Truthfully Speaking
Boosie BadAzz has become increasingly recognized for his unfiltered comments, but he'd rather be revered for being one of hip-hop's legends instead—even if some ran fans think otherwise.
Interview: Bianca Torres
Editor’s Note: This story appears in the Summer 2023 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

Not many rappers can say they’ve survived nearly three decades in hip-hop and are still a regular topic of conversation like Boosie BadAzz. The prolific artist started his journey in rap in the late 1990s, and since then, he’s earned his fair share of gold plaques and has released 14 albums, 44 mixtapes and seven collaborations. He released two albums this summer: Best Album of 2023 in June, and Goin Thru Some Thangs in August. He’s got a right to argue for his legendary status.

But the past few years have seen Boosie, 40, making headlines for his controversial opinions on trending topics, which he feels downplays his title as a legend. From his thoughts on children and their sexual orientation, preferences and gender identification to rappers cooperating with law enforcement, the rapper is going to be vocal about what’s on his mind. What you see is what you get with Boosie BadAzz.

While it’s true that Boosie has become a polarizing public figure for communicating his thoughts, many fail to realize that the Baton Rouge, La. native is being authentically himself. He’s sorting through emotions just like anyone else. The only difference is, he says it all aloud. On the quieter side, he has a goal of helping the youth make better decisions than he has in the past. Being there for the kids is important to Boosie. He’ll even rush home from work to be present for one of his eight children’s special occasions.

On a sunny afternoon in June, XXL links with Boosie BadAzz via Zoom as he was on the way to New York City’s JFK airport to make it back home in time for his daughter’s birthday party. Here, Boosie speaks on telling his truth, being a leader in hip-hop, why his legendary status is downplayed, the origin of his disdain for snitches, signing a new country artist and much more.

XXL: You’ve dropped a lot of projects. What makes your most recent release, Best Album of 2023, the best one? [Editor's Note: This article was published in XXL magazine in July before Boosie's Goin Thru Some Thangs album arrived in August.]

Boosie BadAzz: Probably the selection of songs. All of them got a good meaning. All of them. it feels like it to me. It feels like it to me because it’s just a classic, man. Every song has a meaning. Every song touches you. It’s powerful music.

What do you think your role is in hip-hop?

My role in hip-hop is to keep dropping music, making my legendary status going up, keep showing them I can’t be f**ked with. Keep being the one to stand up for my Black people and our injustice, the evilness of what this world I feel has become.

I’m the voice of my people. Sometimes, I don’t say it right, but you understand exactly what I mean, and I’m not the one to hold my tongue. It just happened to evolve across the world. But I’m here to make music, motivate the younger generation and keep on going. Hopefully, I could spark another Boosie.

"I’m the voice of my people. Sometimes, I don’t say it right, but you understand exactly what I mean, and I’m not the one to hold my tongue."

Would you consider yourself a leader in hip-hop?

Of course. No rapper in the game have raised—living or dead—more street dudes than Boosie. If you was living a certain lifestyle, you was raised by Boosie. My music raised the ghetto. My music raised so many people who didn’t have daddies.

I’m a major figure in hip-hop. I feel like my legendary status has gotten downplayed for certain things that I speak on about the world, but I’m fine with that. As long as I know that I’m being a real person and speaking my mind and telling my truth, it doesn’t matter what other people think of me.

You’re OK with being a controversial figure in hip-hop?

Yeah, I’m OK with that. Money is not going to make me shut up. If someone has done wrong and it’s my people, I’m going to speak up. That’s my first amendment.

Do you have any regrets within hip-hop or the industry in general?

Nah, I don’t have no regrets. Hip-hop has evolved to where you can make all kinds of money. I love the new hustle and the new ways to get money. It’s just a lot of things I don’t agree with. And, by me [being] the only one speaking up on it, it seems like I’m an outcast.

Do you wish that more people would support you?

