When many hip-hop listeners think of Nicki Minaj as the only notable female rapper, it's clear they've not heard D-Town spitters Miz Korona and Invincible. If the latter two artists are becoming huge, there's a third female Detroit rapper, Boog Brown, deserving mass attention. Her freshly released debut album, Brown Study, is proof. Created with Michigan producer Apollo Brown, it presents an original emcee with a vet's style and cadence, and a new jack's hunger.
Some from Detroit's insular hip-hop scene — circa 2005-2007 — might recognize Brown by her given name, Elsie Swann, the chocolate-toned music enthusiast seen at every Northern Lights function; she wasn't just eye-ballin', she was studying the emcee art. Her nascent music career didn't do much here, but after relocating to Atlanta several years ago, her passion became a career.
Brown talks about getting comfortable in her own skin.
Metro Times: How's the Atlanta music scene treating you?
Boog Brown: Very fucking well, surprisingly. Atlanta's scene has been welcoming now that I've paid my dues. I really appreciate the way I was welcomed. Before I left Detroit, I really wanted to be an emcee. I really, really did. And I was mad it didn't happen. When I first started rhyming ... I wasn't that great. Now, there were people who were haters. But there were others like Magestik Legend, 14KT, Marv [Won], Invincible, Ta'raach, etc., that were like, "You got it. You just need to do this or that." And it was like, dude, I'm trying here. Now that I've found my passion, I'm really in a better place.
MT: Does Atlanta's music scene actually compare to Detroit's in any way?
Boog: I have yet to go to a party and get the same feeling that I would get seeing [DJ] House Shoes spin or DJ Dez or Sicari spin. It's like comparing apples to Asian pears. I'll always regard home in a way that's superior. Plus Detroit makes undeniable music. It's in the water, the potholes, it's in the snow. That's Detroit.
MT: How did the record deal come about with Mello Music Group?
Boog: On some Twitter shit. We were on Twitter one day, and someone had thrown around that Apollo Brown, Kev Brown, and Boog Brown should do like a UPS commercial — "What can Brown do for you?" — and turn it into a project. Just as a joke. I guess Kev couldn't do it, but Apollo was like, "Let's do that shit." And then Mello Music jumped in on Twitter and was like, "I'm serious." But I'm not doing this for fun. I needed to know that this is genuine. Once I saw the paperwork, I started writing for the album in November and we turned it in four months later.
MT: What songs are people connecting with off the album?
Boog: "Masterplan" — I think that has the most plays. That's for the people. I don't know too many people that want something different in life from what I rap about on that song. "Just Be," "Friction" featuring Miz Korona and Invincible. And "Understanding," that chronicles my journey from A to B.
MT: Any plans to tour behind this album?
Boog: People are playing my music in the Netherlands, Paris, Australia, and just knowing that folks overseas are playing my shit, I really want to push this as far as it can go.
Boog and Apollo Brown's Brown Study is officially in stores now and on iTunes; $10.Jonathan Cunningham is a freelance writer. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org