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.
Since his major signing, Boogie has seemingly eschewed the opportunity to work with big-name producers and guest stars with the exception of big boss Eminem on one track on his album, preferring to stick for the most part to his closest associates like Compton singer D’anna Stewart and Inglewood rapper KB DeVaughn. Boogie even decided to forego a higher profile opening act, which could have afforded him the leverage to hold court on the main stage at The Observatory, choosing to bring KB DeVaughn with him on his first nationwide headlining tour.
DeVaughn, for his part, rose admirably to the challenge Thursday, proving equally as adept as his host at providing a rollicking, homegrown-LA-centric experience with true-to-life narratives and authentic, street-bred attitude. The other opener, Dallas-born Def Jam rapper Bobby Sessions, acquitted himself well in winning over the crowd with effective use of acapella raps and magnetic stage presence.
Boogie was the highlight, though, turning the smallish Santa Ana venue, briefly, into an offshoot colony of his native Compton. Running through recognizable Everything’s For Sale standouts like “Silent Ride,” “Skydive,” “Self Destruction” and the normally Eminem-featuring “Rainy Days,” he proved that he doesn’t need the big-name co-signs or guest appearances to put on a memorable, enjoyable show. There was, however, one guest star that longtime followers recognized and excitedly cheered, even if it was clear that this particular guest would have loved to be home at the moment. Boogie brought his 8-year-old son Darius onstage to serve as his impromptu hype man, but wound up having to hype him up instead as he sleepily but gamely obliged the crowd with a few dance moves.
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My kid really struggled wit me from taking the city bus just to to go to my homies house and sleep on the couch to settling for bullshit ebt meals..me being a hero in his eyes is what this shit bout but yea fuck that soft shit it’s big lit and we selling shit out..San Diego u next 🎥 @creativeconnect
It’s obvious watching the two that their bond is stronger than any record label contract. Darius keeps Boogie grounded, but he also keeps him motivated to keep pushing higher. Just as Darius would have loved nothing better than to climb into his bed and drift off to dreamland, Boogie would love to stay home, to stay connected to his son. But if he can sacrifice months away performing for sold-out crowds, whether in tiny rooms or arenas, to support his son, his son doesn’t seem to mind sacrificing a few hours of sleep. The road keeps calling, as do the obligations of a life of fame it seems he’d rather avoid — even as it appears, more and more, that he was made for it.
Everything’s For Sale is out now via Shady Records. Get it here.