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01Further
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Songs We Love: Boogie, 'Further'

Songs We Love: Boogie, 'Further'

01Further
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Boogie. i

Boogie. Jack Wagner/Courtesy of Blood Company hide caption

toggle caption Jack Wagner/Courtesy of Blood Company
Boogie.

Boogie.

Jack Wagner/Courtesy of Blood Company

"Things just ain't the same for gangstas." Dr. Dre was more right than he could have known when he opened "The Watcher," from his 1999 album Chronic 2001, with those words. Meant to be a matter-of-fact acknowledgement of changing times and his own shelf life as a gangsta rapper, Dre unknowingly heralded the coming of NWA's musical progeny in the new millennium.

Hard-edged MCs like Game, YG and Nipsey Hussle would take up the mantle of West Coast gangsta rap in the 21st Century — but something happened along the way. The unapologetically profane street reporting that NWA became famous for began to evolve in the hands of its new practitioners, while OGs like Dre and Ice Cube moved on to Hollywood and mogul-dom (becoming decidedly non-threatening along the way). Now, more than ever, young standard-bearers of West Coast rap like Kendrick Lamar and Vince Staples complicate the default nihilism of their forbears with complex and often contradictory emotional content. Gangsta rap that was once a visceral depiction of a particular way to navigate inner city living — one that demands and rewards brashness and bravado — now has an added layer of feeling and even conscience.

Long Beach, Calif., newcomer Boogie is exemplary of this sea change. During a week that saw the release of the trailer for NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, and Kendrick Lamar's "The Blacker The Berry" — a scorching social critique in song form — we also got another thoughtful gem of song from Boogie, called "Further."

The somber Keyel-produced track features mournful synths and spliced-together news clips recounting the tragic death of six-year-old Tiana Ricks. The young girl was killed in an apparently gang-related shooting that injured her father as they entered a Moreno Valley home to attend a graduation party in 2013. The incident sparked national outrage and an outpouring of grief, but instead of using the audio clips to retell the Ricks story Boogie uses them as an anecdote that illustrates how common trauma like this are where he's from. His verses are first person stories and observations of all the contradictions in his world — and within himself.

Particularly poignant is the second verse's story of family turned enemies by territorial beef: "Just the other day / I was talkin' to my n—— 'bout his cousin / and he was tellin' how they from different hoods and at the end of the day he still love him / but it's f—- 'em can't trust 'em." Sometimes blood isn't thicker than border.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that once vilified gangsta rappers Snoop Dogg and Game paid for little Tiana's funeral — proof gangstas do in fact have hearts. Rappers like Boogie do us one better and wear them on their sleeves.

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