Lil Boosie

Boasting one of the more unusual vocal deliveries in all of hip-hop and a sneering deep-South sound in the mode of UGK, Lil Boosie is the biggest rapper to ever come out of Baton Rouge, La. Though he’s had a few radio hits and collaborated with the likes of Young Jeezy and DJ Khaled, Lil Boosie is a regional force more than he is a national one -- regularly selling out clubs and events from Dallas to Myrtle Beach.

Torrence Hatch grew up in a rundown neighborhood in Baton Rouge, the child of a single mother. After getting kicked off his high school basketball team, he turned to rapping and named himself Lil Boosie. On his early, independent albums, Boosie employed a gruff flow in the style of Tupac. But as his career progressed, his voice became higher-pitched, sharper, and raspier to the point that it was totally distinct, able to warble hooks and spit rapid-fire, staccato verses. In 2003 Boosie signed to Pimp C’s Trill Entertainment, and his career took off. His raps were perfectly matched for Pimp C’s slow-rolling, organ-fed production. Boosie made his debut with fellow Baton Rouge-rapper Webbie on 2003’s Ghetto Stories. The pair followed that up with 2004’s Gangsta Musik. Both albums were light on hooks and heavy on bombastic street tales; they failed to go national but
sold well regionally, and Lil Boosie was able to build a significant touring business.

Boosie released his debut, Bad Azz, on Trill/Asylum in 2006. It sold over 300,000 copies, an impressive statistic for a regional performer, and featured bouncing jams like “Zoom” with Yung Joc and more introspective material like “My Struggle.” The next year Boosie scored a certifiable hit
with the jubilant banger “Wipe Me Down,” a song with Foxx and Webbie off a Trill compilation, Trill Entertainment Presents: Survival of the Fittest. In 2008 he released an acclaimed mixtape, Da Beginning, that explored political problems and issues of faith in addition to songs about his rough
upbringing and tributes to his neighborhood and family. His 2009 album, Superbad: The Return of Boosie Badazz, didn’t match Da Beginning’s power, relying too heavily on party raps and for-the-ladies slow jams. Lil Boosie’s ascending career was put on hold, though, in November 2009, when he was sentenced to four years in prison over a gun charge. ~Wilson McBee

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