After years of pursing his music career as a local rapper in Colorado Springs, CO and diligently teaching himself how to make his own beats, Solomon Vaughn a/k/a Boonie Mayfield unexpectedly rose to internet stardom during the early days of YouTube as one of the pioneers of home studio beatmaking videos. Selling beats online for a living in 2007, one of Boonie's clients notified him of a fraud producer who was stealing and re-selling his beats on a hip-hop producer website. This prompted Boonie to buy a camcorder and post a video proving that the stolen beats were his, which in turn introduced him to the YouTube platform.
Months later, Boonie started posting impromptu videos of him playing live beats with his MPC 1000 from the corner of his apartment bedroom in Denver, CO under the moniker, “Boon Doc”. While his channel was organically attracting a small following on its own, Boonie’s videos soon went viral after a guest editor discovered his content and featured his most popular video to date on the front page of YouTube.
In the beginning, Boon Doc was known for his revered sample-chopped beats influenced by the likes of Pete Rock, DJ Premier, RZA, DJ Scratch, J Dilla, Q-Tip, Havoc of Mobb Deep and other classic hip-hop producer legends. But after his beats store got suspended for using samples in 2009 and then his first studio was robbed of almost all of his equipment the following year, Boonie taught himself music theory and resurfaced as a multi-instrumentalist, composing his own original material with blends of boom-bap, jazz, funk and neo soul.
Boonie Mayfield showcased his developing musical chops and seasoned sample-flipping skills on his critically acclaimed debut instrumental album, Black Koolaid. Released in 2011, Black Koolaid has been deemed an underground classic and solidified Boonie’s beatmaking legacy as one of the greats within the instrumental hip-hop landscape. By 2012, Boonie began posting long-form episodes of his own docu-series titled, Boon Documented. It was one of the first self-made web series of its kind on YouTube giving his viewers a deeper look into the life and career of a DIY music producer from a small town with big dreams.
During this time, Boonie's musical versatility expanded as he continued to hone his craft. His sound and interest began to stray from hip-hop and became more inspired by the likes of Pink Floyd, Marvin Gaye, Bootsy Collins, The Beatles, Funkadelic and other old-school soul, jazz, funk and rock musicians that hip-hop producers have sampled. And motivated by the retro-flavored projects of modern multi-instrumentalists like Mayer Hawthorne and Adriane Young, Boonie's newfound direction shifted away from beatmaking entirely. After months of going through a creative block and a lot of soul searching, he was reminded of the reason why he learned to produce in the first place; to work with the dormant rapper/songwriter he solely intended to produce for all along—himself.
Unfortunately, not all of Boonie's fan base appreciated his evolution. Despite the fact that his newer works showed progression both technically and musically over his older works, his fan base shrank. No longer wielding an MPC, chopping samples or doing beatmaking videos, Boonie's new eclectic sound as a reemerged recording artist was a turn off to some of his followers that were not receptive to change and other styles of music outside of the Black Koolaid sound he was known for. But as an advocate of being true to oneself, Boonie stuck to his guns with hopes to reach new audiences that understand and appreciate his authenticity and projects as an artist/producer. Since 2013, Boonie Mayfield has embraced his inspiring yet sometimes discouraging transition and continues to create and express himself freely in the face of apathy, resistance and criticism from former fans.
“I was reading about how Quincy Jones was criticized when he transitioned from jazz, because they wanted him to be the next Duke Ellington or Count Basie. So, I understand why a lot of my former fans have criticized me. They wanted me to stick to hip-hop and be the next J. Dilla or Pete Rock, but I’m doing my own thing. I don’t want to stick to anything or be the “next” anybody. I want to be the first and only me,” he says.
As a proud and prolific independent artist with no rules or boundaries, Boonie Mayfield dug deep, found his voice and has since released an extensive catalogue of music, evolving his sound into an unclassifiable genre of its own. His self-produced projects including; Boonie Mayfield Presents: Solomon Vaughn, Audiopium, Ho Ho Ho: A Bad Santa Carol, Black Floyd: The One Man Band, While Black (Red Light, Blue Light, E's and R's) and the upcoming Black Floyd II: The Self Made Era, have showcased Boonie's knack for lyrical and sonic storytelling, candid vulnerability and fearless genre-bending to the point of no category.
“Although my style is rooted in hip-hop, funk, soul, r&b, blues, jazz, psychedelic rock, electronic, pop, cinema and other genres, I see it as its own thing… I honestly don’t know what to call it,” he says.
For over a decade, Boonie Mayfield's journey has inspired many aspiring musicians around the world to create from the heart and never stop growing as artists and human beings. Every step of the way for Boonie Mayfield has been a learning experience documented for the world to see what’s possible when you take the skills and tools you have—no matter how small-scale—and use them to the best of your ability.