Boregard is everywhere these days; you’ve seen him perform at “Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) x BOREGARD.,” rhyme at Couchella, open for Ty Dolla Sign and even appear at local events like Friday Night Fever in West Atlanta. The Emory student and rapper has received shoutouts from the likes of hip-hop website Local Savage, and with new material on the way, he’s poised for many more. Soon, Bockarie “BOREGARD.” Amara (17B) is someone you’ll want to brag you went to school with.
The Emory Wheel conducted an in-person interview with Amara. The transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
Leigh Schlecht, The Emory Wheel: How did you get involved in music?
Boregard: Just from listening to it a lot. There were times when I would be listening to an album and start hearing lyrics. I would have to look them up and read them. I wanted to go and give other people that feeling.
EW: So you like using allusions and double meanings?
BA: Yeah, stuff like that, and things that you can relate to. A good line with some good imagery, where I describe something in a very roundabout way. I wasn’t really thinking about making music but then I started writing little raps. I had so much fun and kept going with it.
EW: You mentioned the imagery. Are there any lyrics that inspired you or that you’re particularly proud of?
BA: My song “Interest” — [I’m in love with] the first eight lines. There are some alliterations and comparisons. It’s one of my best-written songs. I took a small concept and that song as a whole: the hook, what I’m trying to say, what it represents, it came together so well. I love that beat so much.
EW: What is your writing process like?
BA: It varies song to song. Sometimes I’ll have a beat and hear it and freestyle to it, and be listening to it all day, and I’ll write to it. Other times, … I’ll say a line. It might not be a rhyme that goes with that line, but there [will be] a single line that appeals to me because of how it sounded. It won’t be my first line, but it’ll be the seventh or eighth line and I’ll write above it and below it.
EW: How long does it take you to write a song and move it all the way through?
BA: “Honey, Did You Know About This?” I wrote that song in 12 minutes. It was dumb. And there are songs like “Interest,” which is also one of my best songs, that took a long time to work out. It depends on how it feels. Sometimes you might even be able to tell by the song. They might feel effortless and fun, and those are the ones I come up with quicker. It’s hard to get that feel if you’re really nitpicky. The ones where I’m gliding over the instrumental, it’s not hard for me, you know?
EW: Do you see yourself putting out another mixtape or EP sometime soon?
BA: There’s gonna be a Boregard album in 2017. That’s not a question. There are also a couple joint collaborations that I’m working on that I’ll drop before my full-length album comes out.
EW: What are some songs that people should listen to that they might not know about?
BA: “Magnolia” by Playboi Carti. That song is so good. Please listen to that. And listen to “30” by Larry League, that’s a great one. “Witness” by Starpav. “Daydream” by Nai Br.XX, and look out for a song called, “Dough” by me. It’s coming soon.
EW: Did you do everything yourself on the song?
BA: No, no, no. Sensei Bueno, that’s my childhood best friend. We both wanted to do [the mixtape] and worked on it together. He was like, “You concentrate on writing those lyrics. I’m gonna do like everything else. I got you.” We just did collaborative efforts and were like “Hey, you could do this, I could do that,” and we came up with strategies.
EW: How did you come up with your name?
BA: A lot of people call me Bo, so people would ask, “Is that short for Beauregard?” I was really into French culture and I knew “beau regard” meant “good-looking” … and I originally spelled it the French way, but my friend was like, “make it more personal.” Now I like it in all caps, too. It has the right amount of ratchetness and elegance all at the same time. I customized the name to fit me — it’s “BOREGARD.” Period at the end. All caps.
EW: Is there anything that you’re inspired by or trying to work towards in terms of your sound?
BA: One of my goals is to make music that’s so profound, so skillfully done, that, despite the vulgarity, I have this cynical, nature in my lyrics. It’s my distinct style. I want it to set it up in such a way that it’s so clever that it’s like, “Damn, he described that in such a beautiful way using such ugly terms” that experts, critics, they’re like “Dang! I appreciate this.” My music is kind of like the talk. You have to expose everyone to it. Everyone has to hear it, has to accept it. It’s a beautiful process, but it can be ugly. There’s sexual harassment. There are dangerous, horrible violations of sex, but there’s also beautiful sex. There are babies, there are families, so I guess my music is like sex.
EW: You mention these vulgarities, but in this conversation you’ve only sworn twice. Is Boregard a persona that you create for yourself?
BA: There’s Bockarie Amara and there’s Boregard. I’m a student, and I’m also a rapper. There’s the sweet Bockarie — I’m a very empathic, quiet, peaceful, conflict-averse person. But sometimes there’s Boregard who just says it how it is. [The persona] is also kind of a play. I’m also into acting. When I was at Oxford [College], I was in all the plays except maybe one. I was not in The Vagina Monologues — I dunno why. But I’m the rap game Bo Jackson: I rap, I act.
EW: How has your life built you into who you are now?
BA: I grew up around very strong women, [especially] my mom. Seeing her work so hard pushes me to work hard too. I’m the type of person to say, “I want to be a rapper, but it’s too much.” Instead of saying, you have to do all that, she’d tell me to take it one step at a time. She made me a very patient person, a very persistent person. My family is the biggest blessing I have, and a great family made it impossible for me to say that I had a tough childhood. That was also what made my music better, because I was giving [them] something to support, something worth supporting.