Release Date: Jan 1, 2016
Record label: Lil Boosie
Genre(s): Rap, Gangsta Rap, Southern Rap
Released as a preview of the upcoming and official album Out My Feelings (In My Past), this aptly titled street release finds Boosie Badazz dealing with his recent kidney cancer diagnosis, and the successful removal surgery that came afterwards. The plainly titled "Cancer" is the album's key track as Boosie tells his family and friends of his diagnosis, which brings him to another level of pain. The flip side comes when "Smile to Keep from Crying" ironically and viciously chews up its title and puts all the haters, critics, and competition on alert.
In the past handful of years, Torrence Hatch has been known by various names: Lil Boosie, the moniker he rode to cult hero status in his native Baton Rouge; Boosie Badazz, the name he switched to when he got sick of grown men calling him "little"; and inmate #560699, when he was locked away in Angola, the country's largest maximum-security prison. Rap fans, particularly those throughout the American south, know him as one of the genre's most distinct voices—literally, for his cartoon-villain-on-helium drawl, and more broadly for a writing perspective that marries grim reportage to an unshakeable, immutable sense of joy. In March of 2014, Boosie was released from that (barely) repurposed plantation in Louisiana after beating a drug smuggling case and first-degree murder charge.
The first two months of 2016 have been dominated by something that in most years doesn’t show up until much later: star power. In January, Atlantic successfully parlayed Kevin Gates’ cultish, largely Southern following into national fame, to the tune of 112,000 copies sold in the opening week for his monster of an official debut, Islah. Toward the end of February, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis returned with This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, the long-awaited follow-up to their 2012 breakthrough, The Heist; it was pushed out of the conversation almost entirely by Kanye West’s blockbuster seventh album, The Life of Pablo and Kendrick Lamar’s untitled unmastered.