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Interview: Prodigy & Boogz Boogetz’ Young Rollin’ Stoners Album showcases two Generations of Queens Hip-Hop

Boogz P 1

Words by Paul Meara (@PaulMeara)

Prodigy’s collaborative prospectus with hip-hop greats is long and distinguished. When it comes to the production on his albums, he’s mostly relied on Havoc and The Alchemist for much of his solo catalog. Mobb Deep in general has stuck to working with their contemporaries during the course of their career and haven’t called on the younger generation all that much. Until now.

Far Rockaway, Queens native Boogz Boogetz, who is more than a decade younger than Prodigy, has been hanging around the Infamous camp for quite a while, appearing on several tracks by the Mobb rapper (and vice versa). The younger brother of Un Pacino, an artist who has long been affiliated with Infamous Records and even doing a full album with Prodigy, Boogz has experienced how an older Queens camp works and established a good relationship with everyone in the process.

“I’m always in the studio with [my brother], and Prodigy just took a liking to me and my music,” Boogz Boogetz said in describing his early encounters with Prodigy. “He seen that I was different. I was a skateboarder and not like every other average kid to meet in the hood. There was something about me [that was] special and we started working together.”

This Tuesday (November 25) will set somewhat of a precedent for both Prodigy and Boogz Boogetz as they release their collaborative Young Rollin’ Stonerz album. Each emcee will be somewhat out of his element. P will have to lay his trademark dark, gritty and thoro bars over beats mostly of the trap variety while Boogz’ stoner rhymes and skateboard appeal will have to be up to the task of not sounding too left of field being on the same song as one of hip-hop most infamous hardcore pioneers. It’s a challenge both are willing to accept.

“It’s just fun,” Prodigy says describing the album. “When you listen to it it’s just fun music. It’s hardcore hip-hop but at the same time the energy that Boogz brings to it just enables me to create a lighter side of my writing aside from doing real dark hip-hop. [I’m] still sticking to my guns and being myself.”

Nah Right recently spoke to both Boogz Boogetz and Prodigy in anticipation of Young Rollin’ Stoners. During the interview the duo described working with one another and also laid a few gems about what each of them are doing separately. P announced he’s working on a project with Harry Fraud as well as another collaborative effort with Alchemist while Boogz relayed he’s in the process of creating a slew of new works, both solo and collabo. They also described their early meetings and why each finds value in working with one another.

YRS Cover

What’s been up recently?

Prodigy: [Havoc and I] just did a month-long tour in Canada and we just got back a couple days ago so that’s the latest. We did Vancouver all the way over to Toronto. It was great out there man. All the shows were sold out and we had a good time out there.

Boogz Boogetz: Yeah man, just been kicking it. Me and P been working on the album for probably like a year now. We’ve been trying to get that out of the way. I’ve been working on my solo mixtape and C.O.O.L. 2 and working on my solo album and EPs. I’ve been just working man, all the time.

Mobb Deep has a long history of touring and appeal outside of the United States. You’ve been doing shows overseas for a while. What’s it been like performing for so long outside of the United States?

Prodigy: Since the beginning like when we first put out “Shook Ones Pt. II” we started to go over to Europe and just seeing all the different parts of the world. It was amazing to us. From that point on we were just turnt out going overseas touring and just seeing the crowd out there and seeing that they were so into the hip-hop that we was making, the hardcore hip-hop. It’s just different, it’s a different vibe in Europe and Asia, just out the country period. They’re really, really into hardcore hip-hop music. Just seeing the effect that it had on the crowd. It just taught us early that we got to stay on tour globally. It’s bigger than New York, it’s bigger than America. This music that we doing is powerful. We seen that shit early and that’s why we was able to stay on the road.

It’s been great man just seeing the fans and just all the different parts of the world. It’s crazy how far music stretches and how music affects people everywhere. They get it. They actually get music. They might not speak the language but they actually get it. They can feel it.

Boogz and un

Young Rollin’ Stonerz is slated for release on November 25. It’s kind of an interesting collaborative project idea. What’s this one going to sound like and what can fans expect from it?

Prodigy: I did a deal with Boogz so he could promote his label and we decided to name the album to help push his brand. It’s just fun. When you listen to it it’s just fun music. It’s hardcore hip-hop but at the same time the energy that Boogz brings to it just enables me to create a lighter side of my writing aside from doing real dark hip-hop. [I’m] still sticking to my guns and being myself.

I’m going to always be myself but it’s just like making songs with Boogz–his personality alone, outside of the music, he’s just a fun person. He likes to joke around a lot, do pranks on motherfuckers so it comes out when he writes. You can tell, his music is just fun. He make that smoker music. Boogz comes from that skater world. He reminds me of my son. My son’s a skater, my son has the same sort of fun personality. That new foundation is just like they ain’t really about beefin’ and drama in hip-hop. They’re just about having fun and making money and doing what they do.

Boogz Boogetz: They can really expect the old school Mobb Deep sound as well as the new school sound that I’ve got with my whole movement–that whole new fresh sound. We’ve got a couple club joints on there but it’s mostly just vibing–something you can just kick back and drink something or smoke something to and just vibe with it. I want it to be something that people can ride out to and play from front to back and it’s just so chill.

