May 22, 2019

My Gut Reaction: Prodigy x Boogz Boogetz - Young Rollin Stonerz (November 24, 2014)

This week I’m running a series of posts in honor of the late Albert Johnson, better known in the hip hop community as the rapper Prodigy. These reviews will close out both his and his group Mobb Deep’s respective catalogs, so if you’ve been following this blog, you likely know what projects will be popping up this week. Enjoy, and leave your comments below!

In 2014, Infamous Records, Prodigy’s vanity label, was struggling to remain relevant, as its coffers weren’t being filled by the mild royalties sales of older Mobb Deep albums, nor were they making much bank off of projects from their friends and affiliated groups (see: Bars & Hooks, Infamous Mobb). So Cellblock P tried a different tactic: he would introduce the world to a new artist named Boogz Boogetz, and to do so most efficiently, he would release a joint album with the man, as his cache alone should attract at least a few ears, right?

Raise your hand if you knew their album, Young Rollin Stonerz, existed prior to today's write-up. You’re liars, every last one of you.

Young Rollin Stonerz is, by Prodigy’s own admission, built more around his young charge than himself. The title was allegedly inspired by a label that Boogz was trying to get off the ground: Cellblock P felt that this joint effort would not only help him make some quick cash, it would also get Boogie’s name out there, aiding him in his quest to secure funding and interest within the industry. Obviously none of that shit ever happened, or else these opening paragraphs would be playing out much differently, but let’s engage with the delusion for a bit longer.

In an interview justifying the album in the first place, Prodigy explained that Boogz Boogetz had an entirely different energy about him when it came to both his writing and his general sense of self, that easygoing personality rubbing off on P himself. The songs on Young Rollin Stonerz are as far removed from Mobb Deep’s street tales and Prodigy’s own reflective solo efforts as one can be without leaving the Earth's atmosphere entirely: the eleven tracks on here (no skits, thank all of your respective gods for that) are exercises in shit-talking while boasting about decadent, weed- and women-filled lifestyles, which I realize make Young Rollin Stonerz sound like every other motherfucking rap album in existence, but again, it doesn’t sound like I’m describing a Mobb Deep album now, does it?

Ultimately, Young Rollin Stonerz sold no units, possibly due to a lack of promotion (Prodigy wasn’t exactly very good at this “marketing” thing), and its existence quickly faded from the collective memories of everyone who worked on it. Boogz Boogetz eventually wound up withdrawing from the rapper life, choosing stability over excess by taking a role as an account sales associate at Wells Fargo, where he spends each of his lunch hours in the break room staring at the television, which is permanently tuned to Fox News, with dead eyes, mindlessly chewing on yet another cold ham and cheese sandwich on wheat bread, not white, as he’s watching his weight, dreaming of the life that he once viewed just outside of his grasp.

Or he still raps, I don’t know.

The opening left me confused, which usually isn’t the recommended way to kick off a rap album: the first two lines sound like they were delivered by Cellblock P, but the next two decidedly do not, and they aren’t coming from Boogz Boogetz, either. I couldn’t find any real credits for this album anywhere, so who the fuck knows who recorded the intro. The song itself isn’t terrible: both Boogz and Prodigy unleash sixteen bar stanzas while an uncredited vocalist performs a hook that emphasizes the word “infamous” as though this was really Prodigy’s project all along. Boogie’s verse is fine, if generic: his genial shit-talking, which only barely mentions the Queensbridge projects the track was ostensibly named after, doesn’t break any new ground, while P is fully on automatic pilot, making the only explicit reference to weed of the entire track while making sure to recite the name of his album partner out loud, just like any good label boss would. B and P also manage to separately rhyme the words “bunny” with “money”, both men unsurprisingly bringing up the late Hugh Hefner while doing so. The Drew Skillz instrumental was too dramatic to be the first track on what its own title thinks of as a stoner rap album, but otherwise it was pleasant enough. To his credit, Prodigy doesn’t outshine his younger charge, although it doesn’t sound as much a conscious decision on his part as it does an incredible sense of apathy. But Boogz fails to impress on this opening salvo.

Plays as though Cerllblock P woke up that morning wanting to record his own take on a Rick Ross song. The final product, the Drew Skillz-produced “Next Level”, certainly hits all of the same beats, anyway (money, women, throwing money at women, throwing women at money), but while it may not quite qualify as yacht rap, it definitely deserves to be broadcast from a garbage barge. Boogz is the guy we know very little about here, so his sudden shift from street tales to materialistic piffle won’t even register on your radar – you’ll just note that he still sounds okay, if a bit boring and uninteresting. Everything he parrots on “Next Level” has been said before, and much better to boot, but everyone has to start somewhere. Prodigy, however, is a revelation, as he’s horribly out of his element and sounds fucking awful, a conclusion I had drawn long before he resorted to saying, “pop that pussy”. The beat booms in all of the wrong ways, and the hook is about twelve minutes too long. There’s a reason nobody was really clamoring for a Rick Ross/Prodigy collaboration. Sigh. The Alchemist must be spinning in his grave right now.

