It seems like everywhere you go, casual listeners and hip-hop fans alike are always able to identify a traditional West Coast sound. The criterion for what a West Coast rap song should sound like has been ingrained in fans' brains for practically eternity. But things are changing. The focus on regional sounds has been continuously declining and lines are being blurred. Nowadays, even if you're from Big Bad Brooklyn, your music can sound like it’s straight out of Compton and no one will even think twice. But one rapper blurring these lines is West Coast MC Boogie.

Boogie, born and raised in Compton, has been on the scene for more years than you'd think, but started gaining notoriety with his debut project released last summer, Thirst 48. That project showcased Boogie's distinctive style that is hard to put a finger on. This time around he’s covering even more new territory on his new 12-track mixtape, The Reach.

At first listen it's clear Boogie has calculated each and every part of The Reach. From every horn to every last ad-lib, nothing seems out of place or forced. This may not seem like anything extremely out of ordinary, but for an MC to have such a focused sound this early in the game can make the beginnings of a recipe for a successful career.

As the tape unfolds, the listener can immediately hear a notable sense of songwriting. Tracks are crisp and easy to follow, giving enough structure to rap along without compromising any creativity. In an era where albums and mixtapes get forgotten almost as quickly as they're released, The Reach is compelling enough, both lyrically and sonically, to retain a strong replay value.

The opening track is one of the tape’s strongest and sets the tone for the rest of the project. Its hypnotic sample gets the perfect facelift from super producer Mike Zombie while Boogie wastes no time commencing his self-inauguration into the group of hip-hop’s most promising up and comers.

The feelings on songs like “Intervention” and “Make Me Over” don’t stray too far from the introspective cuts Boogie has been making his name with as he paints his own portrait of life in South Central Los Angeles. Lines like “That’s my five year old kid, he still got crayons in his cupboard/Now how am I supposed to tell him I got shot over a color?” are articulated so well to the point where you almost forget it’s a song you’re listening to and not a close friend spilling their most vivid thoughts.

Despite Boogie’s obvious talent for lyrically walking us through the trials and tribulations of chasing dreams, raising children and basically surviving in one of the country’s most gang-affiliated cities, he also gives us something new in the form of “Oh My.” The Jahlil Beats-produced song packs an incredibly big punch and serves as the tape’s focal point. It combines the perfect amount of braggadocios attitude with a certain relatability that is naturally the recipe for a summer anthem.

The project flows to some more smooth records and a surprisingly dark closer entitled “Change” that has Boogie optimistic about the future but realistic about the current troubles that face society—naturally inspired by the uncertain middle ground he finds himself in within hip-hop today.

All in all, Boogie’s The Reach gives fans something they wanted and something hip-hop will always welcome, with soft-spoken rhymes over non-traditional beats augmenting a sense of songwriting and emotional struggle that only adds depth to the narrative. It's a strong statement in Boogie's blossoming career that bodes well for the future. —Scott Glaysher