A Boogie Wit A Hoodie brings earthquaking performance to Austin

Nikhil Agrawal

You can tell your little nieces and nephews that the bogeyman isn’t going to leap out from under their beds (for now), but it was sighted in Austin last week. Artist Julius Dubose, professionally known as A Boogie wit da Hoodie, played the first show of his Monster Outbreak tour Wednesday, Feb. 20 at Emo’s.

The front half of the big-boxy venue was packed, and it was a party from the moment the DJ threw on the pre-show tunes. I tried to talk to a few fans before the show started, but the ones I made contact with could barely put together a few muddled sentences. Maybe it was the cacophony of drugs and alcohol mingling in their systems, or maybe I was just a weirdo.

After wading through a sea of Juul vapor and weed exhaust, I finally saw A Boogie emerge from backstage with an intoxicating grin that stayed plastered on his face the entire night. Unlike the aforementioned terror-inducing bogeyman, A Boogie took the stage with undeniable swagger, running back and forth as he grooved to his opening anthem, “Look Back At It.”

The crowd immediately had their phones out and Snapchat open to record the hooded trapper. He didn’t disappoint. His voice was as stirring as his personality, emerging with a beautiful melody from his auto-tuned microphone. Just as the bass dropped — so loud that my windbreaker vibrated along with the song —  A Boogie ripped off his hoodie, and the crowd furiously bumped up and down, completely engulfed in the act.

The bouncing didn’t cease throughout the entire show. A Boogie knew these people were here to have pure, unadulterated fun in any way possible. He glided with ease through tracks “Beasty” and “Swervin” from his latest album Hoodie SZN. The audience clung to every single word with volume when he aimed the mic at them during his performance of “My Sh—” from his 2015 mixtape Artist.

In between the high energy shots of A Boogie’s hype man personality, I observed moments where true love for his artistry shone through. A 30 second a capella riff of his song “Jungle” showcased A Boogie’s controlled flow and delightfully happy voice. In the middle of some songs, the background audio inexplicably cut out, but A Boogie continued to passionately rap on full blast.

I felt a couple of moments of fatigue during the hour-long set where songs began to blend together, stylistically similar to one another. However, these moments didn’t last long, with A Boogie injecting repeated doses of dynamic flows to spark the audience. He searched the front row with gripping eye contact, seeking out a genuine connection with his audience.

His closing track “Drowning” brought the house down with gut-stomping punch. A Boogie slowly built it up, commanding that a giant pit to open in the center. He started rocking the crowd, with the beat creeping up, faster and faster until it all came crashing down during the hook, provoking me to leap into the hole with a vigorous horde at my heels.

When it comes to his live performances, A Boogie wit da Hoodie is a true artist — or as he so sensationally put it himself in the middle of the show, “I feel like a motherf—ing rockstar!”