The instrumental for “Money & Power”, credited to Outkast 2 Da Game (yeah, you got me), is a no from me, but I appreciated how the producer (or team?) felt confident enough to let the beat build throughout the track: it provided a level of creativity the song didn’t otherwise deserve. Our duo is back on their street shit, with Prodigy threatening to murder his foes in broad daylight while shouting out Mobb Deep (I’m sure Havoc was delighted to be indirectly dragged into this debacle) and Boogie Boogz using up all of the clichés and pop cultural references they could find (“They know that I’m the shit, these n----s constipated”; “Back to the future up in the Delorean”). The hook is bizarre as well: obviously, respect is just as revered as “Money & Power” by our hosts, but not enough to appear in the song’s title, and they seem less committed to the abstract concepts of “bitches” and “shine”, alternating their focus just to hit the rhyme. Did Prodigy owe somebody money or something? I can’t fathom why he would share a full album with one of his artists just to help promote him, as opposed to simply giving him a couple of tossed-off cameo credits. Weird.

Aggravating, but in kind of a hilarious way? The hook, provided by an unidentified vocalist, implies that “Pass Me” is supposed to be about our hosts looking for love, not wanting it to pass them by, as it were, but our hosts never read that text, as Boogz spends his screen time lusting after one woman until he successfully gets her into bed, after which he runs as quickly as his little legs will take him, limbs flailing about like an excited Muppet, to the next one-night stand, while Cellblock P doesn’t even bother adhering to any theme at all, choosing instead to unload an empty stanza steeped in Great Value street rhymes just so he can finally tear that one page out of his rhyme notebook. Prodigy, in particular, is a textbook study of an artist not giving enough fucks to even try to read the room. But you may be okay with that shit, I don’t know you. Drew Skillz provides an instrumental that was okay, I guess, but not so much so that you should trip over yourselves just to click on the ‘play’ button.

5. 40 OZ.
The following is a list of things Prodigy claims to have “never” done during his verse on “40 Oz.”:
                1) “Really went out of town.”
                2) “Took a break.”
                3) “Did the vacay.”
                4) “Gave a god damn.”
                5) “Did give a fuck.”
The mere fact that this is what I’m choosing to focus on (well, this, and the fact that he attributes the Wu-Tang Clan song “Black Shampoo” to Ghostface Killah when it’s essentially a U-God solo effort) should tell you how meh his performance truly was. With the bar lowered, Snoop Boogy Boog easily sounds decent enough to carry the track, seemingly crafted for a Devin the Dude-esque stoner but hey, fuck it, let’s give it to that Mobb Deep guy and his friend instead, same difference?, even with problematic lines such as, “If life is a bitch, I’ma kill her like O.J.” The chorus (provided by another uncredited artist, as far as I can tell) is far too smooth (if not exactly “good”) for the material it’s been paired up with, as well.

6. P.I.M.P.
Undeterred by the fact that his friend (and former label boss), professional troll Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, not just already had a song called “P.I.M.P.” in his catalog, but a motherfucking hit single named “P.I.M.P.” at that, Prodigy and Chloe Grace Boogetz try their luck at the predictable subject matter, and as to be expected, the lyrics revolve around the not-stoner-esque-at-all actions of pimping, with the financial transactions and general disdain of women that the occupation entails. Zam’s instrumental isn’t good, but it still deserved better, as now his handiwork is the underlying music for the narrative that Cellblock P’s writing was falling off the deep end for the second time in his lengthy career. He sounds terrible, is what I’m saying, and partner Boogetti-O’s doesn’t exactly manage to one-up him in any fashion (“Put that paper in my pocket ‘cause I’m pimping all these hos / Yeah, n---a, I’m that paid” is an actual line taken from this travesty). What has hip hop ever done to deserve this?

Ah yes, it wouldn’t be a proper New York street rap album without multiple references to Brian De Palma’s Scarface. These guys know how that movie ends, right? I can’t imagine they would have only watched the first third of Requiem For a Dream and thought, “Heroin sounds fucking amazing!” Regardless, Prodigy and “Bughetti” by Ace Hood seem to have taken the wrong lessons away from what is truly an overrated flick with a pretty fucking racist Al Pacino performance when you sit down and really think about it. Cellblock P is no stranger to either street rap or lifting directly from the movie itself (see: Havoc’s Giorgio Moroder score-sampling instrumental for Mobb Deep’s “It’s Mine”), so he’s fully in his element here, but the element isn’t in him, so his verse is eye roll-inducing. Booger from Revenge of the Nerds, with zero expectations to live up to, fares better, but only because there his other option, “choosing not to rap over J.C. Syn’s beat”, wouldn’t have earned him any money. Prodigy raps as though he doesn’t care if he moves any units of Young Rollin Stonerz, which is nice and all, but cannot be good from a business perspective.

I also found it strange that an album entitled Young Rollin Stonerz waits until the eighth track before presenting the listener with a weed song, don’t worry. I mean, it’s sort of a weed song, anyway: Cellblock P, whom we all think of as hip hop’s analogue to Willie Nelson or Matthew McConaughey, obviously, only brings up the sticky icky in reference to his homegirl, who “smoke[s] all of [his] drugs” when he’s trying to smash. P dips out of the League of Starz production shortly afterward, leaving the remainder of “Clouds” to A$AP Boogz and what is possibly an anonymous, unnamed guest rapper, but we’ll never know, since attributing credit is beyond what Prodigy and Infamous Records stands for? Anyway, he does a better job with the theme, by which I of course mean he actually adheres to it. In a way, this could have been much worse. But in a more accurate way, it still isn’t worth the time.

This title track sets out to describe just how good the lives of our hosts must be if they can afford to fuck around and “wake up every morning with a hangover” (as Boogetaboutit puts it during his verse), glamorizing drug use as expected given the song’s name, but then Cellblock P fucks it all up by boasting about having sex with a young woman with “that clean, sober dick”, which betrays everything this track and, nay, this album stands for. But perhaps “Young Rollin Stonerz” was disrupted by its confusing chorus, seemingly performed by seventeen different artists (although P and B are the only two who receive credit, naturally). If he truly wakes up every morning feeling like shit as he claims, he’s partying the wrong way, but he sounded fine over this smoother-than-expected King Tut instrumental. It’s just that Prodigy didn’t.

Not sure what audience “Ain’t Real” was recorded for  ̶  surely not Mobb Deep fanatics, as guest KC da Beatmonster’s instrumental is more likely to chase away folks that grew up with The Infamous and insist upon Prodigy performances that sound, at a minimum, comprehensible. That isn’t what happens here, you two: Cellblock P is fucking godawful on “Ain’t Real”, not even bothering to rhyme for his first four bars. This was the aural equivalent of P shrugging shoulders and giving you a apathetic smirk. The Boogzeyman is the only dude present that manages not to make an ass out of himself, although he doesn’t have to try all that hard. The guest wears out his welcome very quickly, his verse being the first you hear on the song as he launches into a stanza and a lengthy hook that aren’t decent enough to deserve any spotlight.

It’s kind of late for Young Rollin Stonerz to suddenly become good, so “Motion Picture” merely closes the book on what is an overall meh experience. J.C. Syn’s instrumental tries its damnedest, to be fair: you can hear every penny of the seventy-two dollars and eighteen cents it must have cost to put together. Neither Prodigy nor I said a hip, hop, they hippy, the hippy to the hip hop hop and you don't stop the rock it to the bang bang boogie said up jump the Boogie to the rhythm to the Boogety Boogz sound fully comfortable with the “my life is a movie” narrative, grasping at clichés instead of actually describing why their day-to-day mirrors the excitement one generally finds in a “Motion Picture”, and I have to say, they aren’t convincing in the least fucking bit. Cellblock P, who clearly didn’t give a shit during any of his performances on here, puts in zero effort to promote his artist, his label, or himself, and Boogzie Segal won’t see his career go much further as a result. At least the song just ends instead of leading into a useless outro: the restraint shown is refreshing.

THE LAST WORD: I think it’s fair to assume that you two weren’t expecting much from Young Rollin Stonerz after those introductory paragraphs. If you were excited by the prospect of seeing Prodigy in a new light, specifically the flicker of the lighter as it roasted the end of a blunt, well, I’d say I don’t know what to tell you, but I’ve been doing this hip hop review stuff for a while now, so you’re just being deliberately obtuse now, you dummy. Boogz Boogetz, whose showcase this album ostensibly was, doesn’t manage to prove that he warrants any more of the listener’s attention: he sounds alright, but he doesn’t stand out in our overcrowded chosen genre, where anyone with a smartphone and access to the Interweb can try to be a rapper. Perhaps with better production he may have had a fair shot, but that isn’t how life works. Cellblock P, obviously the most prolific stoner in all of hip hop, phoned in every single damn one of his performances here, probably literally, as there was very little effort put into any of his verses. Granted, he was trying to launch Boogz as a viable artist, but he could have just executive-produced the man’s debut album and called in some production favors: by choosing to co-star with the man (or, more accurately, becoming the star attraction and bringing Boogie along for the ride), he opened himself up to criticism, and even though he admitted upfront that he wasn’t taking this album very seriously, lyric-wise, that doesn’t excuse his bland-ass, lazy performances. Young Rollin Stonerz suuuuucccckkkkkksssssss.


There’s more to the Prodigy story, or course. You can follow it by clicking here.


  1. Albert Einstein, this sure wasn't. The spins on that other featured rapper in this review are fucking hilarious, though! Especially, Chloe Grace Boogetz. I genuinely laughed out loud!

  2. don't call me a liar, i knew this album existe.

  3. also "Chloe Grace Boogetz" lmao

  4. Dude I love this page. Been reading your shit for years. You funny writer, love the reviews. Can I get your email, I'd like to send you something