Album Review: Lil Boosie – Incarcerated

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To say the past two years have been rough for Torrrence Hatch would be an understatement.  The man whom most know under the moniker of Lil Boosie went from possibly sitting behind bars for two years on drug charges to potentially sitting on death row for first degree murder.  To top it all off, he was accused of sneaking narcotics into a prison and was faced with multiple conspiracy charges related to a June incident.  All the while, Boosie maintained his innocence, citing that these accusations were bigger than him and were actually “an attack against Hip-Hop and rap as a whole.”   While awaiting sentencing for his initial charges, Boosie took up residence in his home studio, recording around the clock to bang out some of the most heartfelt work of his career.  A day after fellow Louisiana rapper Lil Wayne dropped his prison-released album, I Am Not A Human Being, Boosie unveiled his own project, Incarcerated, which coincidentally was also released while the rapper was behind bars.  With production primarily handled by past collaborator, B.J. Tha New Orleans Runna, Boosie finds himself free to be himself on Incarcerated, showing no signs of slowing down from his successful 2009 album, Superbad.

Incarcerated gets a fast start out of the gate with “Devils.”  Still reflecting on his initial arrest, Boosie boldly lashes out against the Louisiana judicial system as he states, “you gonna railroad a n*gga and lose me in the system/but like C-Murder and Mack, I refuse to be a victim.”  Boosie’s guest feature, Foxx, stays in the same vein with a notable appearance of his own. B.J. gets behind the board for the first of several times on “You Don’t Know,” which is cut from the same cloth of southern rap classics such as “West Savannah” and features production reminiscent of the infamous southern anthem, “Trial Time.”  Lil Boosie once again takes time to reflect on “Long Journey” in which he remembers past strife and thanks the man above for everything he has.  “Betrayed” showcases Boosie’s flow as he remains in good kilter and stays on topic, speaking on distrust ranging from his boys to chickenheads around the world (“b*tches want the riches so they try to slide the rubber off/trying to get pregnant, when you stupid hoes gonna learn your lesson?“).  Although Boosie’s voice is full of emotion, it lacks a certain punch to properly deliver the hook. Otherwise “Betrayed” is another genuine banger, which is surprisingly elevated by Webbie’s authentic southern cadence on the final verse. When Boosie attempts to “Chill Out,” he sounds repetitive as his delivery goes unchanged from previous tracks.  Nevertheless, Boosie’s personality shines through on the track as he attempts to ward off listeners from following in his path, while comically rapping, “chill out, take that grill out your mouth/go and sell it for 300, go and get half an ounce.”   Lil Boosie later revisits this topic on “What I Learned From The Streets,” which slightly fares better than its predecessor.  “Bank Roll Pt 2,” goes on to highlight B.J.’s prestigious production skills and features a tremendous rhythm guitar sample with a southern twist.

Webbie makes his third appearance on “How We Do,” which is feels halfhearted. Regardless this is perfect bounce music for dive bars off of Bourbon Street.  Yet, once “Thugged Out” opens up, the subject matter and overall production become mundane.  That’s not to say that the song is short of mediocre, but it would sound less dull with different placement on the album because it doesn’t particularly standout from the rest of the Incarcerated’s track list.  Fortunately “Better Not Fight,” which marks the return of Foxx, Webbie, and Lil Trill, is an epic bounce anthem, which is liable to start a pit.  Ironically, Webbie drops the line “murder, first degree I’m readying to catch me a charge” which is something Boosie became all to familiar with post-recording.  Boosie drops lines that are certain to agitate his wife on “Calling Me” in which he narrates his sexual exploits with a certain female. Although there are some forgettable utterances, there are also some truly grimy yet enjoyable lines buried in this late album bang-fest. However, things don’t work as well when Boosie attempts to show his softer side on “Do It Again.” Overall this is a decent track but, he treads on “21 Questions” territory (“if I worked at Burger King and I approached you smelling like onion rings/would she do half the things she done to me?“).  Although songs such as “Betrayed” display Boosie’s ability to rap about a particular subject matter, “Cartoon” takes it to another level, as he, Shell, and Mouse constantly drop various cartoon character names throughout their verses.   This isn’t exactly of the stature of GZA’sFame,” but it’s an honorable attempt. Likewise, “The Rain” is an worthy attempt to be emotional, but fails to connect as intended by Mr. Hatch.


Lil Boosie might not be for everyone, but it’s commendable that he makes no efforts to win anyone over by switching lanes.  Despite being exceptionally deep on tracks such as “Devils” and “Long Journey,” Boosie is not exactly the most lyrical rapper to come out of the great state of Louisiana.  However based on the caliber of his work, this isn’t a major flaw, as it’s trap music, through and through.  Although Incarcerated may not go on to be as well received as Lil Boosie’s earlier work, there’s enough quality material on this hour long album to have longtime Boosie fans harassing judges for an acquittal.

Purchase Incarcerated on iTunes

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