We caught up with Brooklyn rapper HOA Bossman in New York last week to discuss his life, show experiences and new album ‘Don’t‘ which includes some records we have supported on SNY. The gritty, hype and House of Aura album was released mid December which continues to receive a lot of great reactions. With production from Wondagurl, WordNerd, Yung Hiri and the man himself to name a few, you get an overall understanding of how creative he is and how hands on he is with his career — hence the name Bossman.
Having the knowledge of catering to the true taste-makers (women), he charmingly drifts into smooth records such as “Be The One” and “Not The Only One” that chips away the all gritty persona from the House of Aura co-creator. What’s life without balance? He gets back to his New York side with rowdy yet colorful records “Looking To Escape” & “Whole Team” that will motivate you to not only become a better leader in your crew, but put you in the mood to hit the gym aggressively. The entire project ‘Don’t‘ is filled with visuals that walk you through Brooklyn and HOA Bossman’s perspective about work ethic, loyalty and love. Check out the interview we have below and stream his project which features Theo Ferragamo, Bridget Perez, CJ Williams and more!
SouthernNewYorker.com: The records you have put out have solely been placed around your hometown Brooklyn. What can we expect from this project and what was the creative process behind it?
HOA Bossman: I write about my life and my whole life is in Brooklyn. I don’t really go many places and when I do that’s home. I don’t know how to write anything else other than that. Out of this project the whole idea of ‘Don’t‘ was based on the mood I was in. I don’t want to be bothered, I don’t want anybody annoying me, don’t bother – just don’t. Every time someone was hitting me up in the process of this project I would reply with “don’t.” I didn’t want to speak. I really just wanted to focus on me and it’s funny because I was working on a project for iTunes, which I’m going to drop next year. While working on that, I made this in three weeks and this wasn’t a planned thing. So I just hope that people like that.
SNY: You mentioned chemtrails in one of your records. Do you believe in conspiracy theories that try to control the masses?
HB: Some to extent I believe in anything, I like reading it. I definitely have my little homeboys Yung Hiri and Chemical Ape they’re from Rochester, New York and they rap big about chemtrails. They’re the ones that got me on it because I didn’t know too much about it. It’s believable and it’s kind of funny because every time I look up a conspiracy there’s always somebody talking about it that I’d never expect. There’s an interview with Prince where’s he’s talking about chemtrails and he’s from Indianapolis I think. So he’s like, “Yeah why do you think people in your neighborhood start arguing and fighting?” I started thinking about it, like damn that’s crazy! It’s kind of true because you see trails in the sky and then next week you see everybody fighting. I believe in it, I think it’s very interesting it’s always good to read and learn about stuff. Even if it’s not true or some of it doesn’t make sense.
SNY: Considering your project is called “Don’t”. What are three things you don’t do if you’re a tourist coming to Brooklyn for the first time?
HB: You don’t come to Brooklyn, nah I’m kidding you can come. Don’t come anywhere past Broadway Junction, Franklin, Brownsville, Bed-stuy. Don’t be outside while you’re out here. There’s so many don’ts to do, honestly if you don’t know somebody don’t be there. I stand big on that no matter where you are. I’m not going to go to whoever reads this, go to their city and be like “Yeah I’m in your hood!” No, that’s just not what I’m going to do. Just don’t do that, don’t be flashy. There’s no need to ever be flashy in my city, don’t get me wrong you can do that in the city, but just don’t bother it’s no point. Don’t ask for directions because nine times out of ten somebody is going to steer you wrong and you’re going to get into some s—t. So have your Google Maps ready.
SNY: How has your journey in music shaped you as a man and artist?
HB: I’m still a young boy honestly, I think I’m charming young man now. Nah, I’m kidding. I was having this debate the other day with my friend because there’s no difference between my rap name and my real name. It’s the same person it’s just an alias because it’s hard to tell your mom the issues you’re going through. It’s easier to tell her through a phone where you don’t have to see her face to face. Now picture you ever getting to do this on a track under a different alias she might not ever here. So I would say it’s all a growing process. All together from recording to living life, it’s all me just trying to be a better person. I grew up fast, I was young and had to be the man of the house. I kind of started learning as it goes.
SNY: I have seen some footage of your live performances. Do you have any memorable or funny stories that accompanied those shows?
