Thursday, May 1, 2008

[225] B.R.’s Webbie Billboard’s Top 10

In the May 2008 issue of 225 Magazine (link)

At the time of this writing, a Baton Rouge artist is responsible for the No. 9 single and No. 4 album on the Billboard charts. Yet, if you are white or older than 16, you’ve probably never heard of him. His name is Webster Gradney, but he’s known internationally as Webbie. And the single “Independent” from his album Savage Life 2 is representing sides of Baton Rouge to the world that many of its own citizens choose to overlook.

Webbie was born in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood in 1985. When his mother, Jocelyn, died when he was 8, he started shuffling between his father and grandmother. He documents some of those frustrations in “You a Trip.” Webbie was already writing rhymes by then, seeing his own life in Baton Rouge’s mean streets reflected in gangsta rap’s raw images.

He teamed up with fellow Baton Rouge rapper Lil’ Boosie and appeared on Ghetto Stories and Ghetto Music. Two songs off the latter, “Swerve” and “Bad Bitch,” appeared on the multi-platinum Hustle & Flow soundtrack.

Webbie doesn’t try to sanitize his tough image on Savage Life 2. “Six 12s” and “Thuggin’” prove he’s still all about the streets.

You’ll like Webbie if you’re into Pimp C, Three 6 Mafia or knowing what’s really up in your own city.

The album’s essential tracks include “You a Trip” and “I Miss You.” But it’s the hit single “Independent” that adds depth, heaping praise on a woman for being strong and self-sufficient: “She got her own house, she got her own car, she works two jobs, she’s a bad broad.”

The song is about giving respect where it’s due. With Savage Life 2, Webbie’s getting his.

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