Interviews by: Martin Bauman
In 2009, a young, hungry, and largely undiscovered emcee from Fresno teamed up with a Los Angeles producer with an ear for crafting albums and bringing an artist’s music to life. Fashawn and Exile were in the works on Boy Meets World, a project that would change their lives forever.
Hip-hop has long had an obsession with the debut album — perhaps more so than any other genre. They mark an artist’s introduction to the world and often live on as their definitive piece of work. Nas had Illmatic. Jay had Reasonable Doubt. Snoop had Doggystyle. Biggie had Ready to Die. On October 22nd, 2009, the day came for Fashawn to leave his own mark. He had lived 21 years and was anxious to tell his story — to let the world know what Fresno looked like, sounded like, and felt like.
The result was an album the likes of which had seldom been heard from someone his age. It was witty, heartfelt, and honest. His storytelling was captivating. The production was magnificent. XXL gave it an XL and called it an album that “resonates a lot more than the work of some rappers decades his senior.” HipHopDX called it “perhaps the most heir apparent to Nas’ ’94 classic.” It’s only fitting that five years later, Nas would end up signing Fashawn to his Mass Appeal label.
Perhaps the greatest testament to the album’s significance, though, is the fact that it’s still as relatable and fresh today as the day it was released. We caught up with those involved in the making of Boy Meets World to hear the untold stories behind the album’s creation. Read the oral history after the jump.