Ben Boogz, along with his production partner Deep, has been a long-time collaborator and affiliate of Stones Throw emcee, Homeboy Sandman. I can remember, long before Sandman ever signed with Stones Throw, hearing 2 Hungry Bros.-produced "The Carpenter" from his 2010 album, The Good Sun; I was still getting my feet wet with Hip-Hop and deciding what I did and didn't like, but I can distinctly remember having my mind blown by Homeboy Sandman's seemingly effortless rhymes weaving through 2HB's Jazzy, horn-accented beat. Fast-forward a few years to 2017: Ben Boogz of 2 Hungry Bros. produced "Pizza & Burgers" from Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman's third collaborative EP for Stones Throw/Rhymesayers, TRIPLE FAT LICE. Somehow, I was lucky enough to effectively link up with Ben Boogz and conduct an impromptu 16-question interview on "Pizza & Burgers," via Facebook Messenger AKA a FB DM Q&A.
Ben has since released a Valentine's Day-themed tape called Love Handles, as well as a collaborative tape with Deep from 2 Hungry Bros. Connections Series: The Reconnection for 77 Rise Recordings/Beat Tape Co-Op. Now, Ben Boogz has returned, once more, for Thousand Islands of DEATH with New Jersey emcee Doc Reevez. 2HB die-hards may recall Doc Reevez's name from his 2015 collaborative album with 2 Hungry Bros. Recipe for Disaster, released on Already Dead Tapes & Records. Thousand Islands of DEATH consists of a whopping 22 tracks and has been a few years in-the-making, so Ben and I saw it fit to do a comprehensive interview with he, myself, and Doc. Coincidentally, today is also, the proper street date for Thousand Islands of DEATH; so, cue up the album stream, purchase a limited edition tape, and scroll through The Witzard's comprehensive interview with Ben Boogz & Doc Reevez.
- Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Editor-In-Chief & Senior Writer
I. How did you two first meet and decide to start recording music together?
Ben Boogz: We met through our mutual friend, Jesus Himself (not at bible study.) Doc has a very different voice, kinda like Son Doobie. I thought that was different from the regular emcees I have worked with... So, I sent em a few tracks and that's how we started killing 'ish.
Doc Reevez: I first meet Ben through a mutual friend of ours: Jesus Himself. Ben had heard the album I did with Jesus and he said he liked it and he sent me a beat. I wrote to it and sent it back and pretty soon after that, I was getting a bunch of emails from Ben & Deep [2 Hungry Bros.] with beats to write to. The result of that was Recipe for Disaster.
II. How does this record, Thousand Islands of DEATH, differ from your previous collaboration, 2015's Recipe for Disaster with Ben's group, 2 Hungry Bros. aside from the obvious absence of 2HB producer Deep?
Ben Boogz: For Recipe [for Disaster], me and Deep challenged Doc more; on Thousand [Islands of DEATH], I gave direction, but I left a lot in Doc's control because he knew how we had worked before. Some of the beats are old and new. Also, some of them are from my instrumental projects and some are unreleased beats just for the project.
Doc Reevez: Thousand Islands of DEATH is different, I think, because it took longer to make. I was working on other projects at the same time and we weren't really planning it out to be an album, so I guess, it was more spontaneous.
III. How exactly was Thousand Islands of DEATH created and recorded? Were you two actively in the studio together or did Ben make the beats and Doc rapped on them and sent them back, etc.?
Ben Boogz: Nope, no studio because we have the power of The Internet at our hands. Everything is done in our own home "labs." Some of these jams were made back in 2016 and then, we picked back up in 2017. I remember hitting up Doc on Easter Sunday like, "yo, let's finish this!"
Doc Reevez: Recipe for Disaster was released three years ago and [we've] both been pretty busy, but Ben still managed to send me beats and I still managed to record tracks and send them back. One day, we were looking at how much music we had and decided it would make sense to put it out.
IV. How would you say, each of you have grown, both personally and musically, since your last full-length collaborative record, Recipe for Disaster?
Ben Boogz: My family has grown, me and my wife have a new son, who just turned one in July. So, life has been good, but busy. I'm loving it. I got a few extra greys. I dropped two solo instrumental albums. I also, did a tape with my bro, Deep that's on 77 Rise Recordings[/Beat Tape Co-Op] called Connections Series: The Reconnection. Go grab that, before it's gone! Shout-out Matt Bloom! The challenge is making time to create, while being busy with family and work.
Doc Reevez: I, personally, have seen a lot of growth since the last album... three years is a long time. I'm off probation. That's kinda big for me. Musically, I feel like I grow every day, so 365 days alone is huge... three years is over 1,000 days, so you know what it is.
V. It looks like 2 Hungry Bros. & Doc Reevez released two stand-alone tracks, "Degentrify" & "Sancocho Vibes;" now, how do those tracks relate to either Recipe for Disaster (2015) or Thousand Islands of DEATH?
Ben Boogz: Those tracks came after Recipe [for Disaster]. We loved working with Doc because he would bang out tracks fast. So, it was great making music. It's great, when you find a connection like that. Me and Doc just kept working on joints. Also, you forgot to mention "Spookings," which is on Thousand [Islands of DEATH]. That was also, a single released Halloween 2017. There was a project in-the-works, but nothing was finalized.
VI. Who designed the Thousand Islands of DEATH artwork, cassette packaging, and sticker pack? I'm really diggin' the artistic direction behind this project!
