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You know you’re going through something when the stress has you mixing liquor in your morning coffee. Although the “interlude” “Lolsmh” best sums up the overarching philosophy and narrative of Boogie‘s debut album, Everything’s For Sale, the line from the intro, “Tired/Reflections,” is the best example of the sort of relatable context and imagery he provides throughout. “I’m mixin’ liquor in my Starbucks, f*ck,” just about paints the most deliriously colorful picture of a worn-out performer at his wit’s end; he’s as much a victim of his own actions as of circumstances, his life is changing in ways he can’t entirely fathom or accept, and his sole recourse after undermining some of his life’s best aspects is to find solace in the bottom of a five dollar cup of chain-store coffee. At some point in our lives, Boogie is all of us, and he’s right: Everything really is for sale.
All of 29 years old and hailing from the west side of Compton, Boogie isn’t the first rapper to put his flaws on front street for content. He’s not even the best. But he is, for a certain cadre of folks born in the era where “sliding in the DMs” is a thing that makes perfect sense, the most relatable, human hip-hop performer to bare his soul on a beat. In a month when Future also released an hour-long rumination on his own self-destructive behaviors and f*ck boy tendencies, somehow Boogie’s album — which touches on plenty of the same subjects as Future’s The Wizrd — comes across as more clear-eyed, sincere, and sympathetic. Listening to Future’s album is watching a train wreck from across the street. Listening to Boogie’s is sitting in your own car after a crash you know you were at fault for, waiting for the police to come to extract you from the wreckage and take a statement.
It’s the same confessional quality that built him a small but earnest and vociferous fan base with similarly candid outings Thirst 48, The Reach, and Thirst 48 Part II. It’s not necessarily a new formula — Future, Drake, and others have long since created content from their emotional suffering and relationship drama — but unlike his peers, Boogie often strips away the additional layer of mystery that keeps fans guessing at his intention or targets. Drake inspires weeks-long, conspiracy-style investigations to uncover the identity of “KeKe” from “In My Feelings.” Boogie tells you exactly who and what he’s talking about, and the music develops its own sense of charisma for it. “Three mixtapes in, still talking about the same person,” he admits on “Won’t Be The Same” from Thirst 48, Part II.
That trend continues throughout Everything’s For Sale, but with added reflections on Boogie’s rising stature in the rap game. The two phenomena go hand-in-hand; as Boogie becomes more famous, he acquires more access to the women who want his time and attention, which damages his relationships, causing him to look for more attention from those online acquaintances. Yet, there is also added pressure to chase even more stardom; on “Soho,” he laments the distance from home his work forces him to travel — even if only 30 minutes (without traffic) from Compton to Soho House in West Hollywood, an establishment he would never have cause or access to visit without the modicum of fame he’s already garnered.
Which brings us back to Starbucks. This isn’t a normal part of Boogie’s upbringing but it’s become part of his daily life, this symbol of whitewashed affluence, of assimilation. Throughout the album, he fights desperately to maintain a sense of himself, even as his new environments demand that the tone that self down to near nonexistence. On the woozy, depleted-sounding “Self Destruction,” he worries that racking up the accouterments of success while his friends and family lack reduces the value of material goods and makes him a sellout: “You know my son ain’t have no money, braggin’ ’bout Benihana’s.” As his standards for success change, he wonders if that means he’s not who he was.
So when he ends up on a “Silent Ride” home, wondering “Whose Fault” it is that he and his son’s mother have separated and can’t seem to stop beefing, he acknowledges his role in his own downfall but never becomes the villain of his own story. There’s something endearing in his earnestness, especially as it comes over simmering, hazy beats mainly produced in-house by longtime collaborator Keyel, who cooked up the beats for “Self Destruction” and “Silent Ride,” among others.
Boogie is acutely aware, perhaps more than anyone, that you can’t fall off the bed if you sleep on the floor. But the floor is uncomfortable too and no one ever got rich hitting the snooze button. So, he drags his tired body to Starbucks for his daily dose of whatever will get him through the day and makes himself go to work, even if he needs an extra shot that isn’t on the menu.
Everything’s For Sale is out now via Interscope Records and Shady Records. Get it here.