Slim Thug’s Already Platinum is one of my favorite hip-hop albums. Don’t ask me how I got so invested in Houston hip-hop circa 2005 that I actually bought that CD and later bought a book from Thugga titled “How to Survive in a Recession”, but I did. I became a big fan of the rapper afterwards but I’m still honest enough to admit that Already Platinum is one of most arrogant album titles I have ever heard in my entire life.

It was as if Slim was so confident in himself that even before the album had a release date, he knew it was going to sell at least 1,000,000 copies. He was wrong. Already Platinum did not go platinum, it went gold. Slim Thug would later explain that rather than projecting what his debut album would sell with the boastful title, he was instead trying to portray that even though he hadn’t released a mainstream album, he already had the lifestyle of a platinum-selling rapper – so whether the album went platinum or otherwise, Slim Thug felt like he had already won.

 

The Headies has come and gone and the award ceremony that gave Boogey 2 nominations, didn’t convert any of them into awards. On the morning of the show, the highly-respected MC put out a freestyle titled “Already won”, which on the surface sounded like a boast, like he was preempting or even predicting what was going to happen later that evening. But you’d have to listen closely to find out that it wasn’t. “Already Won” is a record that had 2 sharply contrasting parts, on the first part the MC is brash and boastful, it’s perhaps fitting that he sounded so big-headed over the instrumental for Weeknd’s boisterous hit single “Star Boy”.

I’m a motherfucking star, boy

Shots never reaching out, boy

I’m a galaxy too far, boy

On the second part, he’s more calculated, the MC sobered up to lick his wounds after a year that has been unkind to many including him. He describes a falling out with his manager and how painful it was to see someone he thought had his best interest double cross him and go to the other side. He talks about OG rappers standing and watching rather than supporting him at the time when he needs it the most. He talks about critics doing the same and screaming out his failures but either ignoring his progress or whispering his successes. He also talks about advice that I’m sure he gets on a constant basis that the kind of music he makes will always be critically acclaimed but will never be self-sustaining from a commercial standpoint. This year was particularly telling in that regard, he and Paybac released a contender for the best hip-hop album of 2016 but because it didn’t move many units, many didn’t get to hear it.

But even after all these, Boogey still has the objectivity to count his blessings. In 2013, he was nominated for Lyricist on the Roll for “Sanctum”. As dope as that song was, it was no surprise that he lost out to the award category’s former landlord Mode Nine. In 2016, “Show You Something”, arguably the biggest record in Boogey’s catalogue, got him 2 nominations; he received another Lyricist on the Roll nod and a nomination for Best Rap Single. Unfortunately, just like he did 3 years ago, Boogey left the auditorium empty-handed but judging by his mind state on the morning of the show, I don’t expect the rapper was too downcast. In being recognized for a song whose video had less than 4,000 views on Youtube after 2 months of its release and in getting nominated for a record that hasn’t smelt the Playdata Top 100 Singles Charts all year round, Boogey was clearly one of the winners of the night.

Thank you Black Intelligence, we got 2 nominations

No manager and no label, I tell em shit it amazing

We headed to the Headies, it’s a statement and a heavy one

So regardless of who takes it, nigga I already won

Boogey is a relic from 90’s East Coast hip-hop, his multisyllabic raps, personal stories and intricate wordplay is the kind of stuff that people, even he calls rap nerds, appreciate but not many others have the patience for. Nigerian rap fans are funny, they say they love rap music but that theory is always tested when an MC comes around who doesn’t rap his verses over a banging beat and in between catchy choruses. Those kinds of rappers are often sidelined and forced to accept the misleading moniker of an underground MC or a hardcore rapper. If this doesn’t stop at some point, you can expect talented MC’s who care deeply for the craft and aren’t afraid to express themselves to be as uncommon as a white man moving in the Niger Delta creeks without security. Boogey’s success or failure in the next few years depends on the same folks who drag rappers down when their music becomes more melodic and less cerebral. Those fans must see the continued rise of Boogey as a challenge they can either get behind or watch from afar because either way, his train will keep moving.

That said, Boogey also has the responsibility to make songs and build images that connect with larger audiences, and to also find a way to do so without watering down his message. Talk about Mission Impossible. The truth is that mainstream hip hop music in Nigeria is a fast moving, consumer good and Boogey is trying to sell a durable product in a section where everything else around him has a short shelf life. For even getting as many customers as he has to pay attention and buy whatever it is that he’s selling, Boogey ‘the Brain’ proves that he has already won.

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