It was Nathan Slavik, DJBooth's former managing editor, who shared with me in 2015 a single called “Oh My” by an up-and-coming, Compton-born rapper named Boogie. The bombastic Jahlil Beats production was instantly striking, his signature aggressive tremble felt heavy enough to push California into the Pacific. How Boogie sautéed the leviathan in clever lyricism and M.A.A.D. city imagery was a pleasant, exciting surprise.
In three minutes, Boogie displayed the skill set of a strong writer with a distinct voice, leaving the kind of glowing first impression every rapper believes he or she will deliver if their music is given a listen.
Often, when a promising new artist emerges, it isn't difficult to imagine the various paths their career may take. With Boogie, following the release of “Oh My” and his equally-strong 2015 project The Reach, what was next wasn't easily recognizable. The tools of a career artist were apparent, but how those tools would be used and the toolbox they’d be placed in could be the difference between world-renowned and "Where are they now?"
Four years ago, signing with Shady Records and having Eminem featured on his major-label debut album likely wasn’t considered on Boogie's map of potential destinations. Yet, here we are. Titled Everythings for Sale, the long-awaited album has received growing anticipation over the past few months.
At present, the 29-year-old now-veteran is in a good position to enter the spotlight. If Everythings for Sale exceeds what Boogie has accomplished in the past, this major-label introduction could explode Compton’s Shady rap son to the next level.
In usual 1-Listen fashion, the rules are the same: no skipping, no fast-forwarding, no rewinding, and no stopping. Each song will receive my gut reaction from start to finish.
1. “Tired / Reflections”
A laugh. What a wholesome way to begin the album. The sound of what I believe are guitar strings underneath Boogie’s rambling banter. Poetic, spoken-word beginning. This is cool. “I’m tired of working at myself I wanna be perfect already,” now that’s a bar I felt. He’s an honest man. Oh my! That gunshot! I jumped. Shot in mid-sentence. Beat dropped. Melodic flow. Every line is a bar. Boogie is such a human rapper, meaning there’s no mask or persona created to appear larger-than-life. He is who you hear on wax. Second verse, he's dropping bombs that are exploding within his personal, internal war. “Mixing liquor in my Starbucks” sounds like he’s at war with his stomach as well as his reflection. Car sound. We must be getting a cinematic album. Ms. Daisy is driving Boogie.
2. "Silent Ride"
Nice transition. Singing. I like his voice. He’s no Luther Vandross, but he found his tone and texture. Nice little groove paired with an adequate flow. This reminds me something Wale would’ve done during the Album About Nothing days. Boogie is inventive when it comes to his voice. I wish the beat was a bit more dynamic, but the overall vibe is infectious. I love how he always centers relationships in the smartphone/social media era.
3. "Swap Meet"
Keys. Beautiful keys and voices harmonies. Oh yeah, this is saccharine. Take this melody and package it in a jar in between honey and hot sauce. I’m not sure about the songwriting—it's not immediately striking—but the overall feeling is reminiscent of what Ja Rule and Ashanti would’ve done in 2001. Very nostalgic production. Can’t place the sample, but I’m thinking... Damn. Don’t drink, kids, it’s horrible for your memory.
4. "LOL SMH (Interlude)"
The short interlude was nice, but I wouldn’t miss it if the song was removed. This is great live instrumentation with a vocal sample floating in the back. Soulful. Boogie sounds like he’s at home. Drums are live! Boogie is pouring out pints of blood. I was skeptical based on the title, but “LOL SMH” is already a favorite. Song ended, a woman’s voice. She’s frustrated. Love the new beat! They kept the soul but added a bit more punch. Venting Boogie. Called God a liar, I felt that. Love the concept, enjoying the execution. “Too much pressure to be on socials.” Yep, this is gold.
5. "Soho" ft. J.I.D
A highly anticipated collaboration. Yep! This beat, this flow! Boogie is on a launching pad to the moon. “Me and my shorty was missing a beat we had to go get our rhythm in sync.” Yep, banger! J.I.D! He was made for this beat. Strong start. Ha, he mentioned that he should signed to Death Row. Man, that might be worse than signing to Cash Money. He can really pack a lot in a small space. Not a long verse, but it’s good. Keys! Warm keys. A nice switch. Man, he could’ve made this its own song. Eh, guess more incentive to come back.
Boogie understands the social media age. The songs are fairly short and direct. I feel like they're missing a sense of fullness, though. These chords are taking me to a happy place. I’m loving the warmth of the production. It's as soothing as spending an hour in the sauna. He’s singing, really laying down the emotion in this one. Love the tempo, love the melody. Some of his best songwriting yet and an incredible canvas. They cut no corners making sure he had rich, lush production to lay underneath his musing. Drums are scattering like kids who are running toward recess. Really good song.
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7. "Live 95"
Another winner on the production side. There’s such a nostalgic quality to Boogie. It’s the good nostalgia, like a rapper who is aware of what came before him, and how he fits into the world of his predecessors. Strong flow. I love the way he weaves the wordplay and seamlessly goes back into the hook. Short and sweet. I could loop this beat for an eternity and not grow tired of it.
