Hip Hop artist and producer ML Underwood has used the phrase for years, but people still ask him what he means when he calls someone a “boss playa.”
So he went ahead and made a song about it. The new single, appropriately called “Boss Playa,” features Japanese singer Aya Ito and was released last month on Underwood’s birthday. It’s already garnering thousands of plays. In fact, it has gone viral on TikTok and amassed nearly 100,000 views on YouTube in only its first two weeks.
“When I see guys that are shaking and moving, making a presence around me, I call them a boss playa,” Underwood says. “It’s a lingo that I created myself where I call men who are pretty much out here being bosses, I call them boss playa. I went ahead and made a song about it because that’s the energy that can affect the world. Once the world understands what a boss playa is, it’s something all people are really striving for, that greatness.”
For the song’s beat, Underwood turned to producer holleyonthabeat with an Earth, Wind and Fire sample. And Grammy-nominated Slavic Livins handled the engineering. The result is classic hip hop, with an uplifting vibe and a timeless feel to it.
Underwood makes music to entertain, but he also drops “seeds of intelligence” in his lyrics, with a focus on growth and development and elevating yourself financially, spiritually and mentally. “I was done but now I’m back I know you listening,” he raps in the new single. “Tell my haters grab a seat I know you’re filling in. The opposite of you, I love to see a boss win.” “That’s a powerful statement because in this world we live in for some reason people don’t like to see other people win,” Underwood says. “It’s like people cheer when people lose. We have to reverse that mindset and be happy and rejoice with others when you see them win. What happens when you do that is the universe will make sure you win. You only get out what you put in. It’s happy music.”
In addition to creating “happy music,” he also wants to create “forever music” that lasts and doesn’t die out, even if he might release it ahead of its time.
“Everyone that hears my music says it’s timeless,” he says. “That’s the best kind of music to make because you may end up with a million streams every year but all it takes is a shift in the universal mindset and that song can end up taking off two or three years later. I want to create music that’s like a bomb, it’s ready to explode when the time is right.”
That mindset – caring more about the longevity of his music than instant gratification – developed thanks to some key influences in Underwood’s life. He grew up listening to the Jackson 5 but it wasn’t until he met his music teacher, Mrs. Hatcher, that his soul connected with music. He was able to thank her for that during a recent visit.
His parents raised him with a religious background that helped develop a sense of spirituality, more self awareness and a resilient mindset. That resiliency was tested when he served five years in federal prison, but inside he helped young African-American inmates turn their lives around, which led to the creation of The United Prisoner Association
And Underwood left prison with the knowledge that music was his future. He wasn’t new to the industry, though. The Gary, Indiana native was just 14 when he was with a group called Le Boyz, which went on to sign a deal with Tommy Boy Records. Underwood was too young to move to New York with the group, but says, “I was around greatness.”
In addition to his own career, Underwood founded MyLife Entertainment, which offers talent management, consulting and more. The company has even scored a distribution deal with Empire.
“To have them distributing my music, understanding my vision and supporting me, that’s all I really want,” he says. “I want to have that story where MyLife Entertainment did it all on its own and paved the way and now music’s spinning on the radio, people are talking about me without nobody backing me financially.”
For more, visit mylifeentertainment.net and check out the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Underwood’s Twitter handle is @MLUnderwood2.