On a countdown to his new album, Westside Boogie looks back at difficult times that paved his way to success and how he felt a kindred spirit in Eminem from the very first meeting.

Boogie sat down with Smooth Vega to talk about his career, with all its ups and downs, and lessons he learned. Boogie is an example of an artist whose talent was spotted by a big corporation and nearly went to oblivion because of mismanagement. Only his dedication to pursuing his craft regardless of circumstance helped him going – and a well-timed call from Eminem with an offer to sign to Shady Records:

My manager at the time didn’t really know what to do with me, and we didn’t really know how to work records. So, I was kind of being shelved on Interscope for two years. That was tough for me, going through the ups and downs of being signed. All my friends thinking I’m super rich, but I was barely able to take care of my kid at that time, and I was signed to one of the biggest labels in the world.

That was tough for me, but it was humbling. One day, my A&R at Interscope was like, “Bro, we have to figure something out. It’s that management group coming out, called LVRN, and I really feel you’ll mesh good with them”. And at the same time, I randomly got a call from Eminem. I don’t know how the universe did that to me or why it did for me, but I think it’s my constant belief in myself and just not giving up. Got a call from Eminem. He said he wanted to meet me. Flew me out to Detroit. And next thing you know, I was signed to Eminem. Had new management with LVRN. It happened so fast. I wish I could give a formula to other artists. To tell them, “That’s what you gotta do to get to this point”. But there is no formula. Everybody’s steps are different. Everybody’s story is gonna be different. The consistent thing is the “not giving up” part and having a consistent belief in yourself. And I feel like the universe pays you back when you do that.

Boogie’s first encounter with Eminem was a nerve-wracking experience. Until they started discussing music and lyrics. And then the Compton rapper finally saw him not as a superstar, but as a flawed and alive human being, an absolute hip hop enthusiast:

We went to the studio in Detroit. It’s always the same thing: “Marshall’s ready for you now”, “Marshall’s ready to see you”. He’s like a freaking president. And that’s the part that made me nervous. But Eminem is dope. Before I met him, I was like, “Ugh, he’s one of the biggest rappers ever, he is not gonna act like a human”. But then, when I met him, he was like just another person trying to figure life out, and that’s dope to me.

What makes it dope, it’s him knowing the real album cuts that are not popular for people — he knew those songs. He was telling me details about those songs and certain rhyme schemes I did. When I said something about “Me and my shorty was missing the beat, we had to go get our rhythm in sync”, he was like, “Yeah! When you come up with lines like that, and it makes sense, and there is bars — that’s the best thing ever”. I was like, “Oh, I love him”. He really cares about the craft.

The host asked if it was true that Marshall has a specially assigned day when he goes on the YouTube binge to listen to new music. Boogie did not contradict this statement, he only wanted to emphasise that for Eminem, it is not a lazy curiosity, he is surveying a competition:

He is still competitive, that’s why. He’s not going there to support, he’s going to kill everybody. That’s what he’s doing. That’s what’s amazing about him. He ain’t lost this spirit.

And, of course, there was a question about Boogie’s upcoming album. The long time the “Rainy Days” has been making his sophomore Shady Project is a running joke now. However, it also shows that Shady artists have the freedom to work at a convenient pace and are not being pushed by the production schedule:

The beauty of working with Shady is that they just let me do my thing. He just waits for me to bring my new music to him. He does not put too much pressure on me, and that’s what is dope about it. An album is done, I believe so. But I still have to go to the final Eminem stage to get past him. I played the album to him a couple of months ago. My problem is I always hate my songs from a couple of months ago. I’m always critiquing myself, always on to the next song. I can make a bunch of songs and be ready to put them out the next week. But then the next month Imma be in another headspace, and Imma be making another bunch of songs. I probably have five to ten albums because of that.

Later, when Boogie finds peace with them, a vast collection of unreleased tracks might come in handy. Meanwhile, his second Shady Records album is almost there. The project already has a title, but Boogie refused to reveal it on camera.

Watch the interview below:

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