Write Into It: December 6, 2017
Artists reflect on their favorite compositions
Shai Boogie, hip-hop artist — "So Far Gone" ft. Matty Malone (Prod. by DJ Salt)
My mom always told me she'll pray for me // and in my desperate times he'll make a way for me // but since I showed animal behaviors // they found a way to slave ya // so they made a cage for me
Charles Brown: What's going on Shai Boogie? I appreciate your pick: "So Far Gone!" The first verse paints a vivid picture of some of the past choices you made in order to survive. What made you want to be so honest with that part of your life? From the first bar, you didn't hesitate with opening up.
Shai Boogie: I feel [there are some] people who only knew the old me, [some] who only know the new me and [some] who know both, so I feel it's extra important for me to be as transparent as possible. Because no matter when you knew me, I'm going to give you the opportunity to get to know all of me. Past, present, and a lil' future.
CB: With transitioning from who you were then to who you are now, how difficult was it leaving your old ways behind?
SB: I don't view it as I left them behind, 'cause I'm haunted by them daily, but [the past has] helped mold the me I am today. I think I've always been the type of dude that really never cared what anyone thought of me, but my biggest issue in my transitioning was within myself. Basically, this faith walk ain't no cake walk. [laughs]
CB: Matty Malone's vocals are so passionate and convincing. On the third verse, he took the stand and provided his own testimony. How did that come about?
SB: Yeah man, that's a real good dude. I linked with him right when I got back in town at the church I was attending at that time, and I seen him singing at church and my bro Min Cams was like "you two need to link," so we did. I called him in twice on this soon to be released D.O.R. Project. We work [well] together.
CB: If the former you heard this song, what do you think he would say? What would he think?
SB: "If the former me heard this song, what would he say?" [laughs] That's a good creative question, boy. You a funny dude for this one [laughs] The former me would be like "yo, that's my favorite artist!" [laughs] The former me would definitely be positively influenced and if the former me heard this song, it would've been the song that would have ignited the change in the present me.
CB: Any words to the people that may not be so appreciative of your transformation?
SB: When I was growing up, "being real" — or should I say "keeping it 100" — is what was expected of us. If you got caught up, your peers would pull your card, a.k.a. "G check." [laughs] It was an element that was instilled in us as lil' ones, you know? We were raised to be leaders and not followers. We were instructed not to "follow the crowd." The younger generations lost individual identity, so I mean it's simple. I allowed and committed to this transformation for me; not for others. I mean, don't get me wrong. This lifestyle can be contagious if you let it. [laughs]
Charles Brown can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @charles1588