When The Pier found out that J Boog was going to be performing back-to-back nights in Denver, Colorado, no second guesses were needed to attend the shows. On the final night in the Mile High City, J Boog was kind enough to give The Pier a behind the scenes look at what is next to come from the soulful reggae artist.
This particular interview is special, because this was our first ever exclusive interview with J Boog. Secondly, J Boog’s tour manager, Anuwatu, gave us the green light to talk to Boog, following his performance and long after “Last Call” was shouted out at Cervantes’ Other Side in downtown Denver’s Five Points historical district. A big thank you has to be sent out to Wash House Music and everyone who made this interview happen. Without the assistance, the juicy details regarding Snoop Dogg or Snoop Lion, Collie Buddz, FIJI and J Boog’s first live performance might have been left in the dark for now.
ENJOY our conversation with J Boog…
The Pier: We really appreciate you taking the time out for The Pier, especially late after your set tonight. First things first, amazing performance tonight in Denver, but I have to ask, how did Denver get so lucky to have two nights, back-to-back, with J Boog and Hot Rain? J Boog: Well, actually the last time we were in Denver, here at Cervantes, we had two nights just like this. I really don’t know the real answer to give you, but we all enjoy Colorado. The shows here in Denver are always great. We have seen a lot of the same faces come back out. Denver has been really good to us in the past, so we had to show them the same love back too, you know?
The Pier: The show tonight was definitely memorable. Can you give us your impression singing in front of an audience for the first time back when you were only nine-years-old, compared to performing all these years later in front of a sold out crowd like tonight?
J Boog: A big difference between then and now was I am not being forced to sing! (Laughs) My mom pretty much kept beating it into me and said, “No. You are going to sing for the family reunion!” I was over there actually learning a Whitney Houston song, (“One Moment In Time”), with my sister, and that song was what I sang for the occasion. It was pretty nerve racking, man! I mean, the family loved it and everyone had a good time, but I didn’t think I was going to pick up singing. I didn’t really begin performing until after high school when I started performing at clubs here and there. We were pretty much just rapping and loving the music we played back then.
The Pier: Now, you were born in Long Beach, California and raised in Compton, when you started performing at a few clubs, do you remember some of the first venues that you performed at?
J Boog: I think the first one was at The Vault in Long Beach. No… never mind, there was a club in Los Angeles… I can’t think of the name right now, and it wasn’t a club on Sunset, but in L.A. Man, I can’t think of the name, but The Vault in L.B. was definitely one of the first spots that the shows got a little bigger.
The Pier: Speaking of shows getting bigger, your career really started to take shape after meeting FIJI. Talk about your interaction with him, and how he influenced your career moving forward.
J Boog: I actually went out to Hawaii when I was working at the time just to go meet them. We went to a show and had a chance to meet them backstage, and they actually knew some of the friends we were with. Then we started talking about the mix tapes we did, which were really only big in our local scene and our people. But, eventually he got a hold of it and really liked it. Then pretty much the next morning he took me out to the barbershop and basically, I sang in front of the whole company. The next week we started recording Hear Me Roar. Really, FIJI has been a mentor to me ever since. We always looked up to him growing up, his music is amazing, and still is to this date. It’s been great to have him there to work with.
The Pier: Both you and FIJI are under the Wash House Music label, and recently their premiere studio is now housed in Oahu. From what all the talk is, everything inside the studio is top of the line equipment, and it’s tough to find a better spot to record an album. Now be honest, is that your own personal recording playground?
J Boog: (Laughs) It’s an amazing place. You know, we all live over there now and it is pretty much our place to use whenever needed. But, later on in the year we are actually going to be opening up the studio to the public and the people on the North Shore of Oahu. They’ll get to come in experience what we have to record with and see the whole layout. I love it in there, and we get a lot of work done. It is really a great place for us to do what we need to get done and to make the best record possible.
The Pier: From what we heard recently, Collie Buddz was just out there in Oahu and made a little stop in the studio, while filming a music video for his new single. Now, can we expect a potential J Boog and Collie Buddz collaboration in the future? J Boog: Definitely. You know, we were over at the house working on it and doing a few things. He is out on tour right now. I am out on tour right now with Hot Rain. Once we all get back from tour we will definitely get back to it. We were already over there talking about it and getting some work in, but we will be doing something for the new album, for sure.
The Pier: Along the lines of collaborations, awhile back there were some rumors about you and Snoop Dogg or as he is known as now, Snoop Lion, doing a collaboration together. Were those false or was there some truth to that story?
J Boog: They weren’t rumors at all. We actually did a song together. Yeah, we did. We recorded the album already. We’re on tour now, but when we get back we will just finish some things up to get everything together. Definitely after this tour we will clean everything up. You know, record a couple more songs to add in. Right now we have a few guys from Europe on the album, like Silly Walks and Addis. There will definitely be a new album coming out pretty soon for everyone to hear.
The Pier: With you having collaborated with some of these European artists for the upcoming album and in the past with Morgan Heritage and The Royal Family of Reggae, how well are you received in Europe for your live performances?
J Boog: We do pretty well over there. I mean we are alright and well received in Europe. I can’t wait to bring all of these guys out there with me… The Hot Rain Band, Siaosi, and all of the boys, though. You know, the last few times we went out there we only really did DJ shows and that kind of stuff. We were just actually out there for Summer Jam in Germany and it was a great show. Collie Buddz was there and a couple others like SOJA and Groundation. It was a really big show and the crowd was into it. It was crazy! But, definitely the next time we hit Europe we got to bring the whole crew out there to make it even bigger.
The Pier: Now, another pretty big festival in the United States is California Roots, and you were one of the main headlining acts this past year. Just recently you were up in Monterey, California again to be the lone headliner of their fall festival. Will we be seeing you again in 2013 performing on one of the three days?
J Boog: Oh, it is a little soon to say anything about that, but I do like it up in Monterey. It has become like a second home to me, playing up there so much recently. Those guys always put on a great show for everyone. They’re pushing it to three-days this year? Last year was pretty wild, so I can only imagine what this year would be like. If it were possible we would love to bring everyone up there again.
The Pier: Just to bring everyone up to speed on the latest with J Boog, you just released a brand new single this month. Give us a little background on the track.
J Boog: The song is called “Smoking Bomb Bud”. That is actually a remake of an old song by DJ Quik. We were just paying homage to him and give it with a new twist. That was one of my favorite songs growing up. So, we just did a new version of it with all of the high grade, you know?
The Pier: Nice. Now, just to wrap it up, if you had your choice for a tour in support of your upcoming album what three bands would you take out on tour to share the stage with?
J Boog: Oh, man! Well, definitely Hot Rain. I would have to take these guys out, you know? (Laughs) Damn, The Green would be there too. To have Anuhea out would be pretty cool! Another one I would have to bring out on tour with us is the Common Kings. They are pretty great live, if you haven’t checked them out. If that tour could happen, it would get crazy every night!
The Pier: Well, if that tour happened, I think there would be more than a few satisfied music fans. J Boog, I appreciate the time after your show tonight. We all look forward to some new music in the near future! Thank you!
J Boog: Oh, no. Thank you. We love the support!
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Interview By: Kris Siuta
Photos By: Amanda Zancanella & David Norris
Watch: J Boog – “It’s So Hard” ft. FIJI and Sanga
Watch: Collie Buddz – “Won’t Be Long” with footage of J Boog & Collie Buddz