Boogie’s “N*gga Needs” is one of the best music videos of the year.
Taken from his recently released project Thirst 48 Pt. II, the video takes place inside an art exhibition, where two miniature-sized versions of the Compton rapper stand on platforms for an older, white audience to gawk at.
One Boogie assesses a fresh bullet wound to the stomach as blood pours down his leg, while the other Boogie has a black eye and holds a small, sleeping girl in his arms. “I need something that’s gon’ make me feel for real inside,” he croons alongside Dana Williams. “No, no, no. I need something that’s gon’ heal my pride.”
It’s one of the most arresting, thought-provoking videos you’ll watch all year from one of the most talented rappers to emerge from the West Coast—or any coast—in recent years. And it’s about to get even bigger thanks to Rihanna, of all people.
Earlier today, RiRi shared a clip from Boogie’s “N*gga Needs” on Instagram, writing, “chillz…my new fav.” Rihanna has 45 million followers on Instagram. Her post has been viewed over a million times in less than two hours. These are big numbers.
Likewise, another unsuspecting celebrity also felt compelled to share Boogie’s video on social media earlier this week. “I don’t know who buddy is but he’s dope,” actor/comedian Lil Duval wrote as he shared “N*gga Needs” with his 1.2 million Instagram followers on Sunday.
Rihanna is the bigger co-sign, obviously, and her Instagram post is already having an impact on the video itself. Before today, “N*gga Needs” had clocked up 159,000 views on YouTube. As of this afternoon, that number is nearing 175,000. Additionally, the video is being shared at the highest rate since it was uploaded on October 27. Scroll through the recent comments and you’ll see pages of “Rihanna brought me here.”
Needless to say, this is a huge look for Boogie that could really boost his already-burgeoning career. Not least because of Rihanna’s vast reach on social media, but when was the last time you heard about Rihanna co-signing an up-and-coming rapper from Compton, California?
Here’s a mega star who only backs winners—whether that’s Drake and Kanye or LeBron and James Rodriguez—going out of her way to share a new artist she loves with the world. You know, being a regular music fan. It’s made all the more special by the fact that it’s the quality of the music, not the hype surrounding it, that she connected with in the first place.
As incredible as it is, there’s a sweet irony in this social media spotlight that Boogie’s been thrust into. One of his best songs—and the song that helped to put him on the radar in the first place—is “Bitter Raps,” which includes deadpan rhymes like, “I hate when n*ggas roll up weak blunts just so they can take a selfie.” As Noisey described him in a piece earlier this year, “Boogie is a guy you sit down and have a real conversation with, not one you tweet about trading handshakes with at a networking event.”
It’s no surprise, then, that Boogie isn’t all over Twitter and Instagram reposting Rihanna’s video to death. A quick, stunned response. A couple retweets. Phone down. Even the most “holy shit!” of “holy shit!” moments isn’t about to make Boogie start acting thirsty. Because when you finally get the world’s attention, that’s when the real work begins.
By Andy James. Follow him on Twitter.