Eclectic Originality: Introducing Tha Boogie

“It Never Rains in Southern California” was a #1 hit record for Tony, Toni, Tone in 1990. Co-founder of the legendary R&B group, Raphael Saadiq sung the vocals so effortlessly, but years later he discovered the talent is reigning in Southern California. In 2007, he agreed to work with an eclectic trio of artists who collectively called themselves Tha Boogie. But Tha Boogie story begins years earlier.

Inspired by Devante Swing of Jodeci and the collection of talent he found and dubbed “Da Bassment,” NuSchool yearned to find some homegrown talent in his hometown. He was introduced to a young producer named Legin by Legin’s sister. The two had already known each other previously but never realized that their tastes in music genres were similar.

When they began collaborating on records their creativity shined through in their production. They understood the meshing of their different styles produced sounds that were unlike anything in rotation on the mainstream airwaves. NuSchool’s cousin Khorus brought a different flavor to the group and her contributions added another dimension to their sound and stylistic approach.

Over the course of time, the artists they recruited to become a part of the “Tha Boogie Down Movement” kept coming and going. In late 2005, all of them mutually agreed to become a trio called Tha Boogie and begin working on crafting their sound and image.

“Me and Khorus are first cousins, Legin and I met in high school through his older sister,” says NuSchool. “I always had a dream of putting together a Missy and Timbaland type of super-camp with talented people. I forced Legin to make some tracks for me and then we all just came together after a while.”

“We started out as individual artists and Legin was producing for everyone around our way. At the end of the day, it was the three of us left standing and we decided to be resourceful and save some money. The chemistry was instant so we just stuck with it.”

Tha Boogie consists of founding member NuSchool, 24, Khorus, 23, and Legin, 22. They’re an ensemble of young, creative and talented individuals who write, produce, record, arrange and perform their own music. Their mixture of Pop, Hip hop, R&B and Alternative Soul has been coined “Experimental,” delivering an urban originality that anchors the production of their songs. The infusion of sounds knows no boundaries, which reinforces why they stand out amongst a homogeneous crowd of today’s recording artists.

NuSchool writes the majority of the songs and Legin produces every record. Initially, the music was very futuristic and not considered mainstream by most people. But the group understands their originality is the very thing that makes them who they are as artists.

“What makes us different is you can’t pinpoint our music,” says Khorus. “We’re not soul, we’re not pop, our sound is made up from all different genres. One thing may sound like soul, another song may sound like Hip Hop, or indie-rock.”

“Every genre of music has something to offer and our sound is kind of all over the place,” says NuSchool. “We respect that and we take heed to include that into our music. With me knowing Legin so well I can get a feel of what he’s going for when he produces a track. It all kind of falls into place and I’ll try to add to the track and give it some sort of direction where it turns out great. It’s nothing premeditated, it’s all original.”

In 2007, through an email sent on Myspace by NuSchool to Raphael Saadiq, the future of Tha Boogie would be forever changed.

“I was on MySpace one time and I ran into his page and just wrote him [Raphael Saadiq] a cool message,” says NuSchool. “I said that we were really inspired by him and would like to work with him someday.

“He actually responded with a cell phone number and told me to give him a call. So he listened to our music and really liked it. I called Legin and I was like, ‘You’re not going to be believe what just happened Raphael Saadiq gave me his number’ then Legin responded with, ‘Yeah, right.’

“I called Raphael and he invited us down to his studio where we played for him our entire album at that time. He listened to every song all the way through and was really feeling our sound.

“He said, ‘I want to work with you guys.’ We were kind of baffled and we’re like, ‘Really?’ It was mind-blowing that he was impressed by something that we were doing on our own.”

The results from the power of social networking led Tha Boogie to tour with award winning singer/songwriter/producer Raphael Saadiq and become one the newest artists signed to his record label, Velma Records. Tha Boogie has performed on the west coast for sold out crowds at venues such as The House of Blues San Diego and Sunset, The Fillmore in San Francisco, and on the East Coast in Boston, Philly, New York at The Roxy, Baltimore, Washington DC and Atlanta.

They speak on the influence and tutelage they’ve received from an industry legend such as Saadiq and being his opening act while on tour with him.

“We all grew up with our parents playing his music in the house,” says Legin. “So to actually be embraced by him was huge. He’s taught us so many things performance wise to help get us ready for our live shows. 

“[Raphael Saadiq] believed in us at a time where we didn’t see it at that time. The crowd would think they were about to see Raphael come out and then they would see these three kids running out on stage going crazy.”

“Every night we were put out there with no introduction and just told to go for it,” adds Khorus. “Our responses from the crowd every time were really good.”

“It was our first time traveling and performing in front of thousands of people, “says NuSchool. “As soon as we walked into the studio a few years ago, we were ready to go. When he gave us the opportunity we were really ready to go. It was challenging, but we were so hungry to do it.”

Their hunger has been evident on catchy records such as “I’m Peter Parker,” “Teach U 2 Fly,” “Best Around,” and “Running.” The aforementioned songs can be found on their first EP, Love Tha Boogie, Vol. 1 (Steal This Sh*t), which was released on iTunes last year and is still available for purchase. One of their more current records, “Hey Love” is also splendidly done.

The love is mutual between mentor and protégés, reveals Raphael Saadiq. “I’m putting out some new groups under Velma [Records],” he says. “There’s one called Tha Boogie. I don’t want to put them in any box… but they don’t sound like The Fugees and they look like they could – or they would be – because it’s two guys and a girl. They don’t sound like the NERDs, but it feels like a little bit of David Bowie. A little bit of early U2. They’re still hip kids though.”

One of the most notable things about the group besides their infectious melodies is their stage attire. Their wardrobe is as eclectic as their music. It serves as a perfect compliment between the two. Khorus insisted their wardrobe was borne out of necessity not something planned.

“We always were into clothes so it wasn’t that we put a whole lot of thought into our wardrobe,” says Khorus. “Sometimes we’ll get dressed and not consult each other and we’ll end up with the same colors on. We’ve always been into colors, but our style just came alive and it wasn’t something that we planned on happening.”

Aesthetically, Tha Boogie lineup is reminiscent of groups from a bygone era, The Fugees and City High, but their sound is uniquely their own. “With the group being two guys and a girl, it wasn’t premeditated,” says NuSchool. “We weren’t thinking about that at all. When we were in the studio, we were just making music and it felt right.”

“The only similarity would be that the Fugees were family,” says Legin. “It’s the type of marriage that we have with our group. When they did music together it was a certain kind of magic there that you just can’t find.”

The magic between this group is also vivid – and their highly anticipated debut album Long Time No See will be released later this year under Velma Records.

Tha Boogie online: thaboogie.com / MySpace / @ThaBoogie

Privacy Preference Center