(AllHipHop Features) Four years ago, Maryland based artist Bobby Hagens dropped his debut mixtape My Beautiful Mind. The 15-track project was an interesting examination of the budding rhymer’s mental and emotional state.
After pushing MBM, Hagens decided to take a self-imposed hiatus from releasing a body of work. The break allowed Bobby to discover his true artistic vision. The DMV native is now back to creating in full force, and he assures the fresh collection of songs about to hit the internet has a higher ratio of top-notched tunes.
“I’m a realist. My Beautiful Mind was my first tape. I literally just started making music at that time,” Hagens confesses to AllHipHop.com. “I try to compare my music to people that’s already on and the music that fan’s love. I didn’t feel like at that juncture my music was as good as I know it could be, so I took time away to work on my craft. I didn’t want to be the guy that gives you 5, 6, 7, or 8 mixtapes. I wanted to give you quantity over quality.”
Before Bobby was a recording artist, his first personal experiences in Hip Hop culture centered around battle rapping as a 15-year-old high school student. Those competitive encounters were not necessarily considered precursors to a music career at the time.
There were also moments where Hagens would just practice putting words together with family members for fun. However, an early invite to the studio from a cousin went unanswered, and it seemed rap would be nothing more than a hobby for the teen. That changed when Bobby eventually tried his hand at rhyming over a Kanye West/No I.D. produced beat.
“The first verse I ever wrote was to Jay Z’s ‘Run This Town.’ The first time I did it I said, ‘I could do this for the rest of my life.’ After that day, I took it more seriously. I started working,” recalls Hagens.
While Hov’s 2009 Rock-sampling hit from The Blueprint 3 is heavily featured in the Bobby Hagens origin story, the introspective emcee’s sound is more reminiscent of the soulful style of the original The Blueprint. Like Jay’s Reasonable Doubt, lyrical ability is also an important part of Bobby’s brand of artistry.
Two other Grammy-winning Hip Hop acts that rose to prominence in the 1990’s serve as inspirations as well. Hagens acknowledges a member of The Fugees and one half of OutKast for stirring his musical ambitions.
“I was raised on Lauryn Hill and Andre 3000. Those people changed my life, so when I do music that’s what I’m trying to do,” Hagens states. “I’m not a Trap guy, so I’m not going to rap about the trap. All my music is personal and real, and I pride myself on that.”
Hagens is now raising a child of his own. The doting dad uses his Instagram account to highlight special moments with 1-year-old daughter Bobbi Madison. Captions for the photos include Papa Bobby honoring his seed for motivating his growth.
“Fatherhood changed me completely. That was the best thing to ever happen to me,” says Hagens. “Before I had a daughter, I understood family, but I didn’t understand how important it was. Everything I do now is for her.”Up next for the rising rhymer is the birth of hisalbum which is set to arrive in June. Even though he has an earlier work in his catalog, Hagens is approaching Colors as if it is his first project.Bobby was barely drinking age when he began working on 2012’s My Beautiful Mind. Looking back at that release now, the performer is not ashamed to admit he was not prepared for the industry affairs that come along with constructing and promoting a mixtape. Hagens and his team studied the successes and miscues of rap stars that have already garnered significant exposure. The proper business preparation this go around allowed Bobby to focus on making Colors the noteworthy LP he plans for it to be.
“Creatively, I feel like I’m in the best space possible. I finished the album a while ago. I can’t wait for people to hear Colors. I feel like it went to a whole other level lyrically,” Hagens conveys. “I’m just trying to get better every single day, so I feel like we’re all happy were we are.”Listeners can get an idea of where Bobby is headed musically by checking out his recent collaboration with R&B vocalist BJ The Chicago Kid. The Motown signee joined the Washington, DC area spitter for “Lost Wild.”“We sent [BJ] three tracks, and asked him, ‘If you’re feeling any of them, can you do one for us?’ Everyone else said he was going to do ‘Lost Wild,’ but I thought he was going to do something else. It came out dope. We got a great response,” says Hagens.He continues, “Some people may have only listened to the song, because it was BJ. That’s cool. The thing was for us to showcase our talent. I feel like we really did on that song.”In addition, Bobby let loose another single titled “Blessed Up.” The song’s ghostly production was juxtaposed with its creator’s hook about the power of prayer.The 301 representative calls on the Lord to bless his n-ggas. At the same time, he informs his potential foes they don't have the capability to prevent the divine intervention that's directing his life. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. No matter which way it goes, I’m happy. That’s where the 'Blessed Up' idea came from,” explains Hagens. “Even if you’re stressed over bills or family issues, if you have breath in your lungs, you’re blessed. You can’t let anyone block that. At the end of the day, we’re blessed up.”
Hagens puts a lot into the Almighty’s hands, but he also follows the Biblical concept of “faith without works is dead.” The 26-year-old artisan is actively completing the action that is required to reach whatever destined outcome is ordered for him. In Bobby’s eyes, that end result will hopefully be sitting among the masters of his profession.
“I think once people are able to sit with the album, it’s going to take a nice turn. It’s whatever God wants me to be at the time. I just follow God’s word,” says Hagens. “I want to be one of the greatest when it’s all said and done. For now, I’m just putting the work in. It’s just the beginning. We don’t know where we’re going to be. We know where we want to be - the top.”
[ALSO READ: #DMVOnTheMove: Jay IDK Is Expanding His Tribe Of Supporters By Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge]
Read other installments of AllHipHop’s #DMVOnTheMove series here.