Ben Boogz: My bro, Monk, linked me with Tomer Mor (@tomerdraws.) I gave him this crazy idea I had. I wanted the art to look like the art on an 80's video game cover. He pretty much KILLED IT and he did the layout. I picked the cassette shell. Tomer also, did different stickers. So, I decided to do a sticker pack, which comes along with a purchase of each tape. These are all my ideas brought to life. You see, I'm huge into sneakers and the design. I will [probably] never get to design some kicks... but cassettes are something I can put my mind and hands on. So, I'm really happy seeing this come to life. It's a new lane for me. Who knows where it will lead?
Doc Reevez: The album art was done by @tomerdraws. He did a great job; I love the art! The tape looks official.
VII. How did you go about deciding to feature Thousand Islands of DEATH's only guest feature, from 2 Hungry Bros./Hunger Division affiliate, LiKWUiD, on album closer "Trippin?'"
Ben Boogz: We didn't plan on having any features, but Doc had reached out to LiKWUiD, which I thought would be pretty dope feature and she KILLED IT! Me and Doc featured acts on this album hahaha. We felt "Trippin'" is really great track to finish out the album with some crazy bars from L & Doc. The other thing people should know is "Trippin'" is NOT on the cassette; it's a Bonus, when you get the digital.
Doc Reevez: Ever since I was introduced to LiKWUiD, I've had the utmost respect for her and what she does. We had talked about doing a track together and I felt compelled to hit her up, when I heard that beat cuz' I knew she was good for it.
VIII. Once the album has been released on Friday, August 31st, what do you fellas have planned next for the album roll-out?
Ben Boogz: Lots! Maybe, some more merchandise from the album. We're also, trying to get a video done. We also, got a good amount of pre-orders from old and new fans. So, that's dope! Just expect more music from us both.
IX. Thousand Islands of DEATH includes a good amount of tracks for a "modern" Hip-Hop album (22!) How exactly did you go about which 11 tracks to features on both Sides A-B of the cassette release?
Ben Boogz: Some of the tracks are not as long as your normal Hip-Hop song. Also, Doc works pretty fast. We also, had a ton of tracks to work with; we also, love giving the fans more bangers for their bucks. It's not your modern day Hip-Hop album. What is that anyway? Rappers calling six tracks an "album?" Isn't that an EP? HAHAHAA! Our sh*t bangs! I hope people enjoy it as much as me and Doc do.
Doc Reevez: Whenever I make an album, I always make a mix with the goal being something I can listen to straight through. You'll never see me with an album that isn't laid out like a mixtape. I knew that these 22 tracks were going on it and my goal was to arrange them in such a way that it would keep a certain momentum. I had tried other [track] orders, but this one sounded good to me and Ben approved, so that's what we went with. It was, actually, one long mix that got chopped in half for the tape.
X. What are each of your personal favorite tracks on Thousand Islands of DEATH and why?
Doc Reevez: My favorite tracks are "Kung-Fu" and "The Light." "Kung-Fu" is dope cuz' the beat is different than your average Ben Boogz beat. I think, he had originally, made it for a Trap artist. "The Light," I think, is dope also, cuz' the beat has that 90's vibe.
Ben Boogz: I have a few that I love: "Save Us All" because it touches on topics of today. "Spookings" - I love that beat because it's not my normal style. Plus, I really like Doc's word-play. "Sauteed" is another favorite of mine. I really think the album is a dope piece of work. Doc mentioned "Kung-Fu;" the beat was not for a "Trap artist." It's from a batch of beats I made making fun of Trap. A lot of those beats are also, on LiKWUiD's album, Fay Grim.
XI. For those who may be new to both Ben Boogz/2 Hungry Bros. & Doc Reevez's catalogs, what selections might each of you recommend new fans check out first from each other's storied back catalogs?
Ben Boogz: Mos' def' go check out The Elimination Trilogy (The Danger.) That's the album that got me inspired to work with Doc. Actually, I was so inspired about it, we did a video for the song "Walk On," which is also, on limited edition 7-inch wax. Doc also, has another limited tape with Henry Quester called HOTFM. I believe, you can grab all of this music on his Bandcamp.
Doc Reevez: Definitely, check out Recipe for Disaster for more Doc Reevez & 2 Hungry Bros. You might wanna check The Elimination Trilogy, Part 1: The Danger to hear the album that inspired Ben to send me that first beat. If you like instrumentals, like I do, you should hear I Moreno by Ben Boogz - that's a dope tape!
XII. Following the release of your latest collaborative album, Thousand Islands of DEATH, what do both of you plan to release next, Ben Boogz & Doc Reevez?
Ben Boogz: I'm currently working on another instrumental album. 2 Hungry Bros. has a project with P.SO The Earthtone King called American Anime, which is almost done. Also, planning on working on some more tapes. Just staying busy! So, stay tuned. Please, check out my Bandcamp and Follow me (@chefboogz2hb, @2hungrybros & @hungerdivision) on Instagram and Twitter. Yo, Matt: Thank you so much for this! Big-ups, The Witzard!!! Thanks again! Shout-outs to Deep, LiKWUiD, P.SO, Jesus Himself, Serringe, and Joe from The Other Guys! PEACE!!!
Doc Reevez: I already have a couple projects done; one is a solo album I'm thinking about releasing on record. The other, is a follow-up to the HOTFM album with Henry Quester. I've also, been speaking with my brother, Epic Flux, about putting out a new Phoenix Renaissance album, which I am excited about!