26-year-old Brandi Addison–better known as DJ Bomshell Boogie–has been a fixture on New Orleans’ various rap scenes since before the flood. She’s made her mark everywhere from underground mixtapes, to her Bomshelter weekly at the Dragon’s Den, to her high-profile radio shows on Power 102.9—from which she was recently, mysteriously let go. AntiGravity recently sipped a daiquiri with Boogie whilst discussing New Orleans’ supposed rap renaissance, sharing the stage with Lil Wayne, her upcoming Tea Spot online radio show and her inexplicable firing.
AntiGravity: How did you get your start as a DJ?
Bomshell Boogie: Before Katrina, DJ Real would let me open up for him once in a while to get over my fears. Before that I only DJ’d for my pet cats. I had wanted to do turntablism, not club gigs. I would watch DJ Qbert and Scratch Pickles on VHS tapes.
You do tricks now when you DJ?
No. I did it a lot at my Dragon’s Den weekly, which was a great place for me to explore myself in front of people. Nowadays no one really cares about turntablism, so I just play the hits. The last time I did a trick was at the Lil Wayne party three years ago during Bayou Classic. He was up on the stage with me so everyone was watching.
I am pretty over Wayne myself, but still: damn that’s cool.
It was more funny kinda cool. I was playing all his unreleased mixtape music and Mannie Fresh said, “She got all the bootlegs!” [Laughs] The thing that impressed me about Lil Wayne is that he was rapping along to every song I put on. Not every rapper can do that when you play something from their old catalog.
Everyone wants to know about your breakup with 102.9, but let’s focus on the present for now. What are you up to now as a free agent?
I have a weekly at Club Pure on Fridays. I’m also working on a mixtape with female rapper Na’Tee, who was on four songs on my first mix tape, The Deconstruction. I wasn’t really vocal on the microphone at Bomshelter, so someone introduced Na’Tee to me and said, “You should let her be your hype-person.” We had magic. That lasted a year and a half. Also, my radio show, The Tea Spot, will go online in September, though it might get pushed back.
For now The Tea is a blog though.
Yes. I was an English major at Loyola, so I like to write, and I like to give my spin on things. I gave myself the moniker “Miss New Ish,” meaning I am the one who’s gonna find the new Jeezy mixtape, the new Lauren Hill, even the new Prince–everything from Erykah Badu to Sissy Nobby. To me, breaking new music is part of DJ culture. I broke Partners-N-Crime “So Attractive” on my show.
Where did you grow up?
Born and raised in New Orleans. Grew up in Gentilly, 9th Ward, I lived Uptown with my grandmother–just in different houses with different people.
I ask because it doesn’t seem like not a lot of New Orleans rap fan have that crate-digger mentality you seem to have. Many just stick to the local stuff, plus whoever is the biggest pop artist you can’t avoid.
I am the girl from the lunch table arguing about who’s hotter, Wayne or Jay Z, and I would throw my lunch tray down and everyone would start laughing because I was mad. I know a lot of cats in the industry here that are heads like that. But New Orleans mostly has a very gangsta mentality, where you’re only celebrated if you’re hood enough, or maybe if you’re a second-line band. We are around though–if not, The Blue Nile wouldn’t be poppin late at night. My Dragon’s Den night was crazy packed. And people respond to my blog when I put underground stuff on there.
So describe your various radio shows at 102.9.
I was the first female mix show DJ on the air in New Orleans, plus I did Way Back Wednesdays. Then I wanted a Dipset reunion, so got in touch with Cam’ron and interviewed him. After that, 50 Cent came to DJ Mike Swift’s show and they let me in on the interview and it went really well. After that my boss thought I should have a show called The Tea. “Tea” is New Orleans slang for “information.” If you’re “spillin tea” you’re spilling the information. I wanted to ask questions that other people wouldn’t ask, but I didn’t want to go the Wendy Williams gossip route. I wanted to do like, hip-hop journalism.
Who is your favorite local rapper?
Na’Tee. I watched her grow from hype-person, to listening to her Three’s Company Mixtape, and Look Who’s Coming to Dinner. Also this cat Dappa. He sings and he raps, and he puts together his own videos.
So OK: tell us how you parted ways with 102.9. It seemed like everything was going great.
Well, about a year after I’d started my on-air duties I was pulled off the mix show, which they gave to Mike Swift. But The Tea was doing really well. Then one day the general manager and program director called me into the office and said, “We’re gonna have to let you go.” I asked him why and he didn’t answer. They said, “We’re gonna have you walked out of the building.” I packed up all my stuff and got all my files outta my computer. And I had this really long weave all down my back, and before I left I brushed my hair for 15-minutes. Literally, brushed my weave really, really slow. I didn’t cry. I popped in my earphones and walked out playing Kanye West’s “Power,” and it was inspiring me as I walked away down the street. I still don’t know why it ended. But I learned a lot, and they say you haven’t been in radio until you’ve been fired so… I guess I’ve earned my stripes.
Well, onto something more positive: Do you think there’s a hip-hop renaissance happening in New Orleans right now?Things seem to be bigger and brighter now; more editors are asking us to write about rap…
There are a lot of damn good cats out now, but I can’t really say there’s a renaissance if they’re not getting paid. I hate to make it about money but… I think people are getting more creative, shooting their own videos, making themselves more Internet savvy and getting their music out there. But they need more support. When I go to Atlanta clubs I don’t recognize one song, but everybody in the club is rapping word-for-word. In New Orleans, if you spin a local track you gotta cut right back into something [nationally popular]. Cats like E.F. Cuttin though, he’ll just be like “F that,” and he’ll have a packed floor and run the whole song. Atlanta also has stripper culture, so a lot of those songs are broke in the strip club.
How do we not have stripper culture when we have so many strip clubs?
Because girls shake they ass for free, in the clubs. That’s part of bounce.
Bounce seems to definitely be in a renaissance period.
Yeah. But I think there’s also a frustration with the fact that there’s nothing mainstream successful yet in bounce. Bounce gets love though. I been shakin since I was 13 when I didn’t know what I was shakin for. It’s a part of my culture. No matter how much education I get, at the end of the day if I walk into The Duck Off, I’m gonna bend over. It’s a fine line, the feminism aspect. But I like that ol pimp shit too. 8-Ball and MJG, that shit was degrading, but I lived for it. I live for that Atlanta stripper music. I don’t want to act like I am all underground, cause I live for the commercial stuff as well. I like it all.