Where does the inspiration for the album’s title come from because the “young” aspect doesn’t necessarily apply to Prodigy?

Boogz Boogetz: He’s trying to brand me and I’m trying to brand my movement myself. It’s also my label YRS Music Group so I’m just basically trying to brand myself as an artist and we thought it would be the perfect idea to name the album my movement just to get that branding and to let them know pretty much what you’re about. It’s not like Prodigy’s young because we know he not young. It just came from my movement and my team.

When did you start the process of making the album?

Boogz Boogetz: [It was] probably like a year-and-a-half ago. We had so many songs together and so many songs that have been released that aren’t even on the album as well. And we were like, “Yo let’s just put something together for an album.” We were originally doing an album with Harry Fraud. We’ve got a lot of joints with him as well but none of them is on the album ‘cause we doing that separate.

Boogz P 2

You’ve been affiliated with Prodigy and Mobb Deep and the Infamous camp for quite a while–you’ve been on their work, they’ve been on yours. How did you meet Prodigy?

Boogz Boogetz: [We met] through my older brother. A lot of people don’t know my older brother is Un Pacino. He put out an album with Prodigy…

Yeah the Product of the 80s joint…

Boogz Boogetz: Yep, so me being the little bro, I’m always in the studio with him and Prodigy just took a liking to me and my music. He seen that I was different. I was a skateboarder and not like every other average kid to meet in the hood. There was something about me [that was] special and we started working together.

What made you want to work with one another?

Prodigy: He used to come in the studio with his brother and he was a young kid, like probably 17 with his skateboard and his whole skater crew and then I seen him rapping too and I’m like, “Oh, word?” And he had an ill little style in him. When I came home from jail, I seen he was doing his thing so I was just like, “Yo son, what’s up?” He was like I got the YRS popping, I was like, “Aight, cool, let’s do a label deal for you then.” And that’s what we did.

Boogz Boogetz: I like his music and I like that when I’m in the studio with him we challenge each other like, “Well let’s do something like this.” So it’s hard spitting bars on a record with a legend. It’s huge for me. But besides that I just like his work ethic and the way he format his songs. His voice is very unique. I think the fans are going to love it because it’s two different styles mixed together. That’s really why I took a liking to his voice and format and his beat selection.

Do you maybe see a young Prodigy or a young Havoc in Boogz Boogetz?

Prodigy: Nah, I see a young Boogz Boogetz though. He’s his own artist. He’s not an artist that does something we do. Everybody’s an individual. That’s the reason I did a deal because he’s his own artist. It’s a different style of music than Mobb Deep but at the same time Boogz come from the hood, Boogz come from the projects in Far Rockaway so he still got that in him.

Boogz P 3

You mentioned earlier that we would be hearing the “old Mobb Deep” on this project. You have a different-type sound from his and you kind of represent a newer school vibe. How were you able to mesh that together because they are very different things?

Boogz Boogetz: It’s more about the beats. The beats we picked were dope for my sound and were dope for his sound so it blends together well. You might be like, “Boogz’ verse is hard on this one” or, “P’s is dope on this one.” It’s up to the fans to decide but I think it blends together well because it really hasn’t been done. We’re kind of putting it together like a Snoop Dogg and a Wiz [Khalifa] on an East Coast side of things, on a more gutter tip.

Do you think you brought Prodigy a little out of pocket with this collaboration?

Boogz Boogetz: Yeah definitely. When you hear Prodigy on “Pass Me By” it’s like a real pop-type commercial song but he still spitting that gutter Prodigy. The fans are going to love it.

Boogz, you’re from Far Rockaway so I’m sure you have a Queens connection with P. Aside from that though do feel a sense of obligation to carry on the Queens legacy because many wouldn’t consider it as strong currently as maybe it was in the ‘90s?

Boogz Boogetz: I don’t really look at it like that because I really think [this is] for the world and not one little town or one little block. I’m really thinking for the world. It’s not a burden on nothing on my shoulders because I’m not trying to compete with the greats like Nas. I’m just doing my own thing and creating my own lane.

Boogz Boogetz

You’ve worked with Wiz Khalifa, Ace Hood, Kid Ink and others so you’re semi used to working with headlining rappers aside from Prodigy. Tell us about some of those efforts.

Boogz Boogetz: Yeah it’s all genuine. The people I’ve worked with they know me personally. It’s not about no money or whatever it’s just real family. A lot of people, when they meet me, they know I’m a real cool dude so it’s just me being me and that’s what attracts other artists to me. And then the music as well. It’s like, “OK, he’s got the stoner wave but can also really still spit bars and he can still make a real good song.”

It’s also networking. I’ve been networking since I’ve gotten here. I’m always looking for the hot new up-and-coming artists. There’s lot of artists out now that I knew that was where they were going to be at before they even got there. I always reach out to the hot and up-and-coming people and that’s how I get a lot of my links. I might see something before everybody else does.

