Rappers, you have 359 days to top this album cover. Technically, Webbie’s 2 dropped quietly over Xmas to a muted response. Like all things Trill related, the audience isn’t Internet-centric. And like all things pertaining to the Baton Rouge rappers, it’s too long, filled with tracks you might have heard prior, and obnoxious DJ drops. But for what it’s worth, this is the crew’s most thorough release in a while, complete with a pair of guest spots from Bun B and Pimp C’s poltergeist.
Though he’s currently facing lifetime incarceration or potential execution, Boosie appears on almost every track. Wisely (and by necessity), they’re cobbled together from his best moments of last year. I imagine that no belabored argument I can offer can convince the old school heads that Boosie is a genuinely great rapper. He’s a good lyricist who’s unconcerned with being “lyrical.” His beats are largely sample free and his voice sounds like Alvin & the Chipmunks if they carried automatic weapons and were perpetually enraged at Dave Seville.
But few rappers can match the emotion he conveys in his tortured cadences. Guys like Cudi and Drake can express sadness, but Boosie carries anguish, carrying the atlean weight of dead friends, sworn enemies, his mother, his dead dad, and his hometown in every bar. His themes are straightforward but deceptively complex — songs like “Betrayed” aim at those who set him up. “Memories” reminisces on turkey wings, first baths, the death of his father, and smoking formaldehyde. Like Danny Brown, he raps like he bet his life and his rap sheet confirms it. Webbie is a solid but unremarkable foil. They bounce ideas and themes off each other like the childhood friends they are. T.I. getting a handjob in jail can attract headlines around the world, but Boosie rots in Angola and you wouldn’t know about it unless you looked hard. This tape reveals exactly what we’re missing.