If I were to say that Trill Entertainment and Stones Throw were the two best independent hip-hop labels of the last decade, it would not be an insane suggestion. The picture above depicts the heyday of the Baton Rouge imprint run by Mel and Turk, since relocated to Atlanta and for all practical purposes, a shell of its former self. Lil Phat is dead. Boosie is in jail until next year. Webbie is in the clouds. Mouse is no longer affiliated and thus, no longer serving as the label’s in-house, Mannie Fresh. Foxx still gets show money in country towns across Louisiana, but never produced another national hit like “Wipe Me Down.”
Hopefully, Trill will eventually get their critical due once their records are re-discovered by rap nerds over the next few years. Everyone south of Kentucky already knows what they did, but records like Foxx’s Street Gossip, Webbie’s Savage Life series, and anything Boosie remain outside the province of casual rap fans. DJ Smallz liberated this old song with Webbie, Boosie and Foxx. Who knows when it’s from? My guess is 2008 or so, due to the Akonish auto-tune. They’re all in peak form, especially Boosie, who delivers a classically sinister and savage verse.
Having spent far too much time listening to 2Pac while writing this book, I developed even greater appreciation for Boosie. He is one of the few since who could balance ferocity, a sense of the struggle, and unusual sensitivity. A lot of people misunderstood him due to the killer frog voice or the gutter lyrics, but in his own way, he is as raw as anyone who has ever rapped. And as the Wu said: if it ain’t raw, it’s worthless.
Once again, free Boosie.