Westside Boogie is aware of he’s poisonous, however he’s engaged on it. Toxicity—particularly in the case of relationships—is nothing new in hip-hop, although it’s change into one thing of a meme over the previous decade. And although Boogie hasn’t reached Future ranges of performative irony simply but, unpacking the tribulations of affection and his time immersed in California gang tradition is central to the Compton rapper’s music. Each sepia-toned reminiscence of pals misplaced, like 2014’s “Nonetheless Be Homies,” is matched by the petty romantic squabbles of 2016’s “Two Days” or “Nigga Wants,” with Boogie unafraid to be the difficult antihero of his personal story.
Extra Black Superheroes, Boogie’s second album beneath Eminem’s Shady Data, searches for deeper which means in navigating emotional vulnerability as a Black man. Honesty means little when it’s not backed by actionable change, and Boogie finds energy in admitting when he’s fallen off the path. “Operating from my points/Don’t give me your praises/Simply need you to know that even heroes nonetheless want saving,” he says bluntly on “LOLSMH II” earlier than lamenting that “fame is a jail.” Like Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & The Massive Steppers, Superheroes is an idea album from a thirtysomething California rapper placing themselves via musical remedy. What distinguishes the undertaking is Boogie’s earnestness, which makes his struggles really feel tangible.
Boogie’s songwriting is at its finest when he properties in on simply being one other dude from the block together with his personal set of issues. On “Caught,” the tug-of-war between previous and new pondering manifests within the banal (placing chips on a sandwich) and the uncooked (telling his mom he loves her extra). “Nonchalant” is a jaunty back-and-forth between Boogie and vocalist Mamii the place he lays out his damaging habits (“She into crystals to launch/And meditation on the seashore/I’m into actin’ like a thief/And comin’, takin’ all that peace”) after which acts shocked when she stops answering his calls. On a number of events, he dwells on the irony of constant to make songs concerning the dangerous patterns he’s perpetuating. He’s the rap sport Sisyphus, making emotional progress and watching most of it slide again down the hill.
The subject material isn’t a lot completely different from different Boogie tasks, however there are sufficient new variations to maintain his ideas recent. He’s extra prone to let his guard down, indulging the thought of romance on “Can’t Get Over You” and “Somethin Unusual.” On “LOLSMH II” and “Prideful II”—each sequels to older songs—he rattles off tales of lust and deception worthy of an episode of Insecure. The manufacturing, primarily dealt with by govt producer Keyel, sways between the modernized G-funk grooves and artificial lowrider snap which have all the time characterised Boogie’s music. Generally, like on “Prideful II,” the sounds meet within the center, hi-hats bouncing subsequent to guitar strums and vocal coos. Boogie sounds as snug singing over soul drums and clean bass licks as he does rhyming over regular speaker-rattling drums.
Whereas Boogie handles each sound thrown his approach, the construction of the album often derails its ambitions. Nearer “Anthony (Conflict)” dilutes the impact of earlier observe “Home windows Down” and its shock ending: soul-bearing confessions reduce off by a automotive crash. This snag briefly detracts from Boogie’s intimate writing, which is as sticky as a wad of gum. Versus the simple approach 2019’s The whole lot’s for Sale approached the transactional nature of affection and loss of life, there’s a tinge of irony to Extra Black Superheroes that provides weight to its darker moments. Honesty could also be his superpower, however he’s no higher at avoiding temptation or succumbing to emotional impulses. And but, the dichotomy of making an attempt versus succeeding to raised your self is the latent theme of the album. You’ll be able to’t be a hero in case you’re not keen to face your demons.