When you put on Love, the first of two discs of this new release from the Grammy nominated Oklahoma native, L. Boogie; it slowly begins to take flight. The songs offer some sweet, passive pleasures. For more than a handful of hot cuts, L. Boogie turns out brash, hook-centric R&B that complements silky flows with some fine beats. He creatively pens the score "A Love Letter," which is a unique way of reaching out to his lover. "Crush On You" underpins his insistent desire for a woman with acoustic guitar, strings and kick drums, and "One Stop Shop" is a smooth jam so gleefully hooky, that it ends up charming. Then there's the single "Give My Love" which is an ultra warm track with an ace chorus by up and coming sensation Mai Lee. By track twelve, he’s praising a lady who's got him wondering if others really see the fullness of their love for each other in “I Wonder If.” The "Outro" is a winner with me. I replay it over and over again because of its "feel-good" appeal.
In the opening track of Life, the second disc, L. Boogie wastes no time in getting the listener engaged with heart thumping, blazing tracks like “It’s My Turn” and “Dance To This.” He then exposes his spiritual influences in the sultry tune “All To You.” Taking us on a journey with the nostalgic melody of “Every Now and Then” he uses his lyrical creativity to give the listener a bird’s eye view of his upbringing in his hometown of Muskogee, Oklahoma. The album then dismounts with the personal favorite of mine, “It Was You” featuring songstress Sarah Sanders and Promise Dixon. His epic, adoring track, "I Have A Song," is one of the album's high points, he speaks of staying focused and hungry to fulfill his dreams: "In the midst of my misery I learned how to build trust/When nobody was feelin’ me, in God is where I put my trust/ Just a little nappy-headed kid from the hood/ I knew that I could make it like the engine that could/ Sometimes I’m lied on, sometimes misunderstood/ But as long as I’m alive, everything is all good."
The album is tagged as hip-hop soul music, a genre in which artists interpret this generation's experience through hip-hop's beats and outlook folded into soulful melodies and tenderness. Though some artists sing and rhyme in hip-hop soul, the singing and rhyming do not clearly demarcate hip-hop and R&B. Hip-hop soul is fluid enough to largely escape simple definition. Though you know it when you hear it, generally what you hear is greater musical ambition and courage than in most traditional hip-hop.
L. Boogie is an artist blessed with an ability and skill that attracts the female listener without turning away the fellas. He is that rare artist who can be righteous and not self-righteous, who thinks a lot of himself without ego-tripping. That's partly because he's so transparent and very honest in his music. I give Love & Life two thumbs up.
Written Keryn Holscomb