Baton Rouge, LA., hometown hero Boosie Badazz (formerly Lil Boosie) has always rapped with palpable urgency. His voice, arguably his most distinctive feature, is a piercing drawl that demands attention and drips with pathos. But after finishing a five-year prison sentence for weed possession in 2014 (and dodging a murder charge in 2012), he has a new fire in his belly. The 32-year-old rapper, born Torrence Hatch, recorded his first verse as a free man before his ride home from the Louisiana State Penitentiary was even finished.
The biggest hits of his 15-year catalog are predominantly party songs ("Wipe Me Down," "Zoom"), but on his sixth studio album, Touch Down 2 Cause Hell, he seems to have lost interest in the ratchet bacchanalia of his pre-prison days. Boosie has years of pent-up stories to get off his chest, many of them dealing with loyalty, self-respect and trust -- or more often, deep distrust. On "Like a Man" and other tracks, he recalls his dramatic court case, during which his own songs were used as evidence against him: "System tried to convict me off testimony from lyrics, but I'm a G/Came home with my chest out, and it's easy to see."