“I ain’t here to glorify anything; I’m just sharing my story.”
–Boogie at OC’s Constellation Room.
How many times have we heard that from rapper “x,” whose album is chock full of how many “b——” he has and how much money he’s wasting on superfluous superficiality? While that seems to be the norm in those who are “different,” I’m telling you, there is something different about Boogie, which is supported by this interview with All Things Considered on NPR. Boogie’s vision to stay put in Compton, even in the face of adverse circumstances, and to change his community as opposed to being changed by it, was recognizable in the look in his eye as he shared his heart through tracks from both Thirst 48 and The Reach at the Constellation Room in Orange County.
The humble side stage housed in the hallway leading to The Observatory provided a David and Goliath type context, a perfect lens through which to observe a relatively small young man taking on giant issues, both internal turmoil and social ills in CPT and beyond.
T.O., a rapper from Chicago, was the lead-off performer, a tough place to be. While T.O.’s lyrics almost distanced him from his audience, as did his timidity, his passion for the art form and overall positive vibe were enough to earn the casual attention of a tough to impress crowd. The Ghetto Zoo, clearly a seasoned rapper, was up next and he definitely showed some promise – flexing his ability to freestyle right off the bat, though the haphazard-feeling set was a bit difficult to follow from beginning to end. Upon sitting down in the empty venue at 8:30 pm, I struck up some conversation with the kids sitting to my left, and it so happened that one of the three was a performer set to hit the stage before Boogie. I told my friend/photographer Dylan that Dre’es, though unassuming, was gonna kill it. He did. It was a less than perfect performance due to some nerves and forgetting some lines, but we saw the flicker of a flame that will assuredly burn brightly with a bit of experience and artistic growth; he was definitely one of two standouts in the solid group of openers. The most charismatic artist of the night was C5, a young man with a polished persona and brand, ready to rock college campuses across the country. While he shared his enthusiasm for tracks to turn up to, he had knack for songs “for the ladies” and wisely he heeded the advice of his manager, however reluctantly it may have been, to perform such tracks which connected with the audience well. The final opener of the night was Young Watts, the self proclaimed “best rapper in Watts.” YW had diverse styles and rapped about a diverse mix of topics, and though songs with pop-appeal dominated his set, this technical abilities and personality came through most in his opening a cappella track and his more serious, introspective final track.
The eerily comforting vocal and piano sample on the title track from Boogie’s The Reach mixtape shifted the energy in the room, from easily distracted to enthusiastically focused. Boogie’s confidence and the hunger in his eye, combined with his perfected delivery demanded the attention of everyone in attendance. Boogie, accompanied by his DJ, Dezzie Gee, put on a flawless show, taking the audience on a journey through Boogie’s mind and life. I can’t stress enough the quality produced by the necessary practice to rap at this level and the authentic place his music comes from, it’s unusual. A, if not the, highlight of the headliner’s set was when he was joined by songstress, D’anna Stewart, whose singing makes you weak in the knees.
Vision and the ability to act based on that vision can only lead to success – SDLHH wishes Boogie much success as he seeks to make changes from the inside out, both in his heart and his home town.
Peace, Love & Hip Hop
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