In 2014, Jay Boogie set Tumblr on fire with “Body”, his body-positive and celebratory rap number that featured plenty of purrs to boot. The single is taken from “Allure”, his debut album which subverts macho-culture with unabashedly salacious and cogent lyrics like: “Are you uncomfortable because I’m so comfortable/Or are you uncomfortable because I don’t fuck with you”. Fiercely independent and exuberant, the Brooklyn native is ready to take on the establishment, whether it’s patriarchy, capitalism or neoliberalism.
Jay Boogie is an artist of tomorrow. Having started his career as a rapper in New York’s queer scene, Boogie carries timely concepts of self-love and empowerment across his multiple ventures. This includes his jaw-dropping workout routines on social media and his philanthropic work with school kids.
Last year he released the mixtape “My H.O.E. (My Health Over Everything)” featuring remixes by Cakes Da Killa, and this year he brought his gospel to Europe with the Core Tour. In London, he took the chance to walk for Ashish during LFW, while in Berlin he played live at the school night institution that is Trade. The day after his energetic performance, we chased Boogie around the The Westin Grand and joined him for a quick kiki to discuss the body as a sanctuary, how he relates to Trump and why greatness is all about selflessness.
“It’s not fair to associate an aesthetic with weakness” – Jay Boogie
On the body being being so crucial
The body is a shelter for the soul and the mind. And in between all of those things is the core. I recently just started to understand what my core is physically, which is just the the epicenter of everything – how you can sit, how you can stand and how you endure during various activities. Your core is in the middle of the mind, body and the soul. From those three places you feed your core and your core feeds those three elements simultaneously. The idea of “what you get is what you put in.” Your core is indestructible if you build it to be such, both physically and metaphorically. That’s why I called this tour the Core Tour.
On his training routine
It revolves around callisthenics, which involves using your own body to build the muscle and build the stamina. Monkey bars, pulls ups, push ups, dips. Anything that I can do anywhere at anytime relying on my body as the exercise. I’m not big on weight lifting, I’m more interested in a solid me rather than muscle volume because then I can’t fit in to the looks you know? I have to remain dainty or for a lack of better terms “Soft & Cunt” that’s what attracts me to me.
On feminine and masculine being only descriptive words
The men at the gym I go to are constantly gagging because I work out in body suits and I display my confidence in my performance while I exercise. Completely unbothered and not intimidated by the testosterone. For them it’s pretty shocking but this sends a powerful message that says you don’t know what anybody is capable of. It’s not fair to associate an aesthetic with weakness, or doubt anyone’s strength period. I take a lot of pride in my femininity but it doesn’t measure my strength or insecure my masculinity at all. For me feminine and masculine are just words to describe clothing and fits at this point.. I have always been the same, I have always been flamboyant and I always had a balance with my manhood and my womanhood.
“I think greatness comes from selflessness.” – Jay Boogie
On his gospel
My ambition is to be able to use my experiences to liberate other people from oppression or lack of diversity. I’m kinda starting to feel like a pastor.
On calling his “scene” the dream chasers
I’m part of a scene of Dream Chasers. To be frank I think everyone is chasing some sort of dream, some people have more simple dreams than others but we all have the power to dream and follow the dream. In my scene I’ve learned that a lot of gay men go through phases where they look at themselves and don’t love themselves because of what they see and hear other people of their kind go through. Wether it be in family or the media. That can shy anyone away from chasing their dream but I strive to influence people to ignore that and dream on.
“One thing I can relate to Trump is just fighting the odds and coming above all the speculations and allegations and people’s opinions” – Jay Boogie
On how to find self-love
Just research yourself, research where you come from and how the people that brought you here got here in every sense. Then, finally understand that you have to create your own legacy because that’s what people are going to look at you for. That’s what you are gonna be remembered for.
On what keeps him grounded
Weed. My family and friends, they really help me bring my daydreams and fantasies to life. Like my good friend Mario Horne, he is a stylist and a creative director – he’s behind all my music videos and a lot of my aesthetics. Shout out to Larry B, he’s a genius DJ who lives in London. And also my generation: to know that I am a part of a growing force that will one day be part of a textbook or art history. We are definitely gonna go down in history, I know it.
On the 2016 US presidential race
I don’t perceive Hillary as a leader and I don’t perceive Trump as a real person. That’s that. So it makes it difficult. I am not scared of him, but I do know that he’s scared of himself. I think that in a way, he is really into mass destruction through his power. I think he’s afraid of what he’s capable of, but also very aware of how he can control things.
On relating to Donald Trump
One thing I can sit with him for is just fighting the odds and coming above all the speculations and allegations and people’s opinions. I can relate to that. A lot of people told me that faggots shouldn’t rap, and people told me that I wasn’t going to find happiness because I am the way I am. I’m in a place that a lot of people told me I shouldn’t be, so do what you do because you believe in yourself.
On his philanthropic work
Last year I did Body Heat, a fundraiser and benefit concert for the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), which is a gay high school in New York City as well as a shelter. I got a whole bunch of people I consider New York underground icons to perform and we raised greats amount of money. It was very fulfilling. I didn’t attend HMI, but I spent a long time there during recreation. Back then, and even today, my goal still is to coexist and not to isolate myself.
This year I’m gonna do a second edition, Body Heat Volume 2, and I think I might make it like a dinner where fab influential people of my generation come pay for a seat at the table. When I’m 50 I wanna be considered as a fucking philanthropist, I wanna be the faggot Russell Simmons.
As I mature I wanna dig more into non-profit, maybe with a center that is funded by the government where kids can go to. I want the same message from my music but in a physical space. When I was growing up, all the LGBT centers I went to were ran by white people. And all they can say is “here are some condoms, practice safe sex and here are some snacks and some pamphlets”. We need more conversation – nobody in that center told me that I could be great or that I could do whatever I want to do wherever I want to do it. I think greatness comes from selflessness.
On being a conceptionalist
Yes I am a rapper, but I live the lifestyle I’m living is solely because I conceptualized it. Everything in my life starts as a concept and then becomes a reality. The power of concept gives you the power in your everyday life. Through out those moments of self doubt or when your insecurities sneak up on you conceptualizing the future or the next step is crucial . Everything I have achieved today in my career was something I set out to do, none of it comes from luck or coincidence.
On his next projects
I’m releasing a EP this spring just in time for spring cleaning. Also working on launching some well thought out merchandise for my bodies around the world. I’m into developing products, lifestyle products. these things take time and research but luckily lifestyles don’t fade like trends do, so just wait on it. I’m also waiting for my Illuminati application to be processed so fingers crossed.