Published Jan 28, 2019Has hip-hop finally turned the corner from notorious misogyny to thoughtful, redemption-yearning laments? Maybe not quite yet, but Boogie's debut, Everything's For Sale, bodes well for a new era with not only better morals, but compellingly fresh candour that renders rap's tired toxic masculinity all but obsolete.
Indeed, on the same day that Toronto rising star John River released his warts-and-all mixtape The Academy, and in the shadow cast by Jay-Z's toweringly confessional 4:44, Everything's For Sale follows suit with unflinching frankness. As masterful as Hov and River are at those psychiatrist couch ciphers, Boogie proves equally adept on Everything's For Sale highlight "Whose Fault." The climactic back-end track finds the Compton rapper lamenting vividly about broken vows, bitter splits and bickering over picking up the kids, post-divorce. Those heartfelt lines are punctuated by a melancholy piano loop, and put over the top by searing horn blasts from jazz prodigy Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah.
Aptly titled opening track "Tired / Reflections," meanwhile, is a precursor to the climactic "Whose Fault." On it, Boogie unveils one intimate detail about his inner turmoil after another, with nary a flinch. Among the key lines: "It's hard to feel shit when you're on pain pills / Hard to put on war boots when you're walking on egg shells."
Aside from the compelling lyricism, Everything's For Sale also stands out because of its immersive melodies. Boogie provides fetchingly rugged singing for the downcast instrumental of "Silent Ride." "Skydive," meanwhile, boasts skittering percussion and a charmingly layered lyrical metaphor about romance needing a parachute.
What with all these gems from Boogie, it's a shame that Eminem's guest verse on "Rainy Days," falls so short (his punch line about a shepherd and his herd is so brainless, your eyes will roll all the way back in search of grey matter). Regardless, it's great to know that Boogie has been signed to Em's Shady Records. That means this Compton MC is now part of the same esteemed lineage as Em, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar and others. And after listening to Everything's For Sale, you'll see why Em was so eager to bring Boogie into that fold. (Shady/Interscope)