The New Parish in uptown Oakland is structured like an architect with a cruel sense of humor wanted patrons to feel like they were in a maze. There are multiple passageways to the same room, pitch black stairways, hidden doors, and doors that seemingly weren’t designed to open at all. After scouring the area, Boogie and his manager find a deck that doubles as a place for both privacy and fresh air. The random crevice of the jumbled up building is perfect for the moment, just like that madman of an architect surely intended.
The 27-year-old rapper born Anthony Dixson is reserved, but eager to talk. He’s dressed in a fresh pair of red, lowtop Sk8-Hi Vans, a matching red dad hat and a brand new olive hoodie from bay area clothing line Breezy Excursion to offset the ensemble. Boogie speaks with a slight lisp and if it’s supposed to somehow deter his confidence it doesn’t, he talks firmly and quickly, like he thinks he has a limited time to say everything on his mind, so we start at the beginning.
“The church was where I feel in love with melodies, because they had us singing all the time,” he told me before his headlining set on the Pigeons and Planes No Ceilings tour stop in Oakland. “Then I started doing little gospel raps, then we realized we was in Compton and them gospel raps wasn’t cutting it so we kind of transitioned from that.”
For most, church is where they go to find God and faith. For Boogie, that’s where he found music and the Bloods, and those discoveries might have saved his life and put him on the path to become Compton’s next great emcee.
“All the gang members went to this church in Compton,” he recalled about an hour before he’s set to hit the stage. “I started hanging with them after church, we went to this neighborhood and I just never looked back. I was stuck there.”
Boogie turned heads and earned plenty of new ears with his last LP Thirst 48: Part II. It was hailed by many as one of the best rap releases of 2016, and even earned him a cosign from Rihanna herself.
“I feel like she definitely opened a lot of doors for me,” he said of her posting a clip of his “N*gga Needs” video on her Instagram. “I was signed for two years, and when she posted that I only had like 15,000 followers. I got like 80,000 in just a couple of hours. That just shows you the power of Rihanna, and I love her for that because she didn’t have to do that.”