This (above) is Lil Boosie's letter to Alex, a troubled fifteen year old who appeared on the television program "Beyond Scared Straight" in August this year and named Boosie as a role model. "Beyond Scared Straight" actually looks like an intriguing program (it premiered on A&E this year and builds upon the concept of the 1978 documentary "Scared Straight"). I've worked with a lot of youth that could be on this show. Anyway, you can hear the soundbyte from Alex's appearance on this mixtape (track one)... which is fitting because it sets the tone for the Baton Rouge MC's litany of laments and regrets that are featured on this week's tape, "Boosie's Blues."
Lil Boosie? On this blog? Seriously? Yes indeed. I realize that I'm coming completely out of leftfield on this one folks. I'm guessing most of you (white people at least) have never heard of him. Or if you have heard of him it's probably for all the wrong reasons. As you can see from his letter to Alex, Boosie is in prison. This puts him in familiar company. I can rattle off of decent sized list of rappers that have been incarcerated/arrested in recent years: T.I., Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka Flame, Young Jeezy & Mystikal (and that's just naming southern rappers). The difference is that Boosie is still there (I just found out that Mystikal had been released from prison... which is actually semi-old news).
Actually Mystikal is a fairly good comparison to Boosie as an artist. Or some people have compared Boosie with Ja Rule. I'm not a fan of Ja Rule (he did help launch J-Lo's singing career... bastard), but the comparison is valid. Boosie, like these two artists, raps with vocals that rumble. The SOUND of his voice is cinematic... it drips with emotion and earnestness. Basically, everything he says sounds awesome. How could it not? And, more importantly, he NEVER comes across as faking ANYTHING. He is a true storyteller. I don't know what else to say. No one is doubting this dude's credibility.
Okay, but here's the thing: most of Lil Boosie's music is, in my opinion, not that good. He is one of those artists that puts out 90% mediocre (or club-oriented) songs. Maybe that's a bit harsh. I am lumping most of his hits into that category, so someone obviously thinks they're good. But it's just not my cup of tea... these songs often focus on acts of debauchery (partying), gaining material goods for oneself, having sex, making threats, and being an all-around bad ass. Oh, and it's often misogynistic too.
Let's focus on the other 10% instead. And wow, are these twelve songs (featured on this week's mixtape) phenomenal. If you're familiar with Boosie's mainstream material, this will catch you completely off-guard. He pours out his soul on these tracks and looks deep inside. And it's really fucking great. Though if you get offended easily by gangster rap (how you feel about "The Chronic" is a good litmus test), then you might just want to steer clear of this one. But I encourage you not to. These songs are stories that you should sit through at least once. They're important to hear.
I'm not going to go into the charges that Boosie faces or the "Free Boosie" movement on this post. Whether he is guilty of the crimes he's been charged with or not (he maintains his innocence on the murder charges) is irrelevant in a way. Boosie's letter to Alex, and the songs on this tape, speak to the tragic trajectory of Boosie's life... a trajectory that too many youth from marginalized and low-income communities also follow.
So here it is. Don't expect any apology songs a la T.I. Also, don't expect him professing to becoming a changed man like Lil Wayne (who is a codeine-free/alcohol-free free man now). Boosie spits equal parts pain and vitriol. It's the blues.
By the way, today (November 14) is Lil Boosie's 29th birthday. So yeah... "Happy birthday, Mr. Torrence Hatch." And if this incarceration marks the end of your music career, you have left us with some gems. Thank you for opening your heart to the world through your poetry.
Here is the tracklist for Lil Boosie “Boosie's Blues (a misshapedmixtape)" below with the album that it came off of in parentheses (check for download link in “comments”):
01 : Intro - Scared Beyond Str8 [Clip]
02 : Devils (ft Foxx) [Incarcerated]
03 : No Mercy [SuperBad]
04 : Where Would I Be [unreleased]
05 : Goin' Thru Some Thangs [Bad Azz]
06 : If I Could Change (ft Lil Quick & Money Bag$) [The 25th Hour]
07 : Hatin' [Bad Azz]
08 : Bank Roll [SuperBad]
09 : Betrayed (ft Webbie) [Incarcerated]
10 : I Ain't Mad At Cha [The 25th Hour]
11 : Long Journey (ft Webbie) [Incarcerated]
12 : Pain [SuperBad]
13 : Mind Of A Maniac [SuperBad]
14 : Outro - Boosie's Letter To Alex (read by his cousin)