I wasn’t going to review this album because I don’t know a whole lot about A Boogie wit da hoodie (A Boogie for short). I’ve heard him on a few features but nothing has made me go “I need more of this!” All I know is he’s released one album, a few mixtapes, and Drake brought him on stage once at MSG. Despite my ignorance, he has a large following and a lot of industry clout judging by his list of high profile features. The tracklist for HOODIE SZN looked promising, and with 20 tracks totaling over an hour of music, I figured there has to be something enjoyable on here.
I must admit, I can’t stop listening to this album. Not because it’s good, but because it’s like watching a car accident, horrifying to witness but impossible to look away. I’m in disbelief at the number of talented people who produced and guest starred on this disaster of a project. Out of the 60+ minutes of music, maybe 8 of them are enjoyable, and none of those moments are because of A Boogie. This project is an uninspired, bloated collection of forgettable mixtape songs that are just so generic and bland that it could double as a white noise sleep machine.
A Boogie seems to think he’s found the “formula” for hit songs that he tries to recreate over and over on almost every track. But his “formula” is flawed, as in it’s not good at all. So it’s not enjoyable on the first song, and he just keeps trying it. His tone-deaf auto-tune vocals, the high pitched screaming mixed R&B voice that he switches between at a breakneck pace with no rhyme or reason, his repetitive, standard trap lyrics, the effects-laden outros on every song, it’s a series of countless mistakes that A Boogie can’t stop making.
The only salvageable parts are the guest features and occasionally the production. A Boogie’s performance is the definition of uninspired. It sounds like he’s bored, wishing he was anywhere else on his own album. There’s no passion, no emotion, no anything that stands out, really. What was the motivation here? Just to check “major release” off the 2019 goals list? Why are we here?
I can’t stress this enough: A Boogie cannot sing. At all. His nasally, whiny voice is only made worse by the autotune which enhances all of its worst qualities. And he sings on every single track. I thought the first song was a failed attempt and was hoping he’d get back to rapping instead of flailing around trying to make pop songs. Nope. Copy/paste that song 20 times and you have the rest of HOODIE SZN. Imagine Lil Uzi Vert without any creativity or passion and you have A Boogie.
The collection of beats here will make you think you’re listening to the same song for over an hour. They are simplistic, which isn’t an issue, and the production values are high, but there are 0 creative ideas on display. No chances are taken, just bland mixtape trap beats that drone on and on with the same effects including lots of track fading and echoing backing vocals that repeat lyrics which weren’t very good the first time. The plinky guitar samples and minor chord synths are trying to be dark and brooding but sound melodramatic when coupled with the faux introspective bars.
The album kicks off with “Voices in my head”. A scatterbrained song that finds Boogie auto crooning about side bitches and his mental state (kind of) along with some history on his career and tough talk about people trying him. Then the song switches up to some kind of ballad about not trusting some unnamed woman and how she’s like all the “bitches he knows” and then he turns sentimental again talking to this same woman. Then ends on people he knows that have been shot or jailed. I can’t keep track of where the fuck his head is at. Maybe that’s the point? But the ADD nature of the song makes it hard to follow or even pay attention to. This is will be a running theme throughout the album.
“Beasty” is the first of many examples throughout the album of him emphasizing the E sound “Beast-EEEEEE” flow that emphasizes his lack of vocal talent. The worst of it is on “Odee” where it seems as though the entire song is him trying to annoy you.
On “I did it” he tries screaming instead of singing which was a mistake. He screams “I’m a rockstar n****, screaming on top of a cop car n****” and it doesn’t even sound like he’s convinced himself of this. “Skeezers”, “Savage”, “Love, Sex, and Drugs”, pretty much every solo song are just retreads of “I did it” or “Beasty” with diminishing returns. Love, Sex, and Drugs sounds like an Avicii song (RIP) from 2012 but repurposed and stripped of all the enjoyable parts. His content follows the same template: some nameless woman broke A Boogie’s heart, he justifies treating women like shit now because of her, he has a lot of expensive luggage and he’s on a private jet, don’t test him or his crew etc. etc. It’s shocking how long this album is and how little he has to say. This isn’t beating a dead horse, it’s dropping a nuclear bomb on it.
