Jordan Asher, a.k.a., the mysterious Beyoncé-producing, R&B signing, Run the Jewels-collaborating, “Boots”, is slowing peeking his head out of the shadows. Described on Roc Nation’s website as: “Boots was born in the mouth of an 808,” followed by nothing else at all, the young producer was apparently signed to the Roc two years ago, and immediately started work on Beyoncé’s self-titled 5th album, co-producing 9 of the 14 tracks. Coming out of nowhere to working with Beyoncé, who described him as an “innovator,” and “proud to work with him,” the question of “Who is Boots?” apparently racked up 452,000,000 Google results.
Boots’ resume now includes:
1) “Ghost / Haunted” (Written and Produced) – Beyoncé
2) “Drunk In Love” (Co-Produced with Detail, Harmon & Timbaland) – Beyoncé
3) “No Angel” (Produced) – Beyoncé
4) “Partition” (Co-Produced with Harmon & Timbaland) – Beyoncé
5) “Jealous” (Co-Produced with Hit-Boy & Detail) – Beyoncé
6) “Flawless” (Co-Produced with Hit-Boy) – Beyoncé
7) “Superpower” (Co-Produced with Pharrell Williams) – Beyoncé
8) “Heaven” (Written and Produced) – Beyoncé
9) “Blue” (Written and Produced) – Beyoncé
10) “Dreams (feat. Beyonce)” (Written and Produced) – Boots
11) “Run Run Run (feat. Sia)” (Written and Produced) – Boots
12) “Lie, Cheat, Steal” (Co-Produced with El-P) – Run the Jewels
13) “Early” (Featured Vocalist) – Run the Jewels
14) “Crazy in Love (Fifty Shades of Grey Remix)” (Co-Produced) – Beyoncé
15) Motorcycle Jesus – Boots’ new mixtape
Imagine being signed to Roc Nation and these 15 songs being the first 15 things you do. He met Beyoncé day 1… And his exclusion from the celebrity world is acceptable, if not smart. The internet went crazy over who he was, and he half-expected it, saying that he didn’t, “want to be the one to just hand it over to everyone,” but the problem I have with Boots is not that. It’s that he kind of just gave all of his songs to Beyoncé. I know he was signed to Roc Nation, and he gave Beyoncé the songs as any singer/songwriter does, gives the songs they write to people who can make them big, (like The-Dream or Sia Furler), but the haze around what actually happened is what makes Boots so mysterious. Writing a song called, “I’m On To You,” Beyoncé heard the demo of Boots singing and playing the piano, recorded on his iPhone, and he just thought, “What is she hearing in this?” Written off a stream-of-consciousness, Aphex Twin inspired, label-rejection night, Boots’ “I’m On To You/Ghost,” became a collaboration with Beyoncé, turning into, “Haunted.” He remarks, “it was just me sounding sad as fuck, singing by myself – and that shit made it onto the damn album.”
After racking up some solo work, and then working briefly with Run the Jewels, Boots is back in 2015, with his new mixtape: Motorcycle Jesus. Immediately, it’s obvious to hear his influence on Beyoncé. Where he learned how to work with sound on the same level as everyone else who worked on Beyoncé is beyond my knowledge, but his spark in what the album the “innovative,” project that it was isn’t here on Motorcycle Jesus.This new project is very guitar-heavy. Most of the production is lost under the heavily distorted-guitars, though “lost” isn’t entirely the correct word choice. The production is still top-notch, the new addition just isn’t necessarily complementary. The new sound takes away from the album more that it gives.
Maybe Boots isn’t meant to make his own songs. Initially, I was pretty peeved that he wrote great songs like, “Ghost,” “Haunted,” “Heaven,” and “Blue,” and just had Beyoncé get famous off of them instead of him, but like I said before, with some artists, song writing and producing creds are also very fulfilling. Pharrell Williams has been in the industry for years, before “Happy,” came out, producing The Neptunes, N.E.R.D., Jay-Z, etc., you name it, and when G I R L, came out, people saw that he just couldn’t do it solo. And while G I R L, wasn’t the new Pop/R&B masterpiece everyone wanted it to be, you’ll still never hear that Pharrell isn’t happy in life. Maybe Boots is just one of those Pharrell types too.