Lil Boosie Music
Lil Boosie Music

It’s unfortunate, but pain makes for great hip-hop. This makes sense since the genre was birthed in the bog of misfortune. Rapper Boosie Badazz has seen his fair share of throbbing discomfort, which makes his lyrical content that much more complex.

Within the past six months, Boosie has lost family members to cancer; then he was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, he's living free of the disease these days. The Baton Rouge, La rhymer waxed poetically about his agonizing health issues by releasing In My Feelings (Going Thru It) and Out My Feelings (In My Past). Never one to slack on his grind, he kept the momentum going by dropping his latest effort, Thug Talk.

Boosie’s knack for capturing acute moments of struggle and street tales detailing severe consequences has garnered him a consistent and fruitful career, and drawn him comparisons to the late Tupac. Thug Talk extends Boosie streak as one of the game’s most authentic spitters and vivid storytellers.

The rapper kicks in the door with the title track, unrolling tales of ghetto boys and girls who look up to older thugging family members. But Thug Talk really takes off on the gripping song “Wake Up.” Here, Boosie unearths old audio of the late Pimp C spazzing about rappers that talk about the dope game, but omit consequences. Over slow synths and dreamy snares, BadAzz drops gems and warnings about the end results of living the fast life.

Taking things a step further, the rapper born Torrence Hatch uses his personal experiences of life behind the G-wall as proof. Adding more intrigue, Boosie uses former D.C. cocaine kingpin-turned-snitch Rayful Edmonds, who was sentenced to two life sentences for several federal violations, as an example of how a good deal can turn sour. The sobering, piano-laced “Right Game Wrong Nigga” and “Street Wars” document more street scenarios followed by grave consequences. Boosie’s ability to capture emotion and true-to-life storylines is uncanny and one of his bright spots.

But the cleverest of these stories is “T.V.” Boosie taps into his creative juices without swerving from his lane of rawness. While many people see television as an idiot box, Boosie finds real life in its content. The former point-guard-turned rapper ties the life of his drug-dealing uncles, aunties' cheating boyfriends and families falling out for various reasons, and ties them into reality shows, Tyler Perry movies and flicks like Juice and Menace II Society, among others. "T.V." takes some of the edge off his emotional stories and adds a bit of entertainment.

He gets a plus one with “Off the Chain” and “What You Know About Me” as well. This is that “We Retarded” Boosie that caused the streets to fall in love with him in first place.

The 20-track effort concludes with the effective and sincere Z-Ro-assisted “Ga Away” and “Thug Prayer.” On the former, Boosie promises to never go back to prison, while the latter finds him talking to God about his enemies and his soul.

Even with long-time collaborator Kenoe handing a bulk of production duties, the tag team hasn't exhausted the winning formula. In fact, Kenoe's hypnotic backdrops, which are always heavy on synths, snares and piano thumps with hard 808s that provide the extreme heads nod and turn up-inducing records, mesh perfectly with Boosie's strong vocals. The beats paired with his southern twang and fluid -- at times stop-and-go -- flow keep the album moving.

Thug Talk is one of Boosie’s more mature projects to date. BadAzz's pre-Angola (where he served his five-year prison sentence for drug charges) efforts like 2002's For My Thugz, 2005's Gangsta Musik with Webbie and 2006's Bad Azz leaned toward a braggadocio view of the street life. Whereas in post-Angola, life on death row has humbled the rapper and provided him with a bird's eye view of the downside of living the thug life.

With this being the case, Boosie's content has shifted (as it should be) to detailing the drawbacks of life in the fast lane. What's even more respected is the fact that Boosie can school listeners from a big brother POV without sounding preachy. Overall, the album is packed with gems from the retired O.G.

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