“Swervin” features production by London on da Track that is so unoriginal it doesn’t even sound like him. There’s a running theme of Boogie bringing down the talent and creativity of everybody around him like a black hole. For some reason, he jams 6ix9ine on the track who completely changes the entire energy of the song and not in a good way. Instead of putting this verse on a different song, or not including it, or crafting a song around it, Boogie switches up and tries to match the screaming energy and hyper-aggressive content then immediately goes back to the controlled, laid back feel of the first half like a light switch being flipped at random.
The single “Startender” is one of the better tracks on the album, mostly because Offset and Tyga break up the monotony. It also has a weird horror movie sounding offkey backing track that’s pretty infectious. The JUICE WRLD feature on “Demons and Angels” is pretty catchy as well until Boogie tries to imitate it which made me hate it. He also talks about not trusting women because they want him for his fame for the 1,000,000 time. Unlike the fun, exciting back and forth Trippe Redd and JUICE WRLD had on 1400/999 freestyle, there is absolutely no chemistry here. NAV guest starring on the “bonus” song “Pull Up” on the last track is fitting. The two most forgettable, generiv voices in hip-hop collaborate on a song that has all the personality of a fast food commercial. You know something has gone horribly wrong when NAV outshines you.
“Come Closer” is an attempt at a love song where he says “And I love my baby momma/but if she ever fuck another n****/I will never ever touch her” because true love is abandoning the mother of your child when she tries to move on with her life. I get that it’s supposed to be a back and forth with Queen Naija (who sounds great/steals the show) but again, there’s 0 chemistry here. I really like the acoustic guitar sample (it’s at least something different) and the R&B vibe, if it was only Queen Naija on the track, it would be a good song. Quandorondo absolutely murders “Need a Best Friend” with a catchy chorus and non-auto tuned verse that is clean as hell and beautifully sung. It also made me wonder how differently this album would have turned out if A Boogie could sing like that. And that I should listen to more Quandorondo, dude is talented.
The only solo song I kind of like is 4 min convo because it’s at least a little bit personal and emotional. He talks about his influences and idols, how they’ve helped him in his career, and actually sounds vulnerable for a split second. Also, he doesn’t try to be an R&B star and start singing in a key that he doesn’t have. It’s reflective, emotional, and the moody piano compliments the whole track nicely.
I would go through the rest but there’s no point. It’s all the same. The only saving grace is that the songs are mercifully short. I get “cultivating a sound” but Jesus Christ you also need variety and personality. This album could have been 5 songs and had some impact but he stretched it into 20. It’s like when they make an SNL skit into a movie, there’s not enough good content to fill the time. Can somebody tell this new wave of artists that more does not equal better? I understand that people are consuming content at a frightening rate but quality is always better than quantity.
I really can’t put into words how pointless this project is. A Boogie clearly didn’t have much inspiration when making it other than “I need to put something out”. It’s clear he put a lot of work into this album but he has absolutely nothing to say, no new ideas, no passion behind his words, he’s simply going through the motions. Emotion is the driving force behind all good music, without that it’s just noise. That’s what this album is, background noise, like leaving Netflix on while you scroll social media. It doesn’t grab your attention and you’ll forget it the second you turn it off.
- Need a Best Friend featuring Lil Quee and Quandorondo
- 4 Min Convo (Favorite Song)
- Voices in My Head
- I Did It
- Swervin featuring 6ix9ine
- Startender featuring Offset and Tyga
- Demons and Angels featuring Juice Wrld
- Love Drugs and Sex
- Come Closer featuring Queen Naija
- Look Back At It
- Just Like Me featuring Young Thug
- Bosses and Workers featuring Don Q and Trap Manny
- The Reaper
- Uptown/Bustdown featuring Lil Durk and PnB Rock
- Billie Jean
- Odee (Bonus track)
- Pull Up featuring Nav (Bonus track)