Nature Boi’s Mom Wanted Him To Be An Electrical Engineer. He Pursued Hip-Hop Instead.

By Johnthan Speed

Maryland hip-hop artist Nature Boi lost his mother last year. His new song "Uhh" is an unconventional tribute to her.
Maryland hip-hop artist Nature Boi lost his mother last year. His new song "Uhh" is an unconventional tribute to her.

It’s been said that music is a form of therapy. That’s as true for listeners as it is for musicians.

Maryland artist Nature Boi lost his mother last year, and music has been curative for him as he’s gone through the grieving process. But sometimes it’s produced unexpected results. Take “Uhh” (listen below), his latest release.

nature-boi-uhh“I made the beat July 25th, 2014, the day before my mother passed,” writes the 28-year-old — real name Antonio Ervin — in an email. “At the time, I hadn’t recorded in a while.” He had been spending time with his mother in the hospital.

One year after his mother’s death, Nature Boi got back into the booth, put his soul out there and delivered a tribute for Mother Nature. But it’s not exactly “Candle in the Wind.” “Uhh” is equal parts turn-up and realism, addressing Nature’s survival instincts and somewhat volatile emotions.

“It may sound like a regular trap song, but everything I said in [it] was reality. I was under the influence [and] I was angry and violent,” Nature Boi writes.

His feelings ooze out of the track, just as they would from a Kanye West or a Teddy Riley, two innovative artists he cites as influences. He thinks it would impress his mother, whom he calls his biggest supporter. That’s key, he points out, because her approval eluded him at first.

Nature Boi’s mom wanted him to pursue a different career. “She wanted me to be an electrical engineer because of the money, and because it seemed like more of a sure path,” he writes. He gave it a shot at Frostburg University, enrolling in the classes he’d need to take to enter the field, but he left school the following year to commit himself to music.

Nature Boi had to win his mother over “more than a stranger,” he writes. When she finally gave him her blessing, she became his No. 1 fan. That meant “everything” to him.

Beyond “Uhh,” Nature Boi finds himself wearing a variety of hats, musically. He has production credits on Elevator Music, a project he worked on with fellow Marylander Brain Rapp; he DJs; and he has his own batch of songs, Super Natural, slated for release later this year. There’s just one problem with wanting to cover so many creative bases.

“My biggest issue is being a perfectionist,” Nature Boi writes.

On the other hand, he’s a rising artist without a big fanbase yet. That low profile can be an asset, he says. “Because nobody is really checking for me, it’s no pressure.”

Warning: Explicit lyrics.