Don’t Call It A Comeback: Platinum Producer Boola Been Here For Years
By Vallene Henderson
2006 marked then end of a dynasty for chart topping record company Roc-A-Fella Records. But for their in-house multi-platinum producer & songwriter Alrad “Boola” Lewis, this was just the beginning. After the dismantle of the Roc, Boola embarked on creating a brand; and that brand is himself.
The Newark, New Jersey born, but Hempstead, Long Island native had dreams of being a rapper. Instead of finding the local producers to give him tracks, he decided to make his own. This decision turned out to be a career changer. Since Boola *whose name is a childhood moniker* began creating head banging tracks, a plethora of doors opened for him. And as he walked thru those doors, Boola became a Multi-platinum producer producing Legend of the Liquid Sword by GZA of Wu Tang Clan., The Chosen One by Jaheim, Oh Daddy by Beanie Sigel, If I was your Girlfriend by Nicole Wray, Real Love by Rell and I Ain’t Gotta Tell You by Ne-Yo. And also working with Jim Jones, Bun B, GLC, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Nas, Freeway, Noreaga, Joe Budden, Jaheim, Cam’Ron, Young Gunz, Lost Boyz, Young Gunz, The Diplomats and State Property to name a few.
Once you left the roc what did you do? Did you fall back to see what direction you were going to take or did you have a plan?
When Roc-A-Fella Records shut down I had built so many relationships with other artist and labels, that I started doing a lot of independent work. During this time I also had the chance of honing my skills such as learning instruments like guitars and pianos. I use to sample everything, then I reinvented myself by digging deep to learn my music and what I wanted to present to the world. I also had the chance to discover an artist named Mitsue. During this time I’ve put in a lot of work and energy into her for the last couple years to develop her to make her the superstar that she will soon be. I’m an artist as well, of course she is going to be the face of everything, and I’m going to be her sidekick. It’s like the 2011 Groove theory. We’re a tag team duo.
Let’s talk about Mitsue. You two were introduced and created a sound called Hip-Rock. How did this sound come to be?
When me and Mitsue linked up there was something in her voice that created character to the track. She is so talented that the sound and the melodies inspired us. So we talked about what music we liked and we vibed with each other more, that is how the sound Hip-Rock came along. And as we recorded it evolved into Diva Funk which is a whole other side to her. Diva Funk has more of a mature sound and Hip-Rock is more young and fun.
Lately the internet has been on fire with all the buzz from Boola’s Produced By Boola Music Series this music series is a 15 week project where new exclusive content is released every Thursday. You will find your favorite artist singing or rapping over Boola tracks. The first installment of the series was the song Shot Down by Ne-Yo. This song was so well received by the masses that it went from the internet to the radio. And the song will not be on Ne-Yo’s upcoming album Libra Scale.
As you know, In this era the internet is key in getting info out there & generating buzz. What is your social media plan?
Well of course the Boola Music project is the whole meat of my plan. It’s allowing me to do interviews like I’m doing now with The AUDRA Catalog and with other media outlets like MTV & BET. I’m attacking all these outlets right now to let the world know what I’m doing. And of course the different releases with my YouTube videos so this is the beginning of the things that I have planned.
So what do you have planned? Talk to me
Well I look at myself more than a producer, I’m like a brand. That is why you will see my face a lot. I can take this from being a correspondent for MTV, radio, be a VJ or model. I like to take pictures b/c I think I’m cute. [*as he chuckles*] I look at Boola as a brand so my whole team is developing me and putting me out there like a brand. So when you look at me think of me as a Swizz Beats, Timberland, or Pharrell, that is my new approach. When I first got into the game while at Roc-A-Fella, I was more behind the scenes. I witnessed Kanye West being a regular producer then to being a superstar. I’m just following the blueprint that has already been laid out. Also, After the Produced By Boola Music Series I plan to release an unreleased Roc-A-Fella records mix tape. It will be geared toward the world that liked Roc-A-Fella at its prime.
The Funk Flex/ Pusha T acapella freestyle is pretty dope. How did it come about?
I was up all night for that one. I was just surfing the internet & stumbled upon it & decided to myself I was going to make a track to it. I never heard a freestyle acapella on the radio before and this was a cool opportunity to take advantage of. I thought the world would appreciate it. To make the vocals go to beat was tough. When you’re doing an acapella there is no tempo so you are all over the place. That in itself was a lot of work so I just put the beat around it. Pusha heard it & liked it. He put it on his site & now I created a relationship with him to work with him. It just opens doors
Who do you want to meet dead or alive? Halle Berry
What is your favorite quote? “With confidence you won before you even start.”
What item can you not live without? My Shades
Phrase or saying do you most use? Dope
What are the top 3 songs in your songs are in your iPod? I don’t own an iPod. But I listen to Rick Ross, John Legend & JayZ’s songs right now
Team Blackberry or Team iPhone? DUH, Team Blackberry
Produced By Boola Music Series
Week 1 – Produced By Boola Music Series: Ne-Yo – Shot Down
Week 2 – Produced By Boola Music Series: Bun B ft. Young Chris- I Need Doe/I Can’t Wait
Bonus - Pusha T- Funkmaster Flex Freestyle (Prod. By Boola)
Week 3 - Produced By Boola Music Series: Rell – Homework
Week 4 – Produced By Boola Music Series: GLC- GLC (The Anthem)
Week 5 - Produced By Boola Music Series: Freeway ft. Lance Drummonds- Take It From Me
The latest installment of Produced By Boola Music Series: Nas – Snitch Alibi
Check out Boola on these sites and tell him AUDRA sent you!