In my days I’ve been called a lefty wing nut for some of my ideas around race, gender, sex and power. Yet when it comes to my taste in rap music I couldn’t be more patriarchal and sexist. Shit, call me the Akinyele of rap appreciation. Outside a few late Golden Era singles from Latifah and Lyte, and the material Lauryn, Foxy and Kim released in the mid 90s, you won’t find me praising or playing much rap with a female emcee as the center of it. It’s not about quality or content, it simply comes down to tone. So much of the mythology and sound of rap emerged from a hyper-masculine energy, that irregardless of whether it can be classified as street or conscious, that tone of the male voice over beats is an essential part of what captivates my listening ear. Without further defense of my indefensible position, I can definitely appreciate quality work from a female rapper when I hear it. Unfortunately, Boog Brown’s The Brown Study Remixes does not fall into that category.
To be frank about this, Boog is not a very engaging rapper. Is she capable of writing quality rhymes? Sure, but captivating or entertaining? She is far from it. Her rap style/flow is redundant, dry and monotonous, with her word play and technical proficiencies being C-level at best. Boog speaks about positive things such as fighting gentrification and the beauty of Black Love, but that is only half the battle. Just like gun and drug talk, we’ve heard all “conscious” topics before. With the art of rapping today, it’s not about the originality of the content so much, but its presentation. With this in mind, The Brown Study Remixes mostly feels like looking at a once glorious neighborhood mural decay from neglect. It’s not that the sound is old, but the technique and execution lack a new touches and insight.
This collection of remixes is filled with sounds from some of the best up-n-coming sample-based beat-heads: 14KT, Apollo Brown and Has-Lo, but the stand out record is Georgia Anne Muldrow’s remix of “My Love”. The thumpin’ Nintendo-ism of the beat sits under and propels Boog’s vocals perfectly to center-stage as Boog professes to the great qualities of her relationship. MarvWon’s remix “Friction” also shines with a fuzzy synth horn layered above some guttural drums and bass that have come to define all that’s great about contemporary Detroit rap. All in all though, The Brown Study Remixes has a feeling that we’ve been around this rap block before and it has little to with the remix angle. The album comes across as a collection of singles were the cohesiveness and dynamism of the records gets lost and leaves Boog Brown coming off as another rapper with good connections. As I’ve said time and again through various reviews this year, it takes more than good rhymes and beats to stand out in the current rap market. Leaving The Brown Study Remixes as another project that will just take up bandwidth.