As Keith Elam once claimed, "it's mostly the voice that gets you up." But in the case of Lil Boosie the erstwhile Gang Starr frontman was only half right. Sure, Boosie himself has noted that his acerbic "waaah" alone has been known to make the women moist (ahem) and it's true that the same rasp has help to fuel labelmates Webbie and Foxx to major dance rap success (with "Independent" and "Wipe Me Down," respectively). But Boosie's own rise to underground icon status can be attributed to something bigger. It's mostly his pain.
Since breaking out as a teenage star on C-Loc's turn of the century local hit "Outlaws" the Baton Rouge spitter has put his struggles first. For every disposable radio hit, he has dropped entire mixtapes of unbridled honesty, that kind of pour your heart out emceeing that the rap world hasn't really seen since 'Pac passed. Set to release his sixth solo album, Super Bad, Bad Azz broke bread with DX through ten tons of cell phone hiss to talk on the early days, his legal struggles and parenting.
HipHopDX: What made you want to jump into the Rap thing?
Lil Boosie: Man, I just had so much on my mind when I was a teenager, I had to let go. I started out when I was like 15, rapping with C-Loc Records. I started with Trill when I was 17, so man, it's been a struggle.
DX: How'd you link up with C-Loc Records?
Lil Boosie: I rapped to my cousin one day and he was friends with C-Loc and C-Loc came to the gym while I was playing ball there. He came and got me, told me to rap for him, and I rapped for him and we went straight to the studio.
DX: How did people respond at first?
Lil Boosie: They were trippin off my voice, they loved my voice. Everybody was like, "Man, you're gonna be big one day." I just kept that faith.
DX: So tell me a little bit about the new album.
Lil Boosie: I got Trina [click to read] on the album, Bobby Valentino [click to read], of course [Young] Jeezy [click to read]. I brought a lot of songs to my label. It's another classic album from Boosie Bad Azz. It's a great album, you can listen to every song on the album.
DX: People who only hear you on the radio don't seem to realize how personal and introspective you get on your albums and mixtapes, is there going to be a lot of that deeper material on this album?
Lil Boosie: Yeah, it's gonna be some deep shit. But I'm catering it to the women more on this album. You gotta cater to the women. The women are the ones buying the CDs. The women want to get a real album. Most women, most classy women, are real fans and don't want that static-ass-burnt CD.
DX: It seems like your concern with bootlegging is a reoccurring theme on your songs.
Lil Boosie: Yeah, I am concerned. Bootlegging made me at first, but I've gotten to the point where I'm a national artist and I need people to go to the stores and buy [my album]. Bootlegging's not helping me no more becaue I'm at a point where I'm national. I've been like this for four or five years, people love me everywhere. So I really need them to go buy my CD. I want everybody to buy the album and support me. Get me that gold record that I'm looking for.
DX: How do you turn on a fan that might only know the "Wipe Me Down" Boosie to the "Goin Thru Some Thangs" side of Boosie?
Lil Boosie: Uh, most of the time people get onto me after the big records, my fanbase, they get crazy. But [later on] the "Goin Thru Some Some Thangs" is gonna be their favorite songs. I get deep with that music and that just makes fans love me. I say what the next rapper won't say, I do what he won't do and that what makes me.
DX: Do you have any plans to make another album with Webbie?
Lil Boosie: Yeah, I want to make a Gangsta Musik 2, but we'll have to sit at the table and talk money. It's no more rapping for free, I gotta to figure out how to make my money. It's all a business right now. If the right money ain't on the table, I'm not doing nothing no more.
DX: What other artists are you feeling who are out right now?
Lil Boosie: My man Hurricane [Chris] [click to read], we just did a mixtape, one of the hottest mixtapes that's out right now. We got a lot of good work in. I love working with Hurricane.
DX: What'd you think of Hurricane performing "Halle Berry" for the Louisana Legislature?
Lil Boosie: Yeah, I loved that man! He came to my house right after he did that.
DX: Are we gonna see Boosie up there one day?
Lil Boosie: I doubt it. The legislature and the people downtown hate me.
DX: Why do you think that?
Lil Boosie: I don't know. My background, my music. They think my music is just violent and they don't get down and listen and feel my pain. They can only imagine. So I'll probably never get that chance. But I support Hurricane in whatever he do.
DX: You've been recording with C-Loc again recently, is that something you're going to do some more of?
Lil Boosie: You know, once I finalize my [Bad Azz Entertainment] label deal I might bring him back on with me. We've been doing a lot of work and we still got that good sound together.
DX: Who were some of the other rappers who inspired you to get into this?
Lil Boosie: 2Pac. I used to love 2Pac mainly inspired me [to get to the point] where I speak about my mama, to where I speak about my problems. He really inspired me to say whatever the fuck is on my mind. So mostly 2Pac. I love a lot of other artists, but he was the one to make me want to be that person.
DX: What's the day to day life of Boosie like when you're not doing the music thing?
Lil Boosie: Well when I'm at home mostly I'm parenting my kids. I'm shopping, but mostly just being a daddy. Getting back on time that I done missed with my kids. And then rapping. When the kids go to bed, I'm doing six or seven songs a night. So I'm staying focused in the studio. I'm going hard, man. I go in there and I work until my eyes so tired that I can't really see no more.
DX: How old are your kids?
Lil Boosie: I have six kids - eight, six, four, three, two and one.
DX: What do the older ones think of your rap career? Are they at the point where they recognize that their daddy's a rap star?
Lil Boosie: Yeah my first two, they really understand it. They've been to concerts. They've done concerts themselves, rapping my music. So they really understand the music as far as who I am, how big I am, they really understand it. They know all my music, from front to back. They into the music thing. They're trying to rap already, they make some songs in the studio also. It's just like [natural] with the music thing, so I think they're gonna be going that way with their careers. Because I can't get 'em out the studio.
DX: Would you be happy to see them go in that direction?
Lil Boosie: Yeah I'd be happy to see them do it because I know so many people and I've made the mistakes that I won't let them make. I know a lot of people to get them in the game and as far as directing their music and getting them a style. And my daughters, they models, they beautiful, so if they wanna do this that's what they could do. But I wouldn't pressure them to do nothing. I don't pressure them to do nothing in the world. I just want them to find their talents.
DX: What's your legal situation like right now? I know you were facing some court cases.
Lil Boosie: Right now I'm fighting for my life. They got this shit around my ankle, tracking me everywhere. I'm fighting a possession of gun charge around marijuana. They denied my probation deal, they're trying to take me to trial and give me time. So right now I'm at a stand still, I'm just working this album. I'm praying and hoping for the better but they're treating me in court like I'm a damn monster. So shit is crazy right now, they want my life. So I got trial September 28th and I'm going in there and fighting for my life.