Long Beach Rapper Boogie Tells Us to Get Our Thirstiness Under Control

Photo by Jack Wagner

[Editor's note: Weekly scribe Jeff Weiss's column, "Bizarre Ride," appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday. Follow him on twitter and also check out his archives.]

The thirst is too real and close to ignore. Open up any social media app and squint at the surfeit of selfies and excessive stunting on haters; no one is absolved from scrutiny. Long Beach’s Boogie understands these online addictions and lust for likes all too well.

“Twitter turned lying into talent. It’s crazy how people get on there and create a new identity,” the 25-year old rapper says, repeating a line from his June mixtape, Thirst 48 — one of the year’s best. “The underlying theme of the tape is my own personal thirstiness for a girl, but also the thirstiness of this generation. We need to get it under control.”

Boogie’s self-deprecating streak spares him from self-righteousness. He’ll mock a friend for rolling a blunt just to take an Instagram selfie, but admits that he’s “probably on the same thing.” He admits to his frustration with being friend-zoned and his distaste for girls who call him “bro.” The hypocrisies aren’t flagrant; they’re relatable. He even includes a clip of his 5-year old daughter asking him why he’s thirsty.

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“People call me a grandpa,” he says, laughing and swigging a 40-ounce bottle in this studio space in the Downtown Arts District. “I’m just over it.”

Boogie mildly resembles a young André 3000, except more conservatively clad in a maroon Nike T-shirt, BMW hat, jeans and white speakers.

“By the time I hit 21, that social media shit felt old. And I already had a kid,” Boogie continues. “It’s not like I’m against technology … just the way people use it.”

In conversation, he’s laid-back and cool, with a slight lisp and wistful temperament. He encompasses the contradictions of a kid who grew up excelling in school until the eighth grade. That’s when he began spending time on the west side of Compton, at a church frequented by Campanella Park Piru Bloods. After dropping out of basketball as a junior at Lakewood High, he spent his remaining teenage years targeting enemies on the streets.

“I was trying to figure out how to be a good dad, and made mistakes along the way,” Boogie says. “But my kid showed me that fighting and tripping on niggas is pointless. You don’t want your kid growing up having to watch his back. We shouldn’t be out here beefing with each other. As black males, we should be close.”

Even there, he admits to exceptions. If someone walks up and bangs on him in his own ’hood, he’ll rep his set.

He has been getting substantial attention for his music and appears on the new SBTRKT album, but still lives at home with his mom on Long Beach’s east side.

Music appears to be his only viable path to escape the sharp incisors of the trap. That’s a shaky proposition for most, but Thirst 48 reveals a nuanced writer with a vivid memory and napalm-strong melodies. He’s equally fluent in sketching the frivolities of social media as in recalling unrequited puppy dog love as a high school sophomore.

It’s clearly a post–Kendrick Lamar L.A. rap record, one exploring generational concerns, gang life and romantic entanglements. But Boogie stakes his own turf. He’s less an angel on angel dust and more the sarcastic romantic who carries a strap and rolls his eyes at his peers.

He’s also a vigilant parent, anxious to ensure that his son doesn’t make the same errors.

“When I leave here, I’m still going back to the slums,” Boogie says. “I’m trapped between worlds but try to stay positive and remember that I have a chance to do something different. I love music and want to remembered as the best.

“Everyone is competition, but I’d hope even the enemies could feel what I’m saying — the only difference is that they’re on the other side of the fence.”

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