For some, a casino visit is a chance to escape struggles or celebrate successes through a sea of games, bright lights and recklessness. But for Westside Boogie, a recent night of gambling saw him confronting nearly two decades of trauma — trauma that eight years of music and a couple of years of therapy haven’t quite fixed yet.
Boogie, 33, grew up in Compton, California, with his father largely absent from his life. His mom told him that she dumped him because of his debilitating gambling habits, and he later deserted his son’s life when he was 3 or 4 years old. And while Boogie has earned a career as one of the most insightful young rappers in the game, he can see the same flaws in himself as well.
“I’ve noticed I have similar gambling problems. The rush I get from it, or it’s been times I felt like that was a short way out,” he explained. “I found myself at the casino, betting money I shouldn’t have even been betting. I look up, and my father was just staring at me.”
He hadn’t seen his father in person since he was 7 years old, but here he was, exactly where his mother’s stories would have stated that he’d find him.
“I’m grateful for the lessons that the universe gives you,” he continued, adding that our phone conversation was the first time he’s shared this story. “You gotta be aware that it’s a lesson in that, and don’t ignore it.”
Through his intensely personal and vulnerable lyrics, Boogie is continuously working to process life’s lessons and make the most of them. The title of his latest album, “More Black Superheroes,” is a reference to what he feels is a litany of obstacles that Black men must hurdle on a regular basis.
“We go outside in the world and we survive situations, and we just look at it as a norm,” he said. “I think we need to start giving ourselves more credit, because we deserve it.”
For the full interview and photoshoot, visit HuffPost.
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