Hell yeah. I have so many artists, CEOs who see me and say, “Boosie, I feel just like you, bro. I feel just like you.” But they have situations going and they can’t do it. And I respect that also.

As one of the leaders in hip-hop, what is your advice for up-and-coming artists?

Stay out the hood and don’t get killed. A lot of artists, they get up and they want to go back and still be in the same city and show off in the city that they always want to show off in front of. It’s a new day now. These young rappers, they don’t really care about making a hit record to get on. They can kill a rapper who makes hit records and get on. I would preach safety to them.

When did you leave your neighborhood?

I didn’t leave the neighborhood until I got out of prison. That’s why I went to prison because I never left Baton Rouge. I had enough money to leave then, but I was just like them. “Ain’t nobody running me.” And I end up fighting the death penalty. I learned from that.

What are your thoughts on YNW Melly’s case?

He’s charged with the first-degree murder of his two friends and is facing the death penalty. You faced a similar sentence during your 2010 trial for first-degree murder, in which you were found not guilty. I’m going to his trial to support him. I talked to his mom the other night. I’m going to support Melly. I was on a plane with Melly one day in the airport with him. We was in the airport, and he took his credit card out. He ain’t let me buy nothing, bro. He bought all my food, my magazines. All through the airport he like, “OG, you ain’t spending no money.” So, I’m going to support that little n***a, dawg.

You do a lot of DJ Vlad interviews. What’s your relationship with him?

[Me] and Vlad had a relationship for 20 years, man. Vlad watched me come from nothing. I watched Vlad come from nothing. He’s never crossed me. They love to watch our interviews. I’ve never sent nobody to jail on Vlad TV. I’ve never went to war with nobody off Vlad TV. I’ve never incriminated myself on Vlad TV.

You can’t pay me to talk down on somebody. It’s not what others do to others; it’s what others do to me. He’s just like everybody else. He’s asking questions. That’s what promoters, podcasts, that’s what everybody gets paid for. That’s their job, to ask you the questions.

Boosie Badazz
Khyree “Kp” Pleasant

How should rappers move during these types of interviews?

You got to understand, some rappers like to talk. It comes back on them. Vlad didn’ t say none of those words that get used on them in court. I feel like he’s kind of being targeted. Do we blame that label and say that label is getting artists killed? No. The blogs and podcasts is not getting artists killed. Artists are getting artists killed.

You have said that Gunna is a premeditated rat. Why?

I don’t want to really speak on [the YSL] case, but I’m going to use it as a third person. If someone was in a situation, he knew everything was going on in that situation. If that situation turned out to be a life sentence in front of his face, he was going to tell. He ain’t go and say, “I want out of this. I don’t want nothing to do with this s**t.”

Those situations hit close to home because people have snitched on you and your loved ones.

Right. I done did years of my life in jail for this. My family have, my friends have. When you really part of the struggle in the hood, the people who do that, they’re like exiled. It’s different in hip-hop, but on the real streets, they’re exiled. That’s just how I feel about situations with people who doing that because it hurts the kids, man. People don’t understand the domino effect of someone sending somebody to prison from not taking their lick.

You were arrested in May for allegedly having two guns in your car. What’s your take on guns?

I feel like guns should be allowed to celebrities, to people who haven’t been in trouble. And I had a situation, I don’t really want to talk about it, but my boy, he confessed to the guns. He checked them in, right, in Atlanta, got them out. It’s just crazy. I don’t really want to talk on it, but I’m going to come out OK in that situation. If we don’t protect ourselves or have protection around us, we gon’ die.

You urged fans to stay out of street life. Popular NBA player Ja Morant has been seen on Instagram flashing guns a few times and got in trouble with the league and sports fans. Do you think he was trying to embrace street life or is he putting his right to bear arms on front street?

I don’t know. I really need to talk to him. Me and his pops, that’s my friend, that’s my boy. I haven’t talked to pops yet. And once I talk to him, I can see his intake. I was telling myself he got to know what he bound to lose. You ain’t work all these years to lose all this in a couple of years. I feel like if he just go chill out, stay off the ’Gram, come back, start dunking all on these n***as’ a*s again.

