Handsome and humble, with a heart full of poetry pumping to the beat of hip-hop, two-time Emmy winner Boris Rogers seems unmoved by his many accomplishments. His sexy new single “I want You” is DBS coded and ready to break into the quiet storm markets and his new album Obscure Popularity scheduled to be released this summer. Yet he remains as close to and as far from what you would expect of a young black man born in a small town in Mississippi. He explained complexities that have made him the – the poet, MC, two-time Emmy winner, Poetry Slam Master – man we know as Bluz.
Boris Rogers has been a staple in both the hip-hop and poetry community in Charlotte for over a decade. For his poetic commentary on “Inside the Headsets” he received his 1st Emmy in 2009 for quick turn around of a live event. The second came the following year for the Ray Cob Sports Documentary “The Cameron Crazy’s.” Through all this it seems Boris is still simply the “honest person” his parents taught him to be.
“I was a weird kid growing up,” says Boris Rogers moving his shoulder length locks out of his brown face. He smiles as he reflects on his wide range of music and hobbies he was exposed to. Bluz moved with his military family on multiple deployments and fell in love with hip-hop in Germany. “The Rappin’ Duke was my first hip-hop album.” He laughs at dating himself and recalls being introduced to rock shortly after the family settled in South Carolina. “I was really into Metallica and this song called One. The distinctive song that made me fall in love with the chaos and beauty of guitars and drums just going at each other. In that same breath I was discovering NWA.”
Boris goes on to explain that his parents never focused on race but rather “they wanted me to be a good, honest person.” Rogers has became so honest he admitted turning down a soccer scholarship to William & Mary to attend UNC Charlotte. “I was young, I wasn’t focused,” says Rogers he paused his academic career in pursuit of a career in the music industry. During the late 90’s he “went hard and met a lot of great people” he recalls; “I quit school, I got some job, I was interning at Def Jam around the time when DMX came out, I was in a band”
He seemed to have only positive memories of being a member of Urban Abstract. The band consisted of “a DJ, upright bass, keys, guitar, drums, congas, and movies or sometimes images playing behind us on a big screen. We brought more than just a show it was really an experience.” Live aspects of the show and fusion of poetry helped him to feel comfortable mixing poetry with a hip hop flow. UA was one of the many underground hip-hop groups that performed at Fat City “when NoDa was grimy but it was the coolest place to be, before it was the place to be.”
After Urban Abstract broke up Bootney Farnsworth – as he was known then – formed a new group with Rhythm, another UA band member. “He was Rhythm so I was like I’ll just start calling myself Bluz and we’ll be Rhythm and Bluz.” Bluz says the day Fat City died a lot of hip-hop, as we know it in Charlotte died with it. As a result, Bluz took the slam poetry world by storm, as part of Charlotte’s first slam team. Three years later he reluctantly agreed to replace Terry Creech becoming the slam master 2006.
“Poets and Jay Cee supported each other and that’s where the hip hop scene failed. Poetry has been consistently supported in Charlotte.” From then to now the track record speaks for itself.” He says referring not just his slam accolades but to the fact that under his leadership, Slam Charlotte boasts two consecutive National Poetry Slam Championships and has increased in popularity and notoriety.
Bluz says his new album is “a lot closer to the street,” an has a lot more personal tracks, “you hear a lot more of me fatherhood, financial issues, our souls and what is at risk, issues with authority and the police state.” You can check his tour schedule on ReverbNation.com/MrBluz for information of his upcoming appearances and follow him on twitter @MrBluz.
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