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New York MC A Boogie Wit da Hoodie embraces rap’s pop present

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Bronx rapper Artist Dubose, better known as A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, became one of the biggest acts to emerge from NYC last year in part because he was willing to shrug off the city’s imposing hip-hop canon. The hits off his debut 2016 mixtape, Artist, and his October EP, TBA (Highbridge/Atlantic), feel hardwired for the present-day Top 40, which owing to radio almost demands that crossover acts sing as much as they rap. As Drake appears content to wallow and wither away in the mellow dancehall of his inescapable 2016 hit “One Dance,” A Boogie shows he’s primed to grab the reins of pop-rap on the TBA single “Timeless,” where he wavers between loose Auto-Tune warbles and hard-edged ad-libs that underscore the track’s haunting dancehall production. A Boogie’s instrumentals often outshine his emotive inflections, and his eagerness to match their ebb and flow on, e.g., his recent single “Drowning” feels especially apparent when Florida sensation Kodak Black’s unpredictable, mush-mouthed performance takes over.   v

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