“Whether you like my raps or not, you’re smiling.”
Last November, OG Swaggerdick showed up on Adult Swim with alt comic icon Eric Andre. The Dorchester MC appeared rhyming while suspended from the ceiling on a segment titled Rapper Warrior Ninja, during which he competed against Freddie Gibbs and other artists for infinite crossover comedy nerd props.
It wasn’t the first time that Swaggerdick has dropped in loudly alongside esteemed company. Andre’s shown up on his projects for years, while his Hub rap contemporaries include bigs like Cousin Stizz and Michael Christmas. He’s had to hustle extra hard to connect with old and new fans alike on multiple fronts to maintain that buzz through the pandemic, but what else is new?
I asked Swaggerdick about his grind now that things are opening up for him. (I swear, I tried to write that last sentence 15 different ways, and it’s an inevitable boner innuendo every time.)
What was your idea to retain fans through the pandemic? It feels like you were around.
I record at my house for the most part, so it was kind of easy for me. It really gave me a lot of time to think and to work on what I wanted to and to find me more. There was a moment at the beginning when Instagram Live was really a thing, so I was on there talking to fans. I respond to DMs from fans and stuff, so I had more time to do that.
How have you maintained connections with other rappers and producers who you work with, a lot of whom are in LA these days?
My manager Tim is in Los Angeles, and it’s all Facetime anyway.
What were you supposed to be doing prior to the pandemic?
Going to other places and states, like LA and New York and just shaking hands with more people and building relationships. I also had the Eric Andre [show] in the works, and I had two projects, one of which is dropping soon.
How did that all [the Eric Andre appearance] come about?
I think he first heard my music at a comedy show.
Have you crossed over into that realm yet? Are you doing comedy clubs?
I haven’t, not yet, but it’s something that I definitely want to jump into. It’s something I’ll have to work on, a set or something, I guess that’s how comedy works.
What’s the next release?
It’s called OG Land, and it’s all produced by me. I’ve been producing for a long time, but this one is fully produced by me. It’s four songs, I cut it short. I made it while in quarantine, and I’m not in that space anymore. It’s experimental. My last project was very New Orleans inspired, this one’s very Houston inspired. It’s also inspired by my favorite album right now, which is Wanderland by Kelis.
What would you like the Greater Boston hip-hop scene to look like, maybe not ideally but at least to make it better than it was pre-pandemic?
More venues that allow hip-hop to happen. The structure of Boston is old money, and white people running things, and we’re so diverse here. It’s why people come here for college and stay here. We have all of these communities, but the structure is old, so they’re not really accepting of hip-hop.
With the world opening up, how will you connect with fans from here on out?
I’m just trying to be as entertaining as possible, you know? The world is a shitty place and you gotta do your part, so I’m doing my part. Whether you like my raps or not, you’re smiling. The first thing anybody does, even if they’re trying to say it’s wack, is smile. I won already, no matter what. And I know I’m fire, I’m getting better and better.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.