In 2006, D.C. rapper Tabi Bonney scored a breakout hit with “The Pocket,” an off-kilter jam that celebrated regional slang terms like “yung,” “cise,” “bama” and “jo.” In the ensuing years, the Langdon Park native carved out a lane of his own, choosing a breezier, more easygoing sound than the hard-edged trap-rap of D.C. up-and-comers like Fat Trel and Shy Glizzy.
Yet in 2012, Bonney says, he hit a wall and needed a change. He moved to Los Angeles for the beaches, warm weather and presence of a robust music industry. “I’ve always felt at home whenever I’ve had a show in Cali,” Bonney says. “I stepped back and lived life a little more, and reassessed the direction I was headed. I was looking for a new sound. I needed to make a bigger leap. I wasn’t pressing the envelope.”
Now we’re hearing the latest example of that new sound: “Poom Poom,” which Bonney posted on Soundcloud last week, is an upbeat electro-pop track that the artist is pushing as an official single. Lyrically, the song describes a man pulled in by a woman’s gravitational force: “Got me opening the door with a top hat, I don’t even know how we got here,” goes one line. Musically, the track (produced by D.C.’s own Best Kept Secret) sounds made for the club—much more so than his previous work. That was done on purpose.
“I’m on some stuff that’ll get people dancing,” Bonney says. “When the song comes on, it makes you wanna have fun. I almost feel like I’m a new artist again.”