Boo: Birds Fly South

Mississippi’s place in the pantheon of Black music is well-documented. Jazz, Gospel and the Blues all trace their roots along the dusty paths and dirt roads of the Magnolia State. Hip-Hop has heard from this area in the country before. Boo’s brand of Hip-Hop is hard-edged, forceful and delivered with the sound and spirit of the South. Canton, MS is a hamlet of a town about 16 miles north of Jackson with a 75% Black population and is the breeding ground for Royal Dollar/J Records’ newest signee, Boo Rossini aka Boo the Boss Playa.

Boo’s small-town charm coupled with a machismo that belies a true Southern gentleman makes him an interesting interview subject. He speaks open and honestly about his trials and tribulations as a struggling independent artist and newly signed artist to a major label. He also discusses the personal tragedies that influence his rhymes and his own place in Hip-Hop. His is truly a story of perseverance, dedication, effort and belief in one’s own abilities to succeed and improve his lot in life.

Boo is a veteran of the game. Having released five independent albums on his own imprint, One Life, One Love Records, he understands the ins and outs of the recording industry. Connections with notable produces such as Swizz Beatz and Mannie Fresh enhanced his opportunities. His album, tentatively titled 1 Life, 1 Love, is set for release in late April or early May of this year. As for now, the MC is fine-tuning the tracks that will appear on the album and is just beginning to make his presence felt nationwide. caught up with Boo in the ATL working on the album. Ten years after David Banner put Mississippi on the map, will Boo give the state its second star? Tell me about your rise from underground independent artist to the J Records deal. How did that happen?

Boo: Well, I was really wit Interscope at first. I had already dropped five independent albums and a couple of mixtapes. I had already pushed units independently. Steve Stoute and Jimmy Iovine at Interscope asked, “What’s it gonna take [to get you signed to Interscope]?” We inked the deal and then internal problems pushed me back, so I got a release from Interscope and dropped another independent album, Block 2 Block. Royal Dollar Records outta Miami heard it and wanted to do a joint venture. They hooked me up with Swizz Beatz, who in turn got me the meeting with Clive [Davis]. I rapped on the spot for him and some executives and they offered me a deal on the spot. Are you excited about this deal?

Boo: Naw. I’m waitin’ on the album to drop. I seen too many deals that don’t amount to nothin’. When the album drops, then it’s real! You’re described as “highly lyrical”. That’s not normally associated with southern MC’s. What makes you so lyrical?

Boo: Depends on the character and personality. I wanna be the best, so I think about what I’m sayin. I think it out. The Mississippi Delta has deep roots in Black music. How does growing up on the delta affect your music?

Boo: I grew up with Blues, Gospel and Jazz, and the love for music was there from day one. My peoples had that music around and that’s where I got my inspiration, musically.

As for rap, Pimp C, Bun B, 8Ball and MJG, Suave House all taught me bout the independent side of this industry. Indie love is strong in the South, [so] I applied the same hustle on the streets and made music. What would you say to cats who have never heard of Boo in terms of what to expect from your music?

Boo: All of me! My hardships, going against the odds, makin’ somethin’ outta nuthin’. I’ma stand-up n***a, [and I realize that there’s] more than [just] me going through this s**t. All of that is in the record. How would you describe your style?

Boo: Reality rap, 100% real. You don’t read a book on how to hustle and can’t pick it up by copying nobody’s style. I [was] hands on with [hustling and making this record]. My swagger is clear. Do you see any similarities between the ill streets of Mississippi and what you’ve seen in other parts of the country?

Boo: All hoods are the same. Some might be bigger. The slang may change, [but] you always run into the same people wherever you go. Brothas and sistas are the same. Jeezy and me go way back before the music. N***as are the same. [We’re] all going against the odds. Mississippi is not considered a hotbed of Hip-Hop music. What difficulties did you face with trying to get your voice heard first in Mississippi and later throughout the country?

Boo: I learned to stay in your own lane. My album will be balanced. [It] tries to touch different emotions. Like a got a song called “Sparkling”. I f**k with the females as well as the n***as. This is a well-rounded album. Let’s talk about the upcoming album, 1 Life, 1 Love. It has production credits by Swizz Beatz, Jazze Pha, David Banner, Mannie Fresh, Lil Cee and a host of Hip-Hop’s hottest producers. How’d y’all hook up?

Boo: [I’m] tryin’ to make a classic. I been surrounded by a lot of negativity. My best friend was shot by one of my best friends. [My] aunt was shot in the middle of downtown [Canton, Mississippi]. Just a lot of negativity. People that I love catchin’ trouble wit the feds.

Certain songs make you feel a particular way. [I] put something out there where I know that some dude is going through the same s**t. [A classic record] is a guide through life. I buy n***as’ albums because they touchin s**t that I felt. So, I wanted to do the same thing [with 1 Life, 1 Love]. The first major label release and your independent record label have the same name. How was your label affected by the J Records deal?

Boo: The label is still going. [It’s] the movement. “Down 4 My Block” is the movement. It’s the history of a hustle. [I] lost a lot of people. That’s why it’s “one life, one love”. [You] only live once and what you know…that’s one love! [I’m] tryin’ to get on and pull up other people. What’s on the horizon for Boo in 2007?

Boo: The album drops in April or May. I’m tryin’ to make 07 better than last year. Make my situation better. I’ma grind harder in ’07.

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