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Hoofy Baby Wants To Create Unity With His Music

Written by on July 8, 2022

On his upcoming album, Before I Do This, Hoofy Baby brings Chicago artists together.

Hoofy Baby, AKA Dan Hofman, has always been near to Chicago, growing up in the suburbs and spending his summers in Irving Park. Hofman started making music in 2012 and, in that time, has connected with some big names in Chicago music he loves to listen to. This summer, a three-year collaborative effort is coming to a head with the release of album, Before I Do This, on which he serves as executive producer.

Three singles from Hofman’s upcoming album are already out, each with a new combination of Chicago talent. Hofman has a deep love for the city’s music scene, reflected heavily by these first few singles which feature artists like Mick Jenkins, Jean Deaux, Brittney Carter and Senite. According to Hofman, this is just the beginning in terms of his collaborative efforts.

“My goal through this project is to help create more unity and bring people together,” he said. “Great things happen when people come together for a common goal.”

Courtesy of Hoofy Baby, by Mikayla Shuster

Hofman says the project actually started with a different album listeners may hear later this year called I Do This For You. After noticing a disconnect between some of the original album’s tracks, Hofman created Before I Do This to bridge the gap between the two albums. He says the album touches on themes of love, hopelessness and perseverance. 

Following the addition of his single “Tell Me Lies,” featuring Mick Jenkins, Jean Deaux and Qari, to our June “Poised To Break Through” playlist and single “Home,” featuring Brittney Carter and Prive City, to our July on-air rotation, we heard from Hoofy Baby about his plans for live shows, favorite tattoos and the creation of his upcoming album.

What part of Chicago are you originally from? Who was the first Chicago artist you really connected with, musically?

I actually spent most of my time out in the Northwest Suburbs with my father, but spent the summers with my mother who is from Irving Park. The first Chicago artist that I really connected to musically has to be Hurt Everybody. There is really something magical that happens when Supa Bwe and Qari create music together.

What’s something you think is special about the Chicago music scene?

The Chicago music scene is very special. Chicago has by far the most original and creative artists. There is just a vibe that is so radiant from the artists here that you won’t find, and can’t find, anywhere else.

How long have you been making music? Is Hoofy Baby your first project?

I’ve been creating music since 2012, but been taking it really serious for the past five years. I’ve been working quietly the last three years to really create something special, and released my first single being “Hoofy Baby” in April.

You’ve been releasing a series of, now two, singles featuring prominent Chicago artists — first Mick Jenkins, Jean Deaux and Qari, and second Brittney Carter and Prive City. Tell us a little bit about your thought process behind making collaborative pieces with Chicago artists. How and why did this idea come about? What do you hope to achieve through this ongoing project?

Like I said, I am such a big fan of Chicago music that I knew when I started to create this project I wanted to showcase some of my personal favorite artists who I’m a fan of and have a genuine love for their music. I have always loved seeing artists collaborating and creating timeless music. Growing up, how I would become a fan of other music would be from the features on the songs of artists I already loved. My goal through this project is to help create more unity and bring people together. Great things happen when people come together for a common goal.

Courtesy of Hoofy Baby, by Mikayla Shuster

Musically, can you break down these two singles for us? How did the process behind making both tracks differ, and what similarities (if any) did you notice about the processes?

The creation of “Tell Me Lies” came when I got the beat back from Keyboard Kid. I was just listening to the beat over and over again thinking of who would sound great on it. “Freakshow” by Ness Heads and Jean Deaux came on, and instantly I knew I had to send this over to Jean. After that, I try to create songs that I want to hear, so adding Mick Jenkins and Qari to the mix was a no-brainer, as everything they touch turns to gold. “Home” was a little different, because Prive [City] already had his part done. I’ve been a big fan of Brittney Carter for a while, but I wanted to hear a different side from her and I knew “Home” was the track for her to show that off on.

What’s special to you about making music collaboratively? 

Making music collaboratively is special because you get to create something different and unique that wouldn’t happen if you were just by yourself. You can try different ideas or bring out a different part of your personality that may shine bright with certain individuals.

Can you let us in on any future collaborations we can hope to hear from you?

I have a few amazing collaborations coming soon. I have a beautiful song with Senite and theMind called “Don’t Rush,” which will be the third single from my project. A crazy record with Supa Bwe and Father, and one that will touch the hearts of everyone with Noah Sims and MfnMelo. The rest you will just have to wait for.

Courtesy of Hoofy Baby, by Mikayla Shuster

The artwork for your singles utilizes a collage of different styles. Can you tell us a little bit about the pieces and the artist or artists who worked on them? How does the art relate to the music itself? What do you feel it expresses about you and your musical style?

All my artwork is done by an incredible artist named Owlkyd from Detroit. Owlkyd has been a part of this whole project from the jump. Not only does he create all the artwork you will see, he has been a huge part of helping me create this album and helping me bounce different ideas around. I just let him hear the music and let him do what he does best and is inspired by the music, and that’s what becomes the artwork that you see for the cover art. Owlkyd is a true artist. He doesn’t care about the money, fame, clout — he does what he loves and what he is passionate about. If he doesn’t love it, he won’t do it.

You have an upcoming project on the way titled “Before I Do This.” What made you decide to release this project? What was the process of making it like? Can you tell us about some of the themes it touches on?

I’ve been working hard the last three years creating a body of work that I would be proud of. I was working on another album actually first called I Do This For You, which you will hear later this year, when I started to realize half of the songs were telling a different story and a different vibe. So I did a reset and started to tell the origin story of this project, which deals with love, betrayal, feeling of hopelessness but having the courage to keep going in hoping that better days are right around the corner.

You said on your Instagram, “It all started with a painting and an idea…” along with an image of this painting. If you’re comfortable sharing, we’d love to know the story behind the painting and how it influenced you.

The name of the painting is “Behind all that u fear” and was done by Owlkyd, and I bought that from him before we really started going full force on the project. It is such a statement piece that I am blessed that he let me have it. The main image in the painting is a guy named “Father.” I’m not going to speak on what it means to Owl, but to me, when I look at this, it reminds me that no matter what you’re going through, no matter all the hardships and roadblocks that happen in your life, that you have to not be afraid and keep moving forward.

Do you have a favorite tattoo? Which one is it and why?

If you know me, tattoos and art have always been a big part of my life. My favorites would be I have a few Luke Chueh paintings tattooed on me. His art has always shown so much emotion and depth that it impacted me very early on in my life.

What are some goals you hope to accomplish before the year is out?

A few goals I have are I want to put on a few shows this year. Seeing live music has always been a passion of mine, and putting together a dope lineup of artists who are on my project from this city would be crazy. I also hope that Before I Do This helps at least one person who is going through a hard time in their life and makes it just a little bit easier for them, one song at a time.

Listen to Hoofy Baby on Spotify below and keep up with him on Instagram.

Written by George Chiligiris

Edited for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca

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