In early January, a 2 Live Crew interview video of Jay-Z was dug up on Reddit. The video is dated to 1997, Jay-Z was probably there to promote In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 but the interview very quickly takes a turn for the extremely NSFW. In the first second of the video the viewer is presented, not with Jay discussing his work with DJ Premier, but instead a woman preforming oral sex on another woman. An obviously uncomfortable HOVA sits next to them as 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell eggs the women on. This was a startling reminder of how hip-hop has evolved beyond this low and into a more open-minded era where women aren’t objects or eye candy. Apparently no one informed Overdoz.
Late last year these guys released “Killer Tofu”, an uproarious track that clocked in at just under two minutes. This came along with an announcement that the group would be touring with Childish Gambino. With the promise of a mixtape, Boom, Overdoz. seemed primed to burst out in spectacular fashion. Instead Boom delivers a bland and casually misogynistic set of tracks devoid of the energy that made their first single so entertaining. It’s probably best to go into what made “Killer Tofu” so great to better contrast it to the rest of the album. “Killer Tofu” was an all-out blitz of a song, with fantastically spit lines, crazy internal rhymes, and soulful production similar to other hip-hop genre mixers like JODY. The song was made out of pure hyperactivity so how did the rest of the album become such a slog? Songs like “These Niggas” and “De$tabil” have cough syrup like flows that reveal how vapid Overdoz.’s lyrics often are. Their lyrical content is dominated by molly, weed, and strippers. Oh yeah, and having sex with their friend’s girls. “Never let your homegirl kick it with no Desto’s/Cause we fuck those, yeah, we fuck those.”
The production is the least offensive component of Boom. With the exception of “Killer Tofu”, producing duo THC’s beats mostly fall between club beats and trap rap. “These Niggas” has some excellent keyboard and synth action and cleanly produced tracks like “Underground” and the opening of “Lois Lane” are the duo’s best moments, but when they dabble in harder and dirtier sounds the tracks become murky and muddled. L.A. based Iman Omari easily lays down the best backing tracks here. His bouncy and colorful production calls for a fully instrumental version of Boom. But a non-instrumental hip-hop album is defined by its rapping and Boom is seriously lacking in that department. It’s not just the lyrics that make most of the songs banal, the flows throughout are lazy, repetitive, and predictable. The weed-smoke bars on “Hiroshima” lack any charm and “Thinkin'” has a flow liable to put any listener to sleep.
Still, the main detractors from Boom are the lyrics. Overdoz. demand that “groupies bow down” and in “Last Love Song” the old cliché of “fuck bitches get money” is intoned ad nauseam as the line “Trying to fuck my girl? I’m trying to fuck the world” is rapped. “Lapdance” has solid feature from Juicy J but the awkward chorus goes “Imma make a bitch pay me for a lapdance.” The painful skit before “Desto’s don’t stress hoes” is the worst offender. Overdoz. member Cream starts the song by saying “She better not be fucking with Dom, I’ll slap that bitch. / I’ll slap that bitch if she trying to fuck with Dom, Ima fuck all her homegirls.”
In an ironic twist the second to last song (and second best song on the album) “Babysteps” has some of the album’s realest lines and actually wades into some somber territory. The second verse has crew member Sleazy spitting “You Splenda sweet, seems like a front when you say you love my momma/But you ain’t finna fill my life with bullshit and pointless drama.” It seems like a pretty touching and emotional song until Sleazy raps “Stay in yo’ place and suck mo’ dick until I get my bread right,” only to hilariously make a counterpoint in the next line with “I try my best to treat you nice but nah, that ain’t enough.” Considering the way he and the rest of Overdoz. treat women on Boom, it shouldn’t be such a surprise that his relationship is on the rocks. The best way to deal with “life’s a bitch and I’ll fuck her” outlook is to simply quote Aesop Rock: “Life’s not a bitch, life is a beautiful woman/You only call her a bitch because she won’t let you get that pussy/ Maybe she didn’t feel y’all shared any similar interests /Or maybe you’re just an asshole who couldn’t sweet talk the princess.” That last option seems pretty likely.