Boosie's back. Is he better than ever?
Immediately following Touchdown 2 Cause Hell’s introductory “Get Em Boosie”-- the aptly titled dizzying turn up track that unleashes Boosie Badazz loose on the rap game once again-- the bellows of an approaching storm crackles with doom. It’s an ominous sound byte, seeing as Lil Boosie has acted as the chief ambassador of Post-Katrina Louisiana gangster rap.
That thunder boom is your warning that the long-awaited Touchdown 2 Cause Hell is a journey into the eye of the storm that is a life lived in Baton Rouge, in hip-hop, in addiction, in revelry, and recently in jail; all the experiences that make up Boosie Badazz. It's his first studio release since being freed from state prison in 2014, after getting hit with an eight-year sentence following drug charges. The renamed rapper rises all phoenix-like, appropriately delivering fire all while keeping it the realest he has to date.
Vulnerable tracks give added dimension to Touchdown, offering more introspective looks into the emcee. “Black Heaven” featuring an on point J.Cole gives peeks at his influences, as well as his sadness-- an irresistible angle for any Boosie fan interested in his new freedom. He directly addresses the tears he endured during incarceration, as well as the recent wave of police brutality in “Hands Up,” an important track to counterbalance some of his more gratuitous stuff. Though the title of the record’s last track-- "I’m Sorry"-- does a good job of speaking for itself, Boosie does a better job by providing heartbreaking context for the regret he became afflicted after becoming an absent friend, family member, and performer during his imprisonment.
That’s not to say that Boosie doesn’t get down and dirty like you’d expect out of the Southern emcee. He comes out as scorching as a Louisiana Sunday in July, and it seems that, as he stewed in a cell he was not all that impressed with what was going on in the rap game. Tons of Touchdown 2 Cause Hell’s vacancy belongs to songs dealing with Boosie’s skepticism towards emcees, lovers (there’s a song called “She Don’t Love Me” with Chris Brown), and gangsters alike.
“On Deck” will make you want to stomp a hole in the ground just out of pure street-fueled adrenaline (“We strap we ain't just acting hard, real this ain't no camouflage”). Oh, and if you’re a fan of Young Thug, the hook he hands in on this track is right up there with the rest of them, mostly ineligible and, yet, absurdly catchy. “Hip Hop Hooray” is a track that bears little to no resemblance with its popular namesake-- a classic in the old school lexicon. Featuring Webbie, the two angrily belt out a anti-poser war cry, with lingering judgement calls of “I don’t believe you.”
Boosie still (and thankfully) is not able able to resist familiar content of badassery and his low tolerance for bullshit. In many cases even the more intense, street-cred touting tracks on the record still feel fresh. “No Juice” is both a dynamic song with a ghostly and memorable chorus, but it is a perfect example of the refined balance the new Boosie has ("You got no juice, I got the juice, the whole world love me/ CNN say I got the whole world thugging/Sometimes it’s best to walk away, save yourself a case/ Cause they in court testifying on us every day/Everybody want to be fly, but don’t/ nobody want to get robbed/ For reputations, they lie").
Also dynamic is Boosie’s ability to seamlessly fall into savory single-worthy songs like “All I Know” who’s beat, hook, bars are undeniable ("While y'all criticizin' my name, I'm on a camel in Dubai"). The T.I. collaboration “Spoil You” is also bound to wind up on many a bae’s Facebook wall.
With 19 tracks, some of the lingering '90s-ish keys that production serves up can get a little redundant, but there is enough going on with a clear focus on Touchdown 2 Cause Hell that the album does not suffer for its length. It rarely suffers at all in fact. Touchdown 2 Cause Hell lays the groundwork for the next phase of Boosie in a truly exciting way for both long time fans and new listeners.