It’s a new day in hip-hop. The tradition boom bap/sample sounds of yesteryear are long gone, giving way to more melodic, original arrangements bombarding the market. Not everybody is happy about it. Especially folks in New York City, the birthplace of the art form. With the overall East Coast sound suppressed, artists who adhere to the original tenants of hip-hop’s Gold and Platinum Ages are like a breath of fresh air. Now enters Sage, Chillz and Won of The Boguardz, out of the borough of Brooklyn. We sat down for a word with the BK barsmen, Asis (Won & Sage), who are looking to make waves in 2017 and beyond!
DON DIVA: What is the name of the movement? Also, give us a little bit of your background.
WON: Asis is the group name which involves Sage and myself. We are under the BoGuard Records umbrella. An independent record label that myself, Sage and Chillz started. Chillz is the CFO of BoGuard Records. That man does it all, from executive producing the projects to being a part of the writing and the creative process. That man has many talents. He literally does it all. We’ve been creating music together for about ten years. It all started out as a hobby just a love of creating art, then later, turned into a business and possible career. I started out as a producer/writer, then started working on music myself. Me and Sage did tons of music together and just decided to team up and actually go forth with it, as a group. One song lead to another and we are here today.
SAGE: We call ourselves BoGuardz due to our label being BoGuard Records. I’m sure people could assume the intent. As fate would have it, we’re all from Brooklyn, New York. We started making music in high school around the years of 2002-2003. It was just some play around, “let make a song homie” thing that we didn’t take serious until about 2007. That year I would say the dream really started taking shape and we really got on the grind. Won and I make up the duo names Asis, which is an acronym for “Always Seeing Inspiration in Something.”
DD: How does Brooklyn influence your sound?
WON: Brooklyn has influenced our sound tremendously. I like to say, we came from the “Cusps Era”; nineties falling into the 2000s. That hunger and pain still lingers every day. And it comes through in our music. You can tell with our sound, we mesh on [those] cusps, with the hard drums and samples, with splashes of melodies, dark tones and metaphoric lyrics.
SAGE: Being from Brooklyn, I feel gives us immediate validation. I believe it makes us challenge ourselves to push it. We truly feel New York is totally underrepresented in hip-hop today. The “New York sound” is lost, even by its own artists.
DD: Who are your musical influences?
WON: Wow! I can probably go all day about who influenced me, but if I had to narrow it down, it’d be Kanye West, Pharrell, Teddy Riley, Dr. Dre & Biggie. It’s a bit different from your normal rapper’s influence. But this group of artists influenced me in different aspects of what I do. I just create. I don’t believe in a box.
SAGE: We’re influenced by a lot of music in-and-out of hip-hop. For example, I know I’m mainly influenced by Nas, Tupac & Kendrick Lamar, within hip-hop, but some of my outside influences include Coldplay and Phil Collins. I have stated on many occasions that besides Kendrick, I’m not inspired by today’s hip-hop. I look outside to gain most of my inspiration.
DD: What makes you want to get into the hip-hop game, in today’s climate?
SAGE: Wow! From day one, the love of hip-hop has always been there. To be able to express yourself musically is a dream come true. I feel music today is authentic but the messages and talent put out isn’t pushing the culture forward. I feel we can bring a new sound, new perspective and new life to music as a whole; not just hip hop. We truly feel at its core, hip-hop is the best and most innovative art form ever created, and we would want to be a part of that legacy.
WON: I was born to do this. I feel my story and life is relatable to so many people. I think we all struggle with the same issues in some shape or form. I just want to be that voice for them; allow them to see if from my perspective, besides what you hear daily.
DD: What’s been the highlight of the grind so far?
WON: The highlight, I would say, is performing at our first A3C festivals, in Atlanta, the last two years. That was a blessing; a chance to showcase our sound and ability to people outside of NYC.
SAGE: Yeah, the highlight so far was performing at A3C for 2 years in a row. Also, getting invited to perform at this year’s SXSW (2017)! We’ve put out three official projects for purchase, under Boguard Records, and have gotten great feedback on each of them.
DD: Plans for the future?
WON: To drop another album this coming spring/summer, followed by SXSW and building this following!
SAGE: Word! We’re gonna just push the the BoGuard movement forward, kill every stage we touch and get more great music out to the people!