When Ja Rule [click to read] started to become the that rapper in Hip Hop, it wasn’t because of lyricism, storytelling or flow, it was simply based on that voice. Sure, he had some gritty street tales, haunting tracks like “Race Against Time” and Irv Gotti production, but the voice is what captivated listeners. When his popularity began to grow his subject matter evolved from those Queens tales to the radio friendly, “that’s your girl’s favorite song” anthems.
Baton Rouge's Lil Boosie [click to read], has many of those same traits. His strikingly-honest mixtapes have allowed him to garnish a cult following. His collaborations with Webbie [click to read], Hurricane Chris [click to read], Young Jeezy [click to read] and DJ Khaled [click to read] have made that notorious voice a crossover favorite the past several years, despite lacking the kind of budgets or gala of any of those names. A grizzled veteran at the age of 25, Boosie looks to make a commercial splash with his fourth studio album, Superbad: The Return of Boosie Bad Azz.
Boosie has been very forthright about the album being catered to women. “Miss Kissin’ On You,” “Levis,” and “Loose as Goose,” among others, are all targeted at the commercial audience with the female in mind. They are all successful to some point, but tend to get repetitive over the length of the album. The album is filled with features, from down south favorites, Webbie, and Young Jeezy, to Bobby V. [click to read] and a verse from Trina [click to read]. He accumulates some of the most commercial viable artists in order to get his desired plaque. Some of the features, like Bobby V. and Young Jeezy work, others like Lil Phat and Mouse tend to have a No Limit, everyone-can-get-on-the-microphone feel.
With that, there is a lot to like about Superbad; unfortunately consistency isn’t one of them. The album starts out with superb beat, “My Avenue,” but Lil Boosie and cast don’t match the beat's intensity. Track three and current single “Better Believe It” [click to listen] featuring Young Jeezy is arguably the album's highlight. Though there is no quotable or incredible display of lyricism, the song just captivates. However, just one song later, “Lawd Have Mercy” the album hits its low point with a terrible Casio-sounding beat and a poor hook. The very next song, “I’m a Dog” doesn’t fare much better, though the beat is much better, the content and lyrics like, “I’m spitting nothing but hot sauce and jalapeño peppers” seem a bit tired.
One thing which is not hard to do is to believe what Lil Boosie spits. He bluntly paints a vivid picture of the Baton Rouge streets, on songs like “No Mercy,” “Clips and Choppers” and “My Avenue.” On “Pain” he details the heartache he feels from losing loved ones, “I finally moved out my mom’s house/ got a happy home/ only thing fucked up is daddy’s gone.” The honesty that he demonstrates on these tracks is one of the reasons Boosie has such a following. The album closes on a very high note with a soon to be Boosie classic, “Mind of a Maniac” with introspective lyrics like, “Heart full of fucking pain / because I’m tired of getting stabbed and grabbed by all these motherfuckin' crabs / I laugh but maintain..” Boosie leaves die heart fans with the reason they love him.
Overall, Superbad: The Return Of Boosie Bad Azz is the most commercially-accessible album of Lil Boosie’s career. Unfortunately, unlike previous efforts, Boosie strayed a bit too far from the introspective work that his core fans adore and stuck with the commercial formula that introduced him to the rest of the country. It is a good effort from one of Baton Rouge’s finest who is pushing to secure his spot in the marketplace. Between Houston and Atlanta, there lies Lil Boosie. His foothold is as strong musically as it is geographically.