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Boaz has high hopes for his Rostrum Records debut

"It feels like I'm being reintroduced to the game in a whole new manner."

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Taking it to the next level: Boaz
  • Photo courtesy of Jeff Swensen
  • Taking it to the next level: Boaz

Boaz is a veteran of the local hip-hop scene, having developed his voice while growing up in Larimer, and through self-released several records. On Tue., Oct 21, his first full-length on Rostrum Records, Intuition, comes out, and this weekend, he hosts a listening party and release show on consecutive nights locally. He talked with CP about the new label, the new record, and getting serious about his music. Read more of our interview on FFW>>.

How does being with this label change things?

I think it's a good move for both of us. It's a very organic label, we're from the same city, and right now we've just got a good grip on the scene of hip hop. Being in a position to get my music into places it hasn't been heard before. It feels like I'm being reintroduced to the game in a whole new manner.

Some people in the hip-hop scene locally felt really hopeful when Wiz and then Mac blew up, then felt a lull — do you think there is a chance for Pittsburgh to re-emerge nationally with somebody new?

Most certainly. I think we've always had that international feel to us. Being from Pittsburgh, we just had to realize we were hip hop. It doesn't have that much of a pulse outside of what we do. The louder our voices become, the bigger the spotlight has been nationally. I think it's all about timing, and knowing what you really want. I think people get misconstrued with superstardom — I think that was the big misconception with Wiz's success. Everybody smelled success, and they forgot this kid had worked his ass off. It takes a lot of hard work and consistency, and solidifying yourself as an artist if this is something you wanna do as a career.

People in other cities might think of those guys as the face of Pittsburgh hip hop — what do you think they'll see in you? What sets you apart?

I think it doesn't put them in a particular place; it just solidifies our city in terms of its versatility of culture. What they portray for the city is quite different than what I'm giving you. It's just a real solidification of that urban scene, hip hop at its core, its essence. It's a good look for them, because it shows you they've put that spotlight on the city, for people to look into it.

Some artists break when they're young and just starting out; you've been at it for almost a decade now. How does that affect you as an artist?

It's funny: I've been doing this for a decade or so, but just as of recently have I been working hard. Focusing, telling myself what I wanted to do. For some time, it was more of a hobby than a career; it was just something we'd done to pass the time. Until fans and people in the city started telling me I had to believe in myself a little more, "You're pretty talented." It's really hit home to me how hard you have to work to be a successful artist in this industry. It's just been a learning experience.

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