The rapper performs as part of this weekend's Breakaway Music Festival with a forward-looking new EP, 'NSFW,' in tow

On “Ballin,” one of the standout tracks off Hodgie’s new EP, NSFW, he notes that “we don’t get second chances,” a line of which the rapper was recently reminded after he and his partner walked away following a car accident catastrophic enough that it caused the airbags to deploy.

“You always have the power to bounce back, but that’s just how I feel coming from where I come from, that we don’t get second chances,” said the Lima-born rapper, reached in the hospital where he was getting checked out by doctors in the days following the weekend crash. “Don’t take stuff for granted, man. That’s a fact. Look where I am right now. It’s ironic, but I’m blessed.”

These blessings surface throughout NSFW, with Hodgie rapping about parenthood, overcoming his past, and his bright future prospects on tracks that bounce easily from the block (menacing opener “Yeah I Know”) to the bedroom, the rapper turning down the music to better hear his girl’s groans on the slinky “Talk to Me.”

Hodgie has never shied from exploring any aspect of his life on record. Witness the full-length American Dreamin, from 2015, on which the MC recounted his single-parent upbringing in vivid detail, rapping about his father abandoning the family and the sense of escape he once sought on the football field as a teenager. This time out, tracks like “Ballin” acknowledge this past — in one couplet Hodgie notes the “‘fuck you’ attitude” he inherited from his mom — but there’s also a greater focus on the promise of the future, exhibited most clearly in a guest appearance from Hodgie’s 4-year-old son, whose voice can be heard introducing the song. “Daddy, you the man!” he exclaims.

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“Growing up in a single-parent home, man, moms are tough,” said Hodgie, who will perform as part of Breakaway Music Festival at Mapfre Stadium, which takes place Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23 and 24. “So it’s interesting having my son speaking on there, because he doesn’t have to grow up the same way I did. He has every opportunity. He’s getting that experience with his dad, with me. … I’m trying to be my kid’s superhero.”

This personal growth is further reflected in the attitude Hodgie takes toward music nowadays, describing his aims as more artistic in nature than they might have been in the past. “When we grow and experience different things, wants change, needs change,” he said. “You learn what you want out of life, or music, or whatever it is. And those things that you once thought made you happy might not anymore. … Before you might have just wanted all of the flyest stuff, or you might just have wanted to be, air quotes, ‘rich,’ or whatever the case. But sometimes wealth is love and family and friends, art, things like that.”

Hodgie attributes some of this shift to a yearlong project he undertook on Instagram, dubbed #HodgieHandouts, for which he recorded and posted a fresh verse for 52 straight weeks beginning in August 2018. As the year unfolded, the rapper experimented with different types of beats and lyrical phrasings, struggled with writer’s block and creative inertia, and forced himself to dig deeper for inspiration than he had in the past, uncovering new ways in which to tell his story.

“Doing the Handouts changed the way I recorded and the types of records I make. I didn’t have those same concerns, like, ‘Should I do this? Should I not do that?’” Hodgie said. “It was more like, ‘I know I can do all of this, so let’s just get out there and see what I can come up with.’”