8. "Rainy Days" ft. Eminem
Another highly anticipated collaboration. The buildup is promising. Nice drums, great hook. I need Marshall to hit a home run, the ball is sitting on the tee. Boogie's flow is Ed Hardy jeans. Nothing too crazy here, but I love the energy. “I come from a place where shit could get shady my chances were slim” hahaha. Not mad at it. “I just pray I never fade away..” Marshall has arrived and he’s talking about sheep sex… lol. I see what he's saying… Okay, okay I wish he would've left the beat unaltered. Feels overproduced now. Boogie has to share his production pack with the Shady boss. Still, he's riding it. Em is lively as Boogie, and these bars are good. The Dracula line. We have reached the word vomit section of his verse, he can’t help it. Em is Neal Cassady speaking a million words per minute with Boogie as his thoughtful Kerouac. Not amazing, but still epic enough to satisfy.
9. "Skydive II" ft. 6LACK
Beautiful intro. Keys from above the heavens. Pure vocals. This song is without a stain, as white as the white tees worn by Dem Franchize Boyz. Spoken-word interlude, a nice touch. 6LACK just arrived from nowhere! “Don’t be wasting time asking how to say my name,” haha, do people really not know? Crazy. Not a bad verse. “I’m listening to young Gunna,” lol, that’s one way to conclude a feature. A nice call back to "Thugger's Interlude."
10. “Whose Fault” ft. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
Warm, blissful keys echo while a couple argues. This is getting intense. Interesting contrast between their energy and the vibe the beat is setting. Boogie steps into the man’s shoes. “Wish your daddy was around too and taught you how to be a man,” sheesh, that cuts deep. I love that he switched to the woman’s perspective. The emotions he’s conveying from both sides... man, that horn! It’s blaring! Christian isn’t playing. Ah, yes, this second verse is good. Really good. Such an honest portrayal of how relationships affect more than the two people involved. The kids are impacted as well. Boogie is a relationship whisperer.
11. "No Warning"
I wonder if that’s what Eminem saw in Boogie: someone who can articulate the emotional turbulence that comes with rocky relationships. It’s a prevalent subject in his music, except lacking in the mature context. This is church. Love the textures. “My brain got traffic and I crash within it.” Who is delivering these vocals? That’s Boogie? I don’t know, sounds like he came with way more vocal stacks. Really good record, but I wish it was longer.
12. "Self Destruction"
Yep! A banger! These drums are vicious as hyenas. Sounds like a drunk freestyle in the best possible way. Someone call Vince Staples to jump on this, I need him to add a feature. Boogie’s flow is water whipping. Hahaha, he drunk texted SZA and she didn’t respond. I would’ve kept that to myself, he’s a real one. “This that we act like we don’t know this is where our actions got us,” yep, I love this. It’s such a loose, yet concise song. It really feels like getting drunk with your friends, but there’s something profound in the rambling.
13. "Time” ft. Snoh Aalegra
More Snoh Aalegra all year, please. Rappers will be sampling her for years to come. Ahh, pretty sure this is an interpolation of Janet Jackson’s “I Get Lonely.” Love the warmth. I wonder who is on the keys if the sample had to be replayed. I wish this was the sound inside of a seashell. A song about getting faded and getting the come through text. Snoh on the background vocals? Ahh! She came in sounding like a million angels in the outfield. Over too soon. Way too soon.
Boogie Everythings for Sale Final (First Listen) Thoughts:
"Boogie: A Rapper of Consequence" is the headline of Boogie’s 2016 interview with Pitchfork. Three years later, that title remains true. Consequence exists throughout Everythings for Sale. It's what makes the Shady Records rapper so relatable; there’s always an awareness that each effect has a cause. Lyrically, his words live in a valley of truth. Instead of focusing on all he has, he lets you know all that’s been lost, all that he’s going through.
While each song speaks to experiences that feel personal, I’m uncertain how they all intertwine. There seems to be a narrative unfolding, but the album isn’t structured in a way that reveals a connecting theme. It ends without a finish line to cross, which makes you question the track you’ve been running on for 13 songs. Where albums can be unfocused and clunky, Boogie's thoughtful and lean debut may be a rare case of brevity backfiring.
There’s satisfaction to be found in the songs alone—the pristine production and compelling lyrics should be praised—but the story Boogie seems to be building closes during the rising action without presenting the climax and conclusion. Imagine if Titanic ended before the ship hit the iceberg.
What Everythings for Sale does solidify is that Boogie is still sharpening his mind and finding a way of documenting the modern human experience that feels authentic. There’s a way he touches upon men, women, and the way we intertwine through our phones and apps that is refreshing. Boogie reminds me of a film director who is able to turn every actor before their lens into a character that the audience feel as if they know personally.
By tightening some bolts, knuckling down on the vision, and refining his natural gift of observation, Boogie will become an artist who delivers music that is must-purchase.