Words by Tiger Maremela
Images by Niamh Walsh-Vorster
FlexBoogie isn’t a typical rapper. Forget the gold chains, the sagged pants, or sexist lyrics. He considers himself to be a conscious rapper. One that aims to make ‘feel good’ music that he can be proud of, even in years to come.
FlexBoogie, real name Hakim Anderson, cites his parents as having had the largest influence on his music. He grew up in a household where both his parents were musicians and artists in some form. He recalls having 80s gospel, traditional folk, funk and rock as being part of the soundtrack of his upbringing. These diverse genres are apparent in his music. Elements of jazz and funk are infused into his upbeat version of gritty hip hop. His history with hip hop began when he was introduced to the Detroit sub-genre. He felt a connection with how artists of this genre used disco music and heavy baselines to assist in their musical narration. His keen fascination with the baseline is one he has not let go of, even incorporating it into his music now.
‘I don’t have a general creative process.’ says the rather introspective musician. ‘Ideas just hit, and I follow.’ he adds. His preference of writing and brainstorming in the studio is supported by his team of producers and engineers. FlexBoogie writes his own music and for other artists. He mentions that the act of writing for other musicians is one that is shunned by many rappers. According to him, rappers tend to be very selfish and will choose to keep some of their best lyrics for themselves. He disagrees with this notion as he feels that this limits the rappers. After spending a mere weekend chatting with him, it is easy to see that FlexBoogie has a few grievances with the hip hop industry. He brings up diverse issues relating to the politics of hip hop, from the lack of transparency in certain rappers and the misogyny that the genre is so closely related to. He identifies with being regarded as a feminist rapper. As a father, and son, he is conscious of how his lyrics affect women and children.
Seeing FlexBoogie perform is quite an overwhelming experience. From start to finish, his enthusiasm and energy takes over, leading him into a trance of sorts. His audiences always absorb his stage presence, leaving them dumbfounded and lost for words. His introduction to his sets always begins with stating that he is an entertainer, and he does exactly that. He entertains and engages with the audience. He loses himself to his music, to the extent where he doesn’t even remember jumping onto speakers and tables.
This zealous artist mentions that he is at a point where he does not feel a need to prove himself to other artists any more. He has paid his dues, and will go about producing the type of music he chooses to create. When asked if he had any advice to up and coming artists, he had a simple message; no manager can do a better job than you can. He encourages artists to be innovative and attempt to create a name for themselves, and not wait for opportunities to come to them.
If you’re wondering when his album, The Greatest Sellout, will be released then be patient. FlexBoogie is still secretive about the release date, but in the meantime check out his Soundcloud account here.