A Boogie Wit da Hoodie overcompensates with ‘Hoodie SZN’

by Chris Bach

A Boogie Wit da Hoodie overcompensates with ‘Hoodie SZN’

A Boogie Wit da Hoodie
Hoodie SZN

Atlantic Records · December 21, 2018

A Boogie Wit da Hoodie overcompensates with ‘Hoodie SZN’

A Boogie Wit da Hoodie became a rising star of rap when he debuted with ‘Drowning’ at #38 on the Billboard Top 100 and being named as part of the ten-member 2017 XXL “Freshman Class.” A Boogie’s meteoric rise continues with Hoodie SZN, and he’s certainly progressed significantly to get to this point. A melancholic, pensive theme is evident throughout, but doesn’t progress lyrically or stylistically, causing the album to lose momentum near the tail end. And while Hoodie SZN has its moments, the album was hampered by its long length and inconsistent production choices.

The themes of love and pain are wholly pervasive, but the album’s length and uncreative beats hurt the overall work. The 20-song tracklisting leads to an album that’s dominated by filler and forgettable tracks. ‘Swervin (feat. 6ix9ine)’ just isn’t good enough to justify the inclusion of controversial rapper and human clickbait, 6ix9ine, as a featured artist. While a discussion about the rap industry’s promotion of such a problematic figure as 6ix9ine deserves its own op-ed, all I’ll say about it in reference to Hoodie SZN is that this track is unnecessary and, without the controversial feature, it would barely justify a mention in this review. ‘Come Closer (feat. Queen Naija)’ is an attempt to change up the predominately bass driven beats from the first nine songs, but the guitar-led song falls flat on its own and in comparison to the rest of the piece. ‘The Reaper’ would’ve been better as a B-side and doesn’t deserve inclusion on this work. As a whole, Hoodie SZN would immediately improve if the production was consistently better than it was on the aforementioned tracks and, unfortunately, the uninspired, uninventive beats and controversial feature drag A Boogie down on this LP.

Yet, songs like ‘Voices in My Head,’ ‘Startender (feat. Offset and Tyga),’ and ‘Look Back at It’ exemplify where the production and lyricism work together masterfully. Starting the album with “All she ever wanted was for my heart to hurt” immediately set the tone for the next 19 tracks. Starting the album with the bold, dark lyricism and beats that A Boogie Wit da Hoodie found success with on his first album was a recipe for success. The energetic beat and fitting flow on ‘Startender’ with features from Offset and Tyga make for a compelling and immediately memorable track. ‘Look Back At It’ is a high water mark for the album, as the Michael Jackson sampled beats and vivid imagery of a failed relationship could impress even the most casual listener. His distinct flow and vivid descriptions of pain in love elevated this album in a major way. While his lyricism gets repetitive by the last few tracks, hopefully, the young MC can channel these bright spots and excel in future projects.

While he sets a theme well and has some very impressive highlights on the album; the lyricism gets repetitive by track 20, the production is very inconsistent, and it puts forth nothing that progresses the genre. While I enjoyed the album, the lack of standout tracks and mediocre production dragged it down. A Boogie is still honing his craft with this sophomore effort, but if he wants to take a big step forward, he’ll need to make his next album more concise, improve the production, and select a better supporting cast.

Listen to Hoodie SZN: