With the lights still on in Webster Hall’s mid-size Marlin Room, Power 105’s DJ Envy took the microphone and spoke as he always does, with the cool of someone chewing bubble gum and looking off somewhere else. “Lil Boosie was gonna hit the stage but he got sick,” he said. “They was rushing him to the hospital, but he said, Fuck that. So, he’s here. You ready for Boosie?”
People cheered. People cheered? It’s honestly hard to remember that moment. Christmas was definitely going to be canceled but Santa’s here with presents anyway, or something. Words were said and their meaning didn’t seem to matter. The “HDMI No Signal” screen, which had for fifteen minutes been projected on Envy’s shirt, went dark and the teaser to Boosie’s album-accompanying documentary, Touch Down 2 Cause Hell, began playing, showing his journey from prison to stadiums, intercut with scenes of the man buttoning his shirtsleeves and hugging his daughters. It’s a film about salvation through sweat, a diary of a hamster spinning the wheel off the tracks and busting through the cage. Watching the clips, it’s hard to imagine Boosie curling up on a beach chair.
Then, wearing a shirt that alternated the words “money” and “women,” flaunting a wrist of rubies and emeralds that could make Ursula sing, Boosie Badazz hit the stage for his first show in New York, ever. It was 9:39. Within a minute, he was gone. He’d come out smiling but as soon as he had finished performing his verse from K Camp’s “Cut Her Off” remix, Boosie quickly turned away from the stage and vomited into his hand. Two men took him off and down the stairs. His tour DJ explained, “As you can see, he’s got some sickness that’s…out of the regular. While he gets better backstage, we’re just gonna play some of the songs you came here to hear.” The crowd, small but dedicated, stuck around as 2005’s “I Got That” played. Earlier in the night, some could be overheard bragging of driving from Louisiana, from Florida, just to see Boosie.
People’s bodies go crazy for all sorts of reasons, ranging from street tacos to cancer, and no one in the crowd revealed themselves to be trained in the paramedic nor paranormal arts. That being said, Boosie is a well-known diabetic, and that seems like as good a culprit as any. 2010’s “The Rain,” for instance, doesn’t require Rap Genius: Diabetes steady eating my insides, fucking my vision up, I swear to God I feel like giving up/ Sometimes I'm laughin' with my money machine, but they trying to put me on dialysis machine. On TD2CH’s “Window of My Eyes,” between piano plinks and nightmare visions, he says, No one to kiss me and hug me and tell me it gon' be okay/ Plus the sickness that's attacking my kidneys like everyday/ I think it's time. The struggle isn’t subtle.
The intro track of Boosie’s new album ends with his oft-repeated line—minor setback for a major comeback—a phrase that’s propelled him always forward through life, an undersized fullback barreling through the scrum. Hopefully that applies here. Here’s looking forward to his next first show in New York.