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Boogie - Everything’s for Sale Music Album Reviews

The Compton rapper’s debut is smart, technically dazzling, and thoroughly sullen.

Boogie’s music always carries a sadness beneath the technically polished flows and glitzy, sullen beats. Life sucks, we suffer, the future is in trouble. He is rap’s Droopy, the eternally sad cartoon dog. This isn’t a slight because, yes, conscious rap deals with existential melancholy (cf. J. Cole) but it’s usually bookended with optimism through last-minute revelations or faith in the future. Not Boogie, and certainly not Everything’s for Sale, his debut album for Eminem’s Shady Records. It exists in a cloud of gloom that consumes the album. And yet, there’s something endearing about Boogie’s honesty, his commitment to the established mood, and his charming vocals to go along with his rap abilities.

Boogie doesn’t believe that people want to hear “that conscious shit.” That probably speaks to his feverish approach to introspection; there aren’t any lessons given or learned here, only what he’s thinking in his darkest hours and how those thoughts beget more darkness. On “Tired/Reflections” he raps, “I’m tired of working at myself, I want to be perfect already/I’m tired of the dating process, I want to know what’s certain already,” and you can hear forfeiture in his tone. He’s far from whining, he’s just exhausted. The track begins with a wish for death, then the police come to investigate and reporters crowd the scene. The death becomes just another event in the day’s schedule. Maybe that’s Boogie’s biggest fear, not mattering in the grand scheme of things.

Even though Everything’s for Sale is so gloomy, it sure does sound sexy. Its slow-churning, soulful hymns take the edge off the darker subjects. “Live 95” slinks along, its rich jazz atmosphere invites you to close your eyes and nod off while Boogie waxes about his insecurities. Elements of soul crop up throughout, culminating in the sultry closer, “Time.” What sounds like a hazy, sex-imbued dream is actually about a man confronted over his lack of commitment with a partner. Even when it sounds like it ends in something genuinely moving, Boogie dekes in the opposite direction.

Everything’s for Sale steps up the melodies, devoting the lion’s share of choruses and bars to what amounts to humming with words. It’s not quite Kid Cudi with the harmonies, but definitely not Bryson Tiller, either. This mix works because the pain in his voice creates a metallic hum that’s almost audible, like he’s either just cleared his throat or he needs to. “Time” showcases this wounded vocal marvelously, with his drawn-out lines simulating a man pleading for intimacy. Both “Skydive” and “Skydive II” devote their runtimes to Boogie’s melodic side as he sings about insecurities in love.

Boogie is at his worst when he deviates from the gloomy atmosphere. “Rainy Days” has the distinction of being the worst song on the album and having one of the most trying Eminem verses on it (“Like a shepherd havin’ sex with his sheep/Fuck what you heard,” goes one unforgettable line). The boilerplate trap beat makes Boogie sound lost. Similarly, “Self Destruction” tries to channel its darkness into a party record, but its mix of self-awareness and half-commitment just makes the whole idea land sideways. With an album this obsessed with pure sadness, Everything’s for Sale embraces that mood utterly. The few times it deviates from it, it crashes. It’s a project that sees Boogie working on the balance of comfort and experimentation, of seeing the world through more than the same dark tint.

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