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Photograph: Creative Commons/Wikimedia/MoraljonathanBoots

Boots 101: A primer on the mysterious Roc Nation producer

By Ross Finney

Last year when Beyoncé unexpectedly dropped her spectacular self-titled album, the question on everyone's mind was "Who is Boots?" Fans scouring the liner notes found the mysterious name all over: Boots co-wrote and produced many of the album's best tracks, including faves like "Blue" and "Haunted." Various media outlets quickly identified Boots as Jordan Asher Cruz—Roc Nation's newest signee and former member of soulful Miami duo Blonds—but turned up little else.

Since then, Boots has been tagged as an artist to watch and released a woozy, masterful mixtape, WinterSpringSummerFall, which showcases his trademark style: spacious, hypnotic beats with minimal synths and instrumentation, and a combination of rapping and soulful singing (some by guests like Kelela and Queen Bey herself). You can check him out tonight at a solo show at Baby's All Right, and then supporting FKA twigs for a series of dates. 

Beyoncé: "Haunted"

Boots: Dreams (feat. Beyoncé)

Boots: Autumn (Lude I) (feat. Kelela)

In addition to his own mixtape, Boots has continued to release songs through his Soundcloud and recently lent his talents to two tracks for old friend El-P's latest collab with Killer Mike, Run the Jewels 2. Boots produced the Run the Jewels track "Lie, Cheat, Steal," which definitely carries his audio fingerprints, and sings on "Early."

Run the Jewels: "Lie, Cheat, Steal"

Though he remains elusive, Boots is making a slow but steady move into the spotlight. His upcoming shows are an opportunity to catch the ascendant producer and musician in his element, and (fingers crossed) to hear some new material.


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