv Gotti’s hip hop anthology series, TALES and its complementary album, Irv Gotti Presents: Tales Playlist.

Now, Boogiie is mirroring Irv Gotti’s focus and piecing together his debut project on Murder Inc. Allow him to re-introduce himself below.

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How did you come up with the name Boogiie Byrd?

Byrd was actually a neighborhood nickname. A good friend of mine I’ve known for probably 10 years also used to call me Boogie for no apparent reason. One day, I was trying to figure out my rap name and I didn’t wanna be Byrd because I knew Birdman was out so I just put Boogiie Byrd together and it kinda stuck to me.

When was the first time you fell in love with hip hop?

My first time actually falling in love with hip hop was when P. Diddy came out with Making The Band. I used to rap Ness’ and Chopper City’s old raps and I tried to formulate them into my own. I just continued to do that and now, here I am, 10, 15 years later, still rapping.

What was the first song that you put together?

My first record was actually an Eastern Motors jingle that I put together for a good friend of mine back when I was 16. He took me to the studio for the first time [and said], “I know you write. Let me see if you can make a little jingle for Eastern Motors.” So I came up with the jingle but they told me I sounded too young so they actually took my words and gave it to to some older dude, who rapped the same song and twisted a couple of words up. I didn’t feel no type of way because it was for Eastern Motors and his song actually didn’t make the cut.

How did you meet Irv Gotti?

I met Irv through his brother, Chris, who I met through my manager at the time. I was on tour with Chris and I was his first artist to sign to [his independent label] Add-ventures. So when he signed [me], we went on tour from Miami all the way back to Connecticut. On our second run, we stopped in Atlanta and Irv was shooting TALES so that’s when I first met him to speak to him. We chopped it up and went to the studio a couple of days later. I showed him a lot of my records then he showed me a lot of stuff that he wanted me to do. And it’s been history ever since.

What stuck out to you most when you first talked to him?

His energy is just dope and he’s driven. I like being around people that’s driven. When you’re so focused, it takes a lot for someone to take you off your phone ‘cause when he’s listening to music and he’s talking about something, it’s hard to steer him to another conversation. Even when it comes to business situations, he’s driven on what he wants to do. I try to keep that same mentality.

Musically, what have you learned from him?

Ever since I met Irv in May, I’ve grasped the concept of elements and levels of music, voice changes and never staying the same in a song. That’s the most important key I’ve learned from him. When I write and make music, I always think about how to use my highs and lows to change my voice up. You think about a lot of the greats [in music who] have a lot of different personalities on their records. Maybe not in one record but a lot of different songs might portray a different personality. You just never want to stay in a straight line. That’s boring.

Name an artist or album that changed your perspective on music.

I definitely have to say Lil Wayne Tha Carter II. At that point, I just feel like Wayne was at his most creative to me. Wayne has so many songs and still comes out with another album, and raps about things that’s still relevant and still need to be talked about. It takes time to really talk about what the masses and other artists want to hear. I feel like in today’s world, a lot of these artists are winning because they don’t have to connect with the masses. They rap about some weird flower and it’ll be 11,000 people that just want to hear about that weird flower rather than you being an artist like Wayne, where your music has to be broad enough for the world to like. Definitely changed my mindset of music.

Is there a song from that album that gets you really hype?

“Best Rapper Alive” is my number one pick.

Moving along to your own music, what inspired “Murda Murda”?

We was in the house, listening to music and the beat came on and I started rapping a couple bars. I put that BlackChild line, and when I did that, I was like hold on, I could flip names. So I did Ja Rule and once I got to Ashanti, I knew I was gon’ flip the whole Murder Inc. thing. It just triggered something in my mind to try to create a dedication record.

You’re now signed to Murder Inc. Records. What do you remember about the label’s legacy?

I remember Ja Rule really changing the sound of music. You had JAY-Z and DMX out at the time and Ja Rule just brought that edge to the game. He was floating on the melodies but still keepin’ it street. I feel like that’s what a lot of rappers are doing today. That’s the way of the game now. I feel like if your music don’t have melodies, then nobody’s gonna even listen to it ‘cause you’re just rapping regular words. That’s not even gon’ fly no more.

How do you separate yourself from other artists?

I’d definitely say I’m just more conscious right now. I think there’s more topics that need to be said. Everybody’s in a drug frenzy right now. It’s about who can be the highest or the flyest. That’s all cool but my mindset is still back on the children, respect of women and things like that that still need to be touched on.

What was the story behind “Good Die Young”?

[Producer] Chinx Santana played the record for me and when I heard the beat, I already knew it was going to be something deep. Irv came to the studio and was like, “I want this beat to go in the scene where Brody [Jenner] dies in TALES so I want you to rap about losing somebody.” It’s crazy because back home in D.C., I just lost a couple of friends. I went right in. I vibed out to the beat for a day and had the whole song ready.

Keeping in theme with your party record “We Need,” if you could compare your music to a certain type of liquor, what would it be and why?

[Laughs] I hope that my music gives off the impression of Hennessy—chill, dark but still gets you there.

What’s next for you?

We working on my album now with Murder Inc. We just in the studio now, trying to make the best music. I’m trying to pick through at least 60 to 65 songs ‘cause I want my first project to be just like when JAY-Z dropped his first project [Reasonable Doubt]. I want that to be the introduction and never look back.

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