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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist w/ over a decade of experience. Lover of good music, fringe movies, day baseball & chicken shawarma. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Boaz
Monday, December 03, 2007

In a small city on the eastside of Pittsburgh called Larimer one will find Boaz, one of Pennsylvania’s hardest working MCs. Boaz has a long and storied history in the Steel City. “I grew up here,” he explains, “and I’ve never lived another place a day in my life.” Coming up in Larimer became his inspiration to start rapping as, according to Boaz, living in Larimer provided more than enough to talk about. This week Boaz shares some of those stories with me as I sit down with him to discuss the Pittsburgh Hip-Hop scene, recording with Sean Price and Trife da God, and what listeners can expect from his latest work, The Phenomenal.

Adam Bernard: You are from Pittsburgh, PA, home of the Steelers. I don't know much about the area, but it seems most of the Hip-Hop in PA is located in Philly. Is there a scene in Pittsburgh? What's your city's identity when it comes to Hip-Hop and how has it developed over the years?
Boaz: The Hip-Hop area in Pittsburgh is a small one but it is growing. Over the past few years there has been a fairly big stir up on the Hip-Hop scene with locals tying to create a name for themselves, but in my opinion that is all a lot of people are trying to do, create a name, as opposed to me and my dudes trying to start a career.

Adam Bernard: You mention your team, but I hear you recently went solo. What group were you in and what led to your decision to go it alone?
Boaz: It wasn’t that I recently went solo it was just the group thing gave me a wider audience and created a bigger buzz for me. So it wasn’t nothing I had to be decisive about when doing my own thing. I’m just focused right now being in a position to make some things happen and ready to take full advantage. It’s like whatever pops off first it don’t matter either way, it works out for everybody. Big ups to the group, though, Govament Gang. You know what it is, we family.

Adam Bernard: What have been some of the biggest differences in recording and writing as a solo artist versus being in a group dynamic?
Boaz: It’s just more work as a soloist. You have to compose everything yourself, where as opposed to working together as a group you just have to put in your small input and it should all come together in a collective process.

Adam Bernard: Tell me about your latest mix-CD, The Phenomenal, what you're offering up with it, what makes it different from all the other rap albums out there, and why Hip-Hop heads should give it a spin.
Boaz: The production is official, the rhymes is bananas, and it’s put together like an album and it’s only a mixtape. I put a lot into my music and try to keep it artful, it’s not just something I put together for a paycheck, it’s like a recording of my diary. So if you’re a real Hip-Hop head I think you will most definitely enjoy it.

Adam Bernard: You've collaborated with quite a few major artists. When you go into the studio with a Sean Price or a Trife da God what kind of extra boost of energy does it give you? If possible, paint me a picture of what one of these recording sessions is like.
Boaz: I really wouldn’t say it was different than any other session. It’s just when I invite somebody to do something for me I try to have the music already prepped to their specifications to make their job as easy as possible. I just do my regular thing, you know, smoke the booth out and spit the truth out.

Adam Bernard: I’m glad you mentioned “spittin the truth out” because it leads perfectly into my final question. Your music is laced with a lot of street rhymes and stories from the block; would you say this is your style, or are you planning on offering up a few other aspects of who you are? How much of Boaz are we going to get to know as the years, and albums, go by?
Boaz: The whole nine yards. I intend to give you every aspect of my life with an entertaining twist. That’s where I’m from, the streets, so of course you’re going hear a lot about the block, but people from the ghetto lead normal lives, too, so there should be something on all of my projects that everybody could relate to. Right now I’m still trusting I can make some of the years and albums go by. (Laughs)

Related Links

MySpace: myspace.com/boazgov

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B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.

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