Boaz – Intuition
The old saying goes: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” It’s a simple, fairly straightforward message. The more one is acquainted with a specific thing or person, the more they are likely to grow tired of it. Intuition, Pittsburgh rapper Boaz’s debut LP, is sure to sound familiar to hip-hop heads. His aesthetic is indebted to the street raps of the ’90s and early ’00s. It only takes a few seconds into the album for Boaz to introduce himself as a hustler. He declares himself the “Pittsburgh Nas” and soon after asks for the release of Beanie Sigel. Hustle-rap legends Jadakiss and Styles P both provide guest verses on “Rootin’ 4 the Villains” halfway through the record. Boaz achieves a small feat here, however; though yet another name in a long line of hustlers-turned-rappers, Intuition’s familiarity breeds little contempt and plenty of laudable moments.
Boaz is a label-mate and friend of Wiz Khalifa, but his style couldn’t be more different than Wiz’s laid-back stoner persona. As evidenced by the album’s title and his near-infinite references to his aforementioned hustler status, Intuition is all about Boaz’s rise above life on the street to his rap career. His work ethic and passion bleed through the album. “Don’t Know” could easily be generic “Started from the Bottom”-esque bragging, but a brassy beat and fun verses from Boaz and fellow Pittsburgh native Mac Miller make it a huge ear-worm. Intuition’s real strengths come with Boaz’s more personal stories later in the record’s runtime. The album’s title track recalls his dream of becoming rich and famous before falling in love with music and using intuition to realize those dreams. “Minds of Men” finds Boaz thanking God for extracting him from situations that he acknowledges not everybody can escape, all while mourning his fallen friends. “No More” dives deeper in society’s problems, finishing the albums with the powerful words, “Does anything remain pure?”
Boaz’s biggest strength is how natural he sounds over a beat, boasting a silky smooth flow and deliberate cadence that ensures every word he wishes to say is heard. Boaz also sounds comfortable on a hook, with a knack for melodies reminiscent of a Get Rich or Die Tryin’-era 50 Cent. He has certain styles that really make him shine, much like his swagger-fueled delivery that meshes so well with the banging !llmind-backed “Like This.” The more soulful beats also lend support to the rapper’s candor.
It’s when Boaz goes into territories more outside his comfort zone that produces mixed results. “Ball On ‘Em” is a more banal attempt at pure braggadocio than “Don’t Know,” and the bombastic, occasionally operatic beat makes it seem like a poor man’s version of Jay Z and Kanye’s “H.A.M.” “How We Law” is a dancehall-influenced song featuring Junior Reid, and Boaz struggles to master this sound as well. All three of these records play side-by-side, right in the middle of the album, and almost completely unhinge the listener’s interest. Boaz picks it up again with the title track soon after, but these missteps stress a need for progress and tuneups. His intuition has gotten him this far, but honing in on his strengths could bring him so much higher.
3.5 out of 5
You can purchase Intuition on Amazon.