The return of Lil Boosie — and what to expect when your favorite rapper comes home from prison

After nearly five years in prison, one of the most riveting voices in rap music is headed home.

Fans of Lil Boosie rejoiced on social media Wednesday night over news that the Baton Rouge native had been released from Louisiana State Penitentiary after entering the prison system in 2009 on a third-offense marijuana charge.

New music on the way? Lil Boosie shared this image on Instagram two weeks ago.

But aside from a press conference Atlantic Records has reportedly scheduled for March 10, what should Boosie’s fans expect next?

Let’s go back to a sad 18-day stretch in March of 2011 when four of the most exciting rappers alive were all serving time in American correctional facilities: Boosie, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and T.I. Their sentences each generated huge bursts of publicity, but their respective futures looked blurry. In the long run, how would prison affect each rapper’s creativity, popularity and livelihood? (A 2011 Washington Post story tried to suss out some answers.)

At the time, Boosie’s manager Courtney Scott said the forecast didn’t look good. “[Boosie] toured four to five days out of the week,” Scott told the Post in 2011. “That’s where it impacts his family the most.” Scott also noted that Boosie’s latest album had sold poorly because “he wasn’t there to actually promote the album himself.”

Since completing their respective sentences, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and T.I. have all experienced their ups and downs — creatively, commercially and personally. But the downs clearly outnumber the ups. Few rap fans would argue that these guys emerged from prison with their careers in better shape.

But Boosie’s fate could be be different. After appearing on the 2007 summer hit “Wipe Me Down,” his profile was still on the up and up in 2009. And since then, his pinched, sneering vocal delivery has become a significant influence on rap’s most intriguing rookie voices, including Young Thug and Washington’s own Shy Glizzy.

On Wednesday night, Glizzy joined the social media celebration, expressing his feelings as a fan and an acolyte: “Welcome back!

Chris Richards became the Post's pop music critic in 2009. He has covered D.I.Y. house shows, White House concerts, go-go and Gaga.
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