To true fans of good music the state of Mississippi is hallowed ground. It is the land where the blues, the basis of all forms of popular music started. It is, to some, an unlikely place for hip-hop let alone the next hip-hop superstar, but Mississippi native Boo (AKA Boo Rosinni AKA Boo the Boss Player) is the next big thing in rap music.
Blessed with a liquid flow and a gift for telling gritty hardcore street narratives, Boo has been in the trenches of the Southern underground grinding. For the past seven years Boo has been paying his dues by releasing five underground albums on his own independent 1 Life, 1 Love label, blazing numerous mix tapes and doing countless shows, earning him a loyal legion of underground fans stretching from Houston all the way back to Miami. To those on the outside looking in, Boo's meteoric rise through the ranks of hip-hop's upper echelon may seem like a walk up a crystal stair. The truth is, Boo's journey to the world stage was replete with splinters, tacks and thorns.
Boo's sojourn began a little over twenty-five years ago in Canton, Mississippi, a small town located just outside of Jackson. Like most Mississippians who grew up in a small town, Boo grew up in a close-knit community where everybody knew everybody. Unfortunately for Boo, his mother and father weren't together so he and his two siblings ended up moving from place to place, staying in various neighborhoods in C-Town.
"We didn't have much, but my momma made due with what we had. I remember the very first spot we had was a trailer. My mom was going back and forth with my dad so we ended up in this shotgun house for a little while. Then we started going back and forth to grandmamma house and back and fourth to the projects where my great grandmamma lived. So we moved around a whole lot when I was coming up. Nothing was stable."
Despite their lack of income Boo's mother did her best to keep a roof over her family's heads, food in their mouths and clothes on their backs. She also made sure that Boo knew right from wrong by sending him to church. But despite her best efforts to keep her son on the straight and narrow, Boo (like so many poverty-stricken African American males) eventually fell victim to the lure of the streets. At the tender age of thirteen, fueled by his need to escape the clutches of poverty, Boo started hustling in the streets. "I was seeing a lotta my potnas get into it so I kinda slid into it, back then, I felt like I had to do what I had to do." Fortunately for Boo he was able to realize that the life he was leading was headed nowhere fast. So he quit hustling and turned to another hustle, a legal one - music.
In 1996, Boo started his own label (1 Life 1 Love Records) and released his underground debut Birds Fly South and begin selling it out of the trunk and on consignment, selling over 5,000 units in Jackson alone. The record created a huge buzz in the streets of Mississippi and ended up catching the ears of Louisiana based rapper C-Loc ("How Ya Do Dat") who invited Boo to join him, Young Bleed and Maxmanelli and others in forming a group called the Concentration Camp. The group recorded an album with Priority and two independent albums before Boo released his second LP 601, which sold close to 15,000 units. With his third album Hustler's Prayer, Boo not only doubled his sales, but also was able to move units outside of the state of Mississippi.
"I was just trying to build from the Birds Fly South album," says Boo. "I just took the same lessons that I had gained from that album and applied it to the momentum that I had already built up from the first album and the Concentration Camp album. Now I'm not only in Mississippi selling units, but I'm in Louisiana selling units as well as Texas. I'm expanding."
By 2001, Boo had grown from a local rapper to a full fledge regional star, who managed to signed a joint-venture deal with Interscope Records. Unfortunately, things didn't work out between Boo and Interscope so the two amicably parted ways after a year and half. Once again, Boo was on his own. In the spring of 2002, Boo dropped Block 2 Block, a double-disk and hit the road promoting the album. This time he managed to sell close to 30,000 units and expanded his fan base to include parts of Georgia and Florida. Impressed with Boo Rossini's talent and hustle, Florida based label Royal Dollar Records approached Boo about joining their label in a joint venture deal. He agreed and months later Boo and the CEO of Royal Dollar were sitting in Clive Davis' office with Boo auditioning for the record industry legend. "I performed four songs from my new album," says Boo. "And when it was over Clive shook my hand and was like congratulations. That sealed the deal."
With Clive's blessings and the full impact of J Records mighty machine behind him, Boo hit the studio to record what is destined to be one of the best records to come out of the south this year. 1 Life, 1 Love is Boo's national debut, his musical introduction to the world and what an introduction it is! Produced by Lil Cee, his 16-year old in-house sensation, The Movement, Swiss Beats, Scott Storch, Blackout, Joe Traxx, and Lil Ant. 1 Life 1 Love offers listeners a heaping helping of Mississippi street life as seen through the eyes of Boo. It is an album that expresses the universal joy, pain and anguishes that is the essence of ghetto life and love.
"I came up with the name 1 Life, 1 Love because I was trying to come up with a universal title," says Boo, of the album. "I tried to come up with two strong words that everybody could identify with, you only live 1 Life and everybody within my circle; it's 1 Love!"
Tunes that reflect the grittier side of life are tracks like "Say it to My Face," a rowdy, in-your-face song about confronting undercover haters who talk behind your back and "Dat Rap Sh*t" a song featuring Young Jeezy and Blue Davinci. "I'm Ready" is a bubbling up-tempo anthem that announces to the world that Boo is here and ready to dominate the rap game. On radio-friendly songs like "Sparkling," Boo flips the script by flossing for the ladies. But of all of the songs on 1 Life, 1 Love the most poignant is "Pray for Me," a somber tome of repentance that has traditionally been a part of southern hip-hop. "I talk to God but, I don't think he hear me/But then again this might be the day he listening," raps Boo. Here Boo, a former seasoned hustler, sees the error of his ways and humbles himself before a higher power, hoping that that power forgives him. It is songs like these that make 1 Life, 1 Love such a riveting album and marks Boo as the artist to watch for in the coming year.