You have made headlines for your thoughts on children’s orientation, preference and identification. Recently, your daughter came out as lesbian. Do you think there’s a difference between a man being gay and a woman being a lesbian?

Not really. Just somewhat a difference because of the Black community, they’ve accepted the lesbian more than the homosexual. But it’s still not accepted in my household. I mean, in her household it is because she’s grown. She’s 22 years old. But we don’t shun her. We support her. We’re not obliging into nothing that’s never been obliged to in our family. We stand on morals.

We’re real Southern Baptist people. My grandfather was a preacher. We won’t accept a marriage like that. It’s certain things we don’t do, but we will love and cherish and things like that, but she’s grown. And at that time, you know what you want. I was speaking on kids. When you 21 years old, you know exactly what you want.

Even though you don’t accept it, it’s dope that you’re still supportive of your daughter’s choices.

Me and my daughter closer than ever right now. Before she came out, we was going through some crazy s**t. We was beefing and now we closer than ever. That’s crazy.

Your son, Tootie Raww, and your daughter, Poison Ivy, are rappers. How does it feel having your children follow in your footsteps?

Well, it’s something that I can’t stop. It’s their passion. It’s their dream. As a father, I got to support their dreams. It’s not the field that I wanted them in because I wouldn’t want them to go through the same s**t I went through.

You have said you go to therapy now because you lost a lot of loved ones, and you were grieving. A lot of rappers go through the same trauma. Do you think that most rappers should seek therapy?

I mean, it’s helping me, man.

How has it helped you?

Think about a soldier who come from war, right? He’s lost. In four years, he’s probably seen eight, nine people die who he befriended. And he comes back, he has PTSD.

A kid from Chicago who lost 45 friends, saw 1,314 people die, what do you think he has? Now, he’s trying to rap and he’s more paranoid. Sometimes we need people to talk to. It’s all kind of s**t in therapy to help you. Like breathing when you get pissed off. It’s just sometimes we be traumatized, bro. I found myself just late-night crying about my n***as and s**t. So I went, got some help, man.

What else do you have coming up?

I got another movie finna drop called No Honor Amongst Thieves. I’m finna shoot another film this summer called Little Saints, me and Desi Banks. I just dropped my last movie for Christmas. Where’s MJ? [is] the No. 1 street comedy right now.

I just signed Common Tribe. I went country this time and I just signed two African twins.
I went country this time and this guy is going to be bigger than Garth Brooks.

What made you go the country route?

Country is money. Country support they people. I went to looking at all them damn country sales and them country artists, them numbers doing. I said, “I got to find me a country artist.” I found the diamond in a rough.

Boosie Badazz
Khyree “Kp” Pleasant

The Freshman issue of XXL magazine hits stands everywhere on July 18. See Finesse2tymesRob49FridayyGloRilla2RareSleazyWorld GoLola Brooke, Central CeeReal Boston RicheyLuh TylerTiaCorine and DC The Don's official Freshman pages. In addition to interviews with all 12 artists in the 2023 Class and Freshman cyphers producer Pi'erre Bourne, it includes interviews with Lil Baby, NLE Choppa, Boosie BadAzz, Toosii, DDG, Saba, producer Go Grizzly, engineer Jaycen Joshua, singer Coco Jones, SinceThe80s' President Barry "Hefner" Johnson and AEW wrestler Swerve Strickland, plus a look back at what the 2022 XXL Freshman Class is doing, hip-hop's love for golfing featuring Scarface, OMB Peezy and pro golfer Harold Varner III, conversations with 10 new artists making noise and a deep dive into A.I. hip-hop songs. You can also buy the 2023 XXL Freshman Class issue here.

2023 XXL Freshman
Travis Shinn for XXL

See the 2023 XXL Freshman Class

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