It doesn’t take much longer than four songs for Boogie to return to his natural state when performing live. Take a look at his social media and it’s clear that the Compton rapper must absolutely hate shirts. By the time he’s midway through his set Thursday night in the Constellation Room at The Observatory in Santa Ana, he looks like he’s ready for a day at the beach.
That’s just the level of consistency Boogie brings to each of his energetic performances, including this one on the Orange County stop of his Everything’s For Sale Tour in support of his recently released album of the same name. From watching how the crowd engages with him, tuned into his every movement, you’d think that the album had gone platinum already. At the very least, I was disappointed that he was confined to the venue’s smaller room — I fully believe he could have filled up and turned out its main stage.
It was actually my first trip to the Constellation Room since the early days of The Observatory, when it reopened as such in 2012. Since then, I’ve caught so many shows there that it’s almost begun to feel like a second home. Boogie’s performance made it feel even more so, given the hometown connection and the cozy accommodations for the evening, but I’d have preferred the festivities take place in “the great room,” where many acts nowhere near as established have already had the opportunity to make a play for the South LA crowd’s good graces.
But maybe that’s just how Boogie likes it. Despite signing to Shady Records in 2017, Boogie maintained a low profile throughout the next year as he recorded his major label debut. Before then, his prior mixtapes, Thirst 48 and The Reach, suggested a reluctance to enter the spotlight even as he bared his emotional vulnerabilities and personality flaws to the world with autobiographical tracks like “Make Me Over” and “Sunroof.” Those relatively low-key songs formed the backbone of his musical oeuvre, even as hits like “Oh My” suggested a rising star in the making. Even his name, part of which he incidentally shares with another rapper from New York, suggests a discomfort with the trappings and easy accessibility of fame and recognition.