Reviewed by Jordyn Workman.
Hailing from Compton, a city overflowing with talent and bursting with unique life experiences. Boogie emerges on to the rap scene with his debut album Everythings For Sale, an introspective telling of his life delivered over neat production, featuring some of the most relevant names in hip hop. Alongside popular emerging artists 6lack and J.I.D, one of those names is record label boss and self-proclaimed rap god, Eminem. Signing to Shady Records in 2017, Boogie managed to catch the eye of one the greatest in the game and continues to maintain that attention with this release.
The album begins with a two-part song titled Tired / Reflections. This song is a mix of rap and spoken word set over a discreet but soulful beat. It sets the mood of the album prioritising lyrical content over melody, yet not compromising any sonic value. He places the listener into his hometown setting of Compton, mentioning gun violence, police sirens, and murder. Instead of succumbing to usual themes, glorifying gunplay and gang wars, Boogie states “Aint no point in using weapons, I’m at war with my reflection”. In this opening song and throughout the album themes of reflection, hopelessness and insecurity are strewn into the lyrics as if they have been scribbled into a diary.
As the album progresses Boogie jumps between rapping and singing seamlessly, showcasing his RnB influences within the songs Swap Meet, Skydive and Time featuring the soulful voice of Snoh Aaelegra. One of the slower songs and a real stand out for me on this album is Skydive II featuring 6lack, an emerging rapper/singer from Atlanta. The pairing of the two on this acoustic instrumental song compliments their similar melancholic styles perfectly. These songs about relationships are gentle and slow, providing a break from the darker subjects of the album to a warmer place of love and sensuality. They are welcome pauses from Boogies dark realities and are some of my favourite moments on this album.
Although Boogie shows great strength in his softer side, he is still able to come through with the fire. On the track Soho, he is joined by rapper J.I.D. This song, set on a trap beat is a different but welcome change to the RnB tracks mentioned earlier. At first, it sounds like another soulless, repetitive track straight from the depths of Soundcloud. However, as the song progresses it evolves into a well-executed commentary of the current rap scene. Boogie and J.I.D remind the listener they are different from those who came before and will not be changed by fame. A beat change allows for Boogie to shine with a verse of spoken word. He continues to bring the heat with the track Self Destruction. The beat of this song makes you feel as if you’re falling down the rabbit hole which is suitable considering it is also a commentary on drug use in the rap industry. In his annotation on the lyrics on Genius, Boogie said he “wanted to make an ignorant song”. He claims he freestyled the entire song super high and decided to leave it as it was recorded. I’m not entirely sure if it was intended to have such a valid subject matter but it certainly resonates with what is happening in the world of hip hop today.
Fortunately for Boogie, this album has far more highs than lows. Unfortunately for Eminem, he is the reason it has lows. When you see an Eminem feature on an album usually it is cause for excitement. In this case, Rainy Days featuring Eminem happens to be the low point of the album. Eminem’s verse is impressive in cadence but completely out of place and lyrically nonsensical. I can understand the input of the big boss dog on this album to try and gain credibility for a debut but this song does much more harm than good. This seems to be a reflection of the successes and weaknesses of this album as a whole. The moments where Boogie is forced to conform to traditional rap formats fail him in his authenticity. I understand on a debut album there isn’t room for full creative freedom, but this man is a true storyteller. He has a gift that needs to cherished and protected from regular formats of rap. Maybe his signing to Shady Records gave him the credentials he needed to release an album in a professional sense but I think if he is to live up to his full creative potential he should seek other methods of distribution.
Boogie continues to succeed with his conscious lyricism and his ability to express himself showcases a vulnerability not often seen within today’s rap scene. I had no idea who Boogie was before listening to this album and now I’m a definite fan, desperate to see what more he has to give.