Almost ten stories up, no elevator, (welcome to Boston) awaits South End’s best view of the city. In front of the twilight Boston skyline sits Aaron Campbell, also known as Ace Boogie of The Urban Nerdz, The U.N. We sat down with The U.N. almost two years ago when they had a slightly different sound and a third member. Now with one less MC and a full band behind them they situate themselves for rehearsal and Ace takes a moment to share their upcoming projects.
The Boston Bazaar: You have definitely grown in number, how many are involved The U.N. now?
Ace: Right now with The Urban Nerdz we have two MCs: Kay and myself. In the band we have a drummer, a saxophone player, we have a tenor sax, we have the clarinet, we have the keys, we have the guitar, and we have the bassist. So that’s seven all together, including us – nine. So, a nine piece. We also have a vocalist singing background in the intro.
The Boston Bazaar: Do you have any projects that you are working on right now?
Ace: Our album is actually finished. It’s called La Naissance de Jezebel, which is French for the birth of Jezebel. And long story short, it’s a seven-song long album about a woman named Jezebel who says fuck the 9-5, fuck education, I want to do what the girls do on the TV screen. So, through the album we take you through this storyline about this woman named Jezebel but actually the album can be related to everybody, although we’re talking about her, because of the deeper meaning of the album.
The Boston Bazaar: Are you nervous that everyone will not understand the deeper meaning?
Ace: We’re actually creating a visual so that everyone can understand it more. We don’t tell everybody this, but the album is seven songs long because it revolves around the Seven Deadly Sins. So, each sin is a different song. And we laid it out in a way that takes you from beginning to end. It’s like a rollercoaster and it all flows together.
The Boston Bazaar: When can we hear the album?
Ace: La Naissance de Jezebel dropping… question mark. We don’t know when it’s dropping yet, just because we’re trying to get together a lot of the business aspect beforehand. We put a lot of time and a lot of money and a lot of heart into this so we want to make sure that we’re not just dropping this to be like ‘oh yea, I’ve got my new mixed tape coming out, son. Its about to be crazy.’ No, we’re about to kill shit. This time we’re doing it right.
The Boston Bazaar: How do you think you guys have changed since we last spoke?
Ace: We’ve always been inspired to achieve more, not only as individuals but as a group. I think we’ve been able to master bits and pieces overtime but once we realized we had the music down – studio sessions and the lyrics, now it’s about waxing down the live sound and making it golden. So, I think that teaming up with Josh and Yogi (the band) we’ve been able to make that shit happen in a very short amount of time compared to other MCs or groups in the city.
The Boston Bazaar: Why do you think it’s been such a quick process in comparison to other groups?
Ace: Just for some people, even in the industry, it takes them years to find instruments or other musicians to work with to create a live sound. We’ve been blessed to have made the music in the studio. It just so happens the music in the studio is able to be broken down with a live sound with instruments. So we’ve progressed a whole lot and once people hear this new project they’ll be like ‘oh shit, these motherfucka’s ain’t playing.” And we’re not.’
The Boston Bazaar: So, how did you guys come up with the concept for La Naissance de Jezebel?
Ace: A year ago, I want to say we started. We actually separated because we went from the trio to a duo. Once that happened we were at a stump. We were trying to figure out exactly what we were going to do. We definitely weren’t going to stop making music but we had a plan and we kind of had to put that on the back burner.
We actually took the plan we had and reinvented it because there were a couple of people trying to steal our shit. So the creative process behind La Naissance de Jezebel – we got some random inspiration talking about video girls because in hip-hop culture people degrade women so much that its just like someone needs to talk about it in a different context. So we created that and then out of no where the Seven Deadly Sins came up and then we matched those two together and that’s how we came up with the blueprint.
So we came up with the blueprint of the project before we even created any music. The first song that we did and put out was “Overdosed.” And that was just like going from 90s hip-hop to some futuristic clash of craziness. We’ve still kept our style, we’re still growing, we’ve grown a lot being in the studio – our lyrical abilities. And I think that once we created that blueprint it challenged us even more to present the story in a way that it could be appealing to others, still party friendly but still lyrically friendly but still listening friendly. It’s been a blessing. I never would have expected that we’d be at this point, with a fucking seven piece band, a year ago. We just kept faith and this is where we are now and we have a lot of big plans for the future. We’re really looking forward to it.
People think we have something crazy coming out, that we’re slowly breaking up, or that we’ve completely jumped off the earth. We’re not going anywhere any time soon. There’s still a lot more to come, this is just the music side of it. We have a whole other world of visuals that we’re putting together.
Follow The U.N. on Facebook for updates on La Naissance de Jezebel and upcoming show dates.