As the history of hip-hop music unfolds, certain albums are obvious landmarks. Lonnie Barker’s (also referred to as L. Boogie) solo debut release, "Naked and Unashamed," is one of those albums.
"I was very prayerful in my approach to giving the people the kind of record they've always wanted," he says. "My last three albums are nothing to complain about because they've always done really well for me, but I've always said in my heart, they are a step in the right direction and getting closer to what I’ve wanted to do musically. When I was thinking about making this project, I said to myself ‘I don't want it to be just another album, I want it to be a reflection of who I am and the kind of music I love to make.'"
The result is a compelling collection of songs that astounds listeners with its superb production and substantial lyrical delivery. "I just wanted to make an album I love and it definitely came across a little more powerful than any other music I've ever done," he says, "I love it. I really focused on up-tempo tracks. It's definitely way more energetic than anything I've ever done before. I don't think I was trying to reinvent the wheel, it's just trying to put a little more edge into what I’m creating."
The journey of self-discovery has been a winding, often bumpy road, for L. Boogie. Along the way, it yielded some incredible music, including the emotional anthem "Stay True" which is a transparent, heart-wrenching classic of his upbringing and triumphant battle with self-esteem and personal struggles. Then there’s the high-powered smash hit, “The Blood” featuring songstress Sarah Nicole Sanders and cameo appearances by Promise Dixon and Sh’Pone Harris. "I had so much fun in making this album. It was just an amazing experience. Every artist featured on the album understood my heart and what I wanted to do with this project."
That's why the title "Naked and Unashamed" holds special significance for this album. "I just wanted to give people an inside look at my life and bear witness to the unselfish grace of God and His power to save anyone from sin and destruction," he says.
"There is no huge consistent theme," L. Boogie says of the songs on the new album. "It's really just everything that was on my heart at the time. There are some songs that reflect where I've been like ‘What Happened To Us' and ‘So Many Things’ which is talking to people about when you feel like you are going to give up, just hang on because help is on the way."
He says there was definitely a natural flow in orchestrating this album. "I danced half way through making the record because I didn't have any major tragedies occur," he confesses. "So it was really just a blast to go through something like this and not have anything real heavy lingering over my head. I believe every song definitely has a message within itself and will affect the listener in a different way. No matter what you face in life, no matter how tough the loss, if you give your all to God and remain open to Him and allow His will to be prevalent in your life, He will do just what He promised you. That's what this album is for me. It's addressing everything I've gone through and realizing the one common denominator in all this is Jesus Christ’s unconditional love."
The result is a project destined to stand as a milestone in a memorable career, but what matters most is the impact the music will have on others. Not to mention this album was nominated for a Grammy Award for "Best Rock/Rap Album of the year."