HB: There’s so many, I’m very blessed and lucky to be even doing any shows. I don’t know so let me bring up one show that was pretty funny. I performed at the Brooklyn Museum in my hometown with six thousand people in the parking lot. It was really fun, but Shaggy performed after me. Remember Shaggy? He came out and performed right after me and grabbed the mic to perform “It Wasn’t Me.” It was f—ing amazing in my eyes, but it was the weirdest thing ever. I remember I had a show with Pro Era and this before Capital Steez died. That was really a good night because it was my first time I seen every artist in Brooklyn actually in a room that wasn’t on no fake s—t involved. We all cyphered, we smoked and chilled it was good. That was a great show too. There’s a lot of good memories in shows. I think the best things that happened in shows I would have my pre-turn up or warm up and now I don’t drink or smoke as much, but I would zone out, getting pumped or hyped. I would just run the f—k on stage and just try to break my leg. I just try to really lose it all on stage. There’s a show when I stage dived when I opened up for Odd Future at Webster Hall and that was f—king crazy! I really never because I’m a big guy so stage diving isn’t a thing for me, but one of my first times doing it at my own show. That night was just crazy and awesome because Frank Ocean showed up.
SNY: How did House of Aura come about?
HB: Well House of Aura is a media website that I co-own and co-created with my friends. Honestly my boy Cary reached out to me and said “I want you on this project we’re doing.” We already knew each other and before I was a rapper I was just a Twitter n—ga who had a lot of followers who did a lot of dumb s—t. It was just one of those things where I had something going. So, Ray, Cary, Kobie and OD (O’Neil) who approached me and said “Yo, you wanna get on this website?” I was like you know what I’m not doing anything better with my life, let’s do this! It was something positive and we created the media website. My main thing is that it’s a platform for underground artists that we like. I don’t do posts, but when I did and was blogging for that site I really would put up what I liked. Not because you’re my friend, but because I would surf the internet and would be like “this is dope!” That’s kind of how I know a lot of artists now because I was f—king with them before I even rapped. What was good is that I always wanted to rap so when I finally got a chance to rap, I was like “Oh I have my own platform so I don’t have to hit anybody up.” It just worked out perfectly, so I think if Cary would have never hit me up I think my life would have been very different. I probably wouldn’t be here right now.
SNY: What are your keys or idea of success?
HB: Shout out to DJ Khaled we got to say that first. He’s the greatest f—king person on earth. Success, it’s a funny thing. I think you define your own success, I think everybody has their own views on it. You can look at someone and think, “He ain’t successful.” But that might be his definition so you can’t really judge it. My definition would be honestly being able to feed my family and traveling the world off music. It doesn’t matter if I’m number one on the radio, I don’t care about that kind of s—t. I care about just rapping about my life and delivering a message to tell people they don’t have to be like me or even go through it. I love people that relate to it, I appreciate them the most because they know what I’m talking about. My success is feeding my family off of music, having a good time and touring. I love doing shows, shows is my therapy just like music. It’s all therapy for me, so thank you for paying twenty dollars to get into my shows. That’s like my therapy session, so now I don’t have to pay a therapist. So that’s basically my success, not having to pay a therapist.
SNY: You said something similar to Jay Z verse I once heard. Who are your top three music influences and why?
HB: I love music too much music to pick just a small list. Like Biggie is up there of course, Biggie is me, I am Biggie. That is Bedstuy, he explained my whole life before I got to even live it to some extent. Don’t get me wrong there’s different paths, but we’ve basically seen the same s—t. I mean Hov of course too, that’s a dude that literally I grew up down the same block from his building. I remember being a kid seeing him shoot videos in the projects. I’m growing up in the 90s and I’m seeing him pulling up in Bentley’s with Dame Dash. That’s super inspirational that I got to see it in person. I don’t know top three I would say Biggie, Jay and myself. I inspire myself that I’m still here and that I’m paying my mom’s rent off of music. What’s more inspiring than that? I’m sorry to every other rapper that I left out and it’s not just rapping. I like Kurt Cobain, My Chemical Romance, Wolfgang Puck, Mozart, Deftones, I’m sorry I can go on and on, but if we had to stick to rap those would be my top three.
SNY: Lastly, what can we expect from you at the top of 2016?
HB: I’m just panning things out as it goes before this project ‘Don’t‘ I didn’t drop a project since October 2014 and that led me all the way to now. It’s about to basically about to be 2016 and I went a year and a month without dropping a project. I think I’m more focused on making timeless music because people don’t make s—t timeless and don’t take the time to review things. There’s one thing that I never understood is how people can make album reviews in a day. Like you didn’t grow with it. My main focus is dropping more timeless music. I’m definitely going to drop an album on iTunes next year, not sure when, but I have tons of stuff ready to go. I was with Hannibal King two days ago, who is a great producer out of New York. He’s produced for Mac Miller, Joey Badass and Casey Veggies. I’m working with him and I have a song with him that’s actually done. So I have to go back in the lab in probably two weeks after New Year’s. I don’t know ain’t no telling. Hopefully in 2016 the people that read this can decipher where my future is going to be. Hopefully they can buy tickets and get me on a tour. Make my life different, it’s not much that I can really do, but make music. It’s really up to the people to actually do something with it.