Who else have you been working with lately? I heard that you and Cormega were going to link and do some work together. Who all has Mobb Deep been working with?

Prodigy: Well I also did a deal with Rick Gonzalez. He’s a real dope rapper a lot of people might not know. His album will be coming real soon. We did a collaboration project with him and Statik Selectah we’ll be putting out soon that’s pretty dope. We got a couple videos out on YouTube like “The Realest” and a few other videos he did on his own. He’s definitely someone to look out for ‘cause Rick is like a rapper’s rapper, he got his own style too. He does what he do and he’s not concerned with following trends or none of that stuff. He sticks to his craft like the way he picks his beats, the song concepts or what he writes about so that’s why I did a deal with him ‘cause he was different.

I’ve got other projects too. I just dropped the Mobb Deep album. All of my solo albums is on Infamous [Records]. I’ve been talking to Nature and we just did a deal with him to put his next project out through Infamous. That’s it man, for now.

Prodigy

Are you and Havoc beginning to gear up for a new Mobb Deep album?

Prodigy: Yeah definitely. We got [a] Mobb Deep album always about to drop [laughs]. There’s never going to be a time where there’s a Mobb Deep album that ain’t on its way. We always working on that. That’s our bread and butter man. That’s our first love so we’re constantly working on Mobb Deep. Hav just dropped a solo project, 13 Reloaded, which is dope, y’all should check that out. But as far as Infamous, we got the Prodigy project coming. I’ve got another album I’m doing with Alchemist. I’ve got an album I’m doing with Harry Fraud that’s pretty dope. The Boogz album about to drop, the Rick Gonzalez album about to drop, Nature, that’s what we doing right now.

Word. Tell us a little more about the Harry Fraud and Alchemist joints.

Prodigy: Me and Al always do a collab album so definitely a new one is in the works. We ain’t put no titles out there or nothing like that, we’ve just been working on the music. It’s the same thing with the Harry Fraud album. Me and Fraud met in the studio when I came home. I did a few songs with French Montana when I first came back and I met Fraud in the studio and ever since then we’ve been doing a bunch of collabs together. We talked one day and was just like, “Yeah, let’s just do a whole album,” so we started working on that. We half way through it right now. That shit is pretty dope. He’s been in the studio working on French album so he’s been real busy so I’ve been keeping busy too.

P and Hav

Today happens to be the 18th anniversary of Hell On Earth’s release. I guess in honor, what were some of your favorite memories of creating that album?

Prodigy: It was a real dark time for us. It was a real bad time really. [There’s] not too many good memories about making that album except for the love for the music that we were making. Making those songs, all those songs came from a dark place. It was a lot of death happening around us…

Yeah that’s around the time Killa Black passed away…

Prodigy: Yeah, my father, Killa Black, a bunch of our friends, Twin [Gambino’s] brother. It was a crazy time for us so when I think about that album, I think of all the craziness. The only real silver lining was the music that came out of it because the music was created out of love for the music. We put a lot of anger into the music and it was an outlet to get it out so we was using it in a positive way I guess by doing that. We made an album that people love.

What’s next for you in the immediate future?

Boogz Boogetz: I’ve got a project with a producer group called The Mechanics. They do a lot of French Montana’s, Tory Lanez,’ Meek Mill’s producing. I’ve got a project I’m doing with KC Da Beatmoster. He makes beats for everybody but he also raps too and he’s dope. I think he’s going to be the next big dude out of Atlanta on a Young Thug, Future-type scale. I’m working on my solo project as well. I’ve also been doing a lot of R&B too. I’m just excited for the fans to hear it and see their reactions. I can’t wait.

Prodigy: Just getting the Infamous brand more popping with the merchandise and sales. On tour we was selling a lot of hoodies, shirts and hats and stuff like that. I started a book publishing company so just putting out more books in the near future. Steady work man, just steady on the grind.

Is there another Prodigy book over the horizon?

Prodigy: Yeah, plenty of them. I’ve got a whole bunch of novels I’m working on. I signed a bunch of authors, got a whole lot of books out right now man so we definitely trying to create our lane as far as the publishing goes with the books. [We want to] put these urban writers in a position where the can get they art popping as well.

Photos via Prodigy’s InstagramBoogz Boogetz’s Instagram

Related: Prodigy & Boogz Boogetz – Next Level + 40 Oz | Prodigy & Boogz Boogetz – Young Rollin Stonerz (Artwork)

Previously: Interview: Theophilus London “Vibes” with Kanye West & Leon Ware for Sophomore LP | Made in Ohio: Stalley & Rashad on Ohio Culture and Music | Happy 75th Birthday Queensbridge: The 75 Greatest QB Rap Songs | Interview: Diamond D Recalls Fat Joe & Lord Finesse’s Early Days, Says He was Stunned when Big L Passed | Interview: Sir Michael Rocks Talks Solo Identity, Banco, and Favorite Miami Strip Clubs | Interview: Big K.R.I.T. Updates Fans onCadillactica, Talks Studio Sessions with Lil Boosie and Jeezy

Catch up on all NahRight interviews and features HERE.


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