$19.50/20.00 [?]

Boog Brown & Apollo Brown
Brown Study

Hip-Hop has long been waiting for a suitable queen to return and declare the vacant crown hers. Concurrently we’ve also been waiting for her to cast out all of the unfit females who erroneously claim that same crown for themselves, yet display none of the qualifications to hold it. Out of Atlanta by way of Detroit we have discovered a woman named Boog Brown, who if by any indication of her new project with celebrated newcomer Apollo Brown, has made the single best bid for why she is the rightful heir to the matriarchal side of the culture we all love. With her debut album Brown Study, no woman in rap can deny her skill, will or talent…at the present moment she is the proud owner of the preeminent album created by any woman in Hip-Hop this year.

It’s striking; the dexterity of her flow and lyrics are pointed enough to penetrate the psyche of the toughest critic or hater. From the moment Apollo Brown’s boom bap backing on “Masterplan” comes in as Brown Study commences all the necessary traits Boog’s possesses of being a genuine candidate as a true femcee are glaringly apparent. It really should be no surprise, her angling and foresight to get up with Apollo to do an entire album with her was an extremely savvy move. In two years people will be writing about how he’s the new Large Professor and she’s the first artist he’s contributed an entire soundtrack to. Boog’s voice is balanced, it isn’t too garish or masculine nor does it pander to the Nikki Minaj crowd who seem to desire a woman who tries to sound as ridiculous tonally and vocabulary-wise on the mic. Boog displays a great clarity in her delivery that shows off throughout this album in the form of a bevy of worthy verses and many compelling choruses (a lost art for many rappers no matter what gender).

Boog adapts to her sound beds remarkably well and never sounds over matched, not even by Apollo’s aesthetically pleasing and head nodding beat works. “Just Be” is a prime example of how the ATL femcee can command and captivate all at once. She weaves intellectually laced rhymes around a fantasy about her dream companion. Usually fodder that can come off polarizing or corny, but Boog manages to make it soothing like an intense poetry session. This blueprint is kind of repeated on the following track “My Love”, except this time there is far much more of a bounce to her flow and the music. She’s so talented it’s scary and her scope of relatablity transcends the fact she’s a woman. On most tracks she’s just a voice describing her reality, her wishes her wants and so on while you listen…intently.

One of Brown Study’s many highlight’s is the Supastition assisted “Friends Like These”. Again Boog proves that her recruitment/scouting technique is levelheaded as she enlists Kam Moye, who briefly comes out of retirement, to issue a great verse about the endless topic that is rotten friends. Not only does the collab work well, but Boog actually leads the track more than properly.

“Carpe Diem” is crazy. Surely one of Apollo’s finest contributions for the entire LP, Boog finds her pace masterfully over the brilliant sound waves and proceeds to lob streams of conscious gems in your direction. It’s just a wholly enjoyable track that has a certain essence to it that is far too absent from the Hip-Hop realm these days, especially from chicks that attempt to make their way into the game. She seems comfortable, at ease and in control at every turn, guiding your listening experience and molding her brand of self assured and self aware expression onto you. Everything culminates on the last 5 tracks of the album, particularly a song that is a testament of Boog’s overall memorandum to the game. “Shine” is a knowledge blessed, inspirational and confidence rousing ode to believing in one’s self that’s kissed at the very end with just enough edginess to enthrall you. Moving from there Boog gives you the ins and outs of getting burned by an unfaithful lover, and the tragic resulting consequences on “Blink”, that in reality sort of explores a few vignettes that deal with karma and how it eventually can come back to you in the form of being majorly stuck in a bad way.

Once again unafraid to brave the collaboration waters by rhyming opposite a very worthy emcee in the DMV’s Kenn Starr , Boog goes in on “Play The Game” and once again impressively holds her own. She’s simply just an effective artist that sticks to her mantra of bringing forth only lyrics that highlight her plane of high philosophy. She is a force.

Boog’s grand finale is “Understanding”, a cut that I am firmly able to state is largely the most paramount recording any femcee has pushed forth in years. Her words here fall together perfectly and have you tracing their candor and unrestrictive nature attentively. This track solidifies a wondrous first project on Boog’s part. Few women or just artist’s in general are capable of the type of transparent lyrical offerings that she seems to will out of herself seamlessly. I think that this joint acutely demonstrates a lot of what she brings to the table as a whole. She’s witty, honest, an in-depth writer and she cherishes her craft. Short of Deepak Chopra starting to kick raps, there couldn’t be a better album to curl up with if you’re a deep thinker or a person who searches and examines their inner self.

I’ve poured a heavy batch of praise on Brown Study and that’s for good reason. If only the culture could get back to this type of effort and music making. We have one supremely talented individual who’s obviously paid her dues and prepared rigorously for this test. We also have a new production wiz on our hands who knows precisely what type of music he patterns and what type of rhymer is suitable for it. Both of them linked up and viola! Hip-Hop has an album, a stitch of both of their artistic selves, to prize for years to come. Brown Study was forged for all the right reasons and you can tell inherently in it’s sound. Boog and Apollo aren’t seeking to be rich, or to seize fame…They care about Hip-Hop….they care about making good music that is meaningful and has true significance to it. These two’s motivation is evident and the album they’ve forged in all of it’s soulful, boom bap and poetry inspired glory is the direction that new and maybe even some older performer’s should take note of.

$19.50 out of $20.00

-Dominick “BIG D O” Ledezma

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