Bugsy H., the path in the search of the sanctuary

Bugsy H., the path in the search of the sanctuary

While Sabato weighed down by his dark and dull atmosphere with a disturbing heaviness, Bugsy H. makes a 90 degree turn with his new album. But the rapper comes back perfectly, aware of his qualities, he knows how to lean on them, both by varying his approach and while keeping his trademark.

His album Sabato had already surprised us by its side raw in a terrifying and icy atmosphere. Where Sabato was in the mastery of the words offering a beautiful dramaturgy, Sanctuary is more personal and more focused on the emotion. Bugsy H. shows us new qualities, the drama and the horrorecore were already proven. But the Boston rapper also knows how to be more personal, softer, more emotional, in a way more joyful too.

While Bugsy H. slightly deviates from Mosaic Rap where the art of wordplay is at the service of reflection and thought, this time the Boston rapper, also known as the 88.9 pharmacist, returns to use words to bring emotion and feelings in a journey towards peace. The history of the 88.9 pharmacist nickname is amusing.

Bugsy H.

I’ve been asked a lot about where that alias comes from. When I was a kid WERS 88.9 FM radio was one of the biggest and most respected underground hip hop shows in the city. Remembered waiting around all day to hear Masta Ace come up there and rap. It was on my same street going up just further into downtown. Anyways at the time I recorded my very first single called Nobody which featured Yung Azmar, (now known as Aston Martin Piff) I walked past the station one day and saw a girl at the front desk who I used to talk to. I persuaded her to give the CD to her boyfriend who was a VJ there at the station. Later that week I’m at Kage’s house (RIP) listening to the station how we did most weekends and all of a sudden the record comes on. Kage and I jumped up in joy felt like we made it. He jokingly said, “you’re like the 88.9 Pharmacist man, you giving these people what they want!” I kind of just took that quote and ran with it!

The title of the album is anything but innocuous. Bugsy H. presents us his sanctuary, his refuge. But the Boston rapper also wants to encourage and help us find our own sanctuary. He presents us his vision, his past, his life, but he doesn’t pretend to think that this sanctuary is an ideal to be followed by and for everyone. By presenting his sanctuary to us, he wants to help us build and find our own. Finally, a very beautiful message full of wisdom that demonstrates all the versality of Bugsy H..

Bugsy H.

Me and a brother Tony Freeman teamed up for this. I created the image he brought it to life! The deer with his laser on his head are US! The true preservers of hip hop. It also means peace the deer represents peace and the laser is all the negative things trying to kill it. It means a lot and I’m very proud of this cover I don’t know what PETA would think (ha ha)

If the title of the album is not innocuous, the cover, that he imagined himself with Tony Freeman, is not either. I admit that I was challenged and had some difficulties in interpreting it, especially considering the theme, the vibe and the musicality of the album. In his search for peace, which he tries to reach through his sanctuary, the deer is his representation. An innocent and peaceful animal, which seeks neither to harm, nor to oppose, nor to elevate itself. This innocence is also felt in the writing of the lyrics. Bugsy H. offers his point of view in a liberated way, unlike Sabato who was much more aware. However, the cruelty of this world can get in the way of this search for peace and calm, the destruction of innocence is represented by the laser, which opposes force and the search for power with childish innocence and naive happiness. It can also be seen as a metaphor for the passage from child to adult. A true reflection, almost nihilistic, that pushes us to question the world around us.

Bugsy H.

I wouldn’t say it’s particular more joyful it’s definitely more innocent. I tried to write in the perspective of 16 year old Bugsy on Math Line Records still looking to sign a record contract, and mesh with the Bugsy now expressing the joys of those two worlds.

I wanted to step away from the mosaic rap/unorthodox methods I’ve surfaced previously. These songs had more to do with structure, obedience the things I was/am installing in my son.

The birth of his son during an oppressive period, the pandemic, has definitely pushed the rapper in this search for peace, his sanctuary, avoiding everything that can disturb this tranquility. As if he was looking to protect his son from the cruelty of the world around us. An album that he himself wanted to be much more personal, and that finally ends up being also a much more peaceful album.

Very strongly inspired by Fatlip of Pharcyde, the album abandons itself in a Jazzy melancholy, with beats as calm as researched. Mindframe’s production cradles us like a child in a cradle, representing this calm and peaceful sanctuary. Yet the back and forth movement of the cradle takes us into darker, more hardcore moments, like a perpetual back and forth between this peaceful place and the cruelty of the world that always fatally catches up with us. The execution of Mindframe is perfect with an ingenious sample selection that perfectly reflects the desired atmosphere of each track, with back and forth between happy, calm, melancholic, nostalgic tracks like on Hartcourt & Botolph, and, on the contrary, more hardcore, oppressive, threatening tracks like on Stay Dangerous. The sequencing of the album is perfectly calculated and executed to accompany the rapper in his thoughts. The sequence of the tracks is not left to chance and shows all the artistic research of the rapper/producer duo, Bugsy H. and Mindframe, for a mastered conceptual album.

The Jazz atmosphere represents fatherhood for the rapper, while the innocent lyrics represent childhood. A perfect duality that allows for a very interesting contrast but that blends perfectly. The combination of wisdom and innocence, the protection of innocence, the guide to peace in the search for sanctuary. Bugsy H.’s execution is as impressive as ever, dictating his subtle rhymes with his raw and commanding flow. The Boston rapper’s confident and authoritative posture refers to this fatherhood while the innocence of the lyrics once again refers to childhood.

Accompanied by his companions, his mentor Sephen Route, the veteran M-Dot or his brother S18 to name a few, Bugsy H. has strongly surrounded himself for this album. Isn’t it paradoxical for a personal album? One could think so, but in reality the search for peace and its sanctuary does not have to be done alone, it can be a path that is walked accompanied, taking into account the advice of his loved ones and being inspired by their visions. The guests bring an interesting alternative and all have an important place in this journey. A journey that is made of ups and downs. His friends have a special importance for the rapper and this trip could definitely not be done alone.

Bugsy H.

The interlude titled, GET DOWN FROM THERE, was actually me telling him to get down from there. But the next song SKI LIFT something we get down from and go back up is a representation of Fatlip, M-Dot and myself. The ups and downs of our personal journeys in our lives;

Bugsy H.

I would say definitely Stephen Route and M-Dot. Stephen Route is my mentor so having him on Harcourt & Botolph meant a lot. That song was paying homage to that time when we were kids writing and recording stepping in to this world and finding ourselves. Kind of like Stand by me. M-Dot was a huge inspiration as well, we’ve been building for awhile now and really am honored on how humble he’s been! Dudes running around doing world tours, got songs with Conway, Kool G Rap, Pete Rock and acts like it’s nothing, (Ha ha) I love those brothers! More to come

Bugsy H. has seized upon a dualistic concept, innocence versus brutality in a personal search for the path that leads to his own sanctuary, a peaceful place of one’s own.

Find Bugsy H. on the social media

By Grégoire Zasa

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