A Boogie wit da Hoodie saw his mother suffer an injury when 16 SWAT officers filed a search warrant and raided his New Jersey home in December 2020. He remembers seeing men with heavy firearms burst through the door with his mother rushing down the stairs, not knowing what would happen to her family.
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She rolled her ankle falling down the steps, and while writhing in pain, the SWAT team paid her no mind and continued with their search. Boogie was helpless seeing his mother in distress while the ice, cold handcuffs touched his wrists, and it was an image that still sits with him today.
“That’s what really woke me up,” Boogie tells Billboard. “When I seen Mom Dukes fall down the stairs that day, bro. I’m looking up to see what was coming behind her, and all I seen was a flashlight, and whatever kind of chopper those SWAT teams have. It was crazy, and I just froze up. I couldn’t do anything.”
Following the incident, Boogie reflected on the direction of his career and realized he needed clarity to help remove the turmoil away from his life. Isolation became essential to his growth as he took a hiatus from releasing music and honed in on his latest album, Me Vs. Myself. Released last month, Boogie charged his way into his fourth Billboard 200 top 10 album, debuting at No. 6
The 22-track album was stacked with features from H.E.R., Kodak Black, Roddy Ricch, Lil Durk, G Herbo, and Tory Lanez. Despite the starry guest list, it’s Boogie’s penchant for sticky melodies and punchy quips that kept fans enthralled during the hour-run marathon.
“In the beginning of this album, I purposely put myself through things to make the music, and I hated that about myself,” says Boogie. “I started the process thinking that I had to battle myself — like, have a rap song here, then sing here — but I started losing inspiration and experienced writer’s block for the first time in my career.
“I eventually learned when you don’t want something to happen, it hits more and I learned that through isolation,” he continues. “I didn’t want that raid to happen, but it woke me up. And even with the little things, anything can happen in your life that drastically changes everything, like how you approach things.”
Along with the raid, Boogie lost one of his closest friends in the industry when PnB Rock was murdered in September, during a robbery at Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles in Los Angeles..
To honor his friend, Boogie released a deluxe edition of his new album with one lone new cut, featuring PnB, with all the proceeds going to his family. The record was the last one the “Selfish” rapper sent to Boogie, days before his untimely passing.
“PnB’s death hit home for me because there was a time neither of us could even get a $1000 for a club walkthrough,” says Boogie. “When it comes to someone close to me passing away, it’s hard, but I can’t lose focus because I have to be responsible and find the balance to deal with those tough losses so I can properly help out in any way I can. Isolation helped with that. I didn’t realize how good isolating myself was until I saw how much time I was spending with family and how good that made me feel. When I got back in the studio, ideas were just flowing — and that was important, because I speak through my music.”
With all that’s happened to him in the last two years, Boogie is entering a chapter in his career that’s defined by growth with Me vs. Myself. He also hopes that his listeners can take that same idea away from the project.
“I want this album to motivate people to do things that make them the best versions of themselves,” says Boogie. “I’m showing you what can happen when you separate yourself from distractions. I want somebody to hear this project while they training to be the next best boxer, the next best basketball player — whatever is [they] could do, I want them to be the best at.”
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