According to A Boogie wit da Hoodie, 2018’s Hoodie SZN album—which broke the naming convention of 2016’s Artist, 2017’s The Bigger Artist, and 2018’s International Artist—was him leaning into a harder sound, MCing a little more in line with what you might expect to come out of the Highbridge section of the Bronx. “It’s straight street,” A Boogie told Apple Music at the time. With Artist 2.0, however, the hoodie has come down, the MC returning to Artist mode, once again baring his soul through R&B melodies.
He indulges this in many ways across Artist 2.0, interpolating lyrics from Fantasia’s “When I See U” for a few bars during “Cinderella Story,” singing a verse in Bronx-friendly Spanglish on the same song, or wailing on “Thug Love,” “I just wanna be a rock star like The Beatles.” Artist 2.0 is also rich with guest spots (Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Gunna), but mostly they are vocalists of the same ilk: modern MCs gleefully toeing the line between rapper and singer. He makes room for two of them on “Anti-Social Gangsta (Numbers)” (Gunna, Roddy Ricch), but sounds equally comfortable next to proper R&B stars Summer Walker (“Calm Down [Bittersweet]”) and Khalid (“Another Day Gone”). It’s this kind of versatility that has given A Boogie his staying power, allowing him to outlast the many buzzing NYC artists that have popped up during his reign.