Musicians are barely getting a slice of music industry revenue, largely eating off of live performances instead. For ‘Tour Tales,’ we dig into the rider requests, delayed shows, diligent preparation, and future of touring by talking with the multitude of people that move behind the scenes. Record executives, photographers, tour managers, artists, and more all break down what goes into touring and why it’s still so vital to the livelihood of your favorite artists. What happens on tour stays on ‘Tour Tales.’
Louis “Shaw” Givens, Boosie Badazz’s first cousin, has helped the rapper do everything from book shows to collect the bread. He’s also Boosie’s general manager who has epic stories of touring with the artist on the road.
“Man, we’ve seen a few fans who had his face tattoo on them. That’s why I mark him as a living legend. Most of the time, people get artwork of people when they aren’t here. To see that with a living person, I will just be like, ‘Damn, he’s a living legend,’” Givens said to REVOLT.
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” Givens explains how Boosie didn’t let an ankle monitor keep him from performing, partying with Marshawn Lynch after the Super Bowl, and memories of Boosie shows you can’t find on YouTube. Read below!
How did you and Boosie’s connection turn into you touring with him?
Boosie is my first cousin. When I was in high school, that’s when he first started touring. He would come to Florida and I would always go no matter where. It could be Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Gainesville, or wherever in Florida. Probably closer to 2004/2005, when he and Webbie were becoming national artists, was when I would go on the road. It would be spring break while I was in high school and I’d go on the road. He’d be grooming me for the job saying, “Get the money, count the money, hold the money, make sure my records being played right, go on stage and sell T-shirts.”
What was it like touring with Boosie back then?
They were crazy. He was getting paid about $2,500 a show and now he’s getting $40,000 – $50,000 a night. We would go on the road without GPS back then. Sometimes, we’d have to stop and ask for directions. The shows were crazy. He was up-and-coming, so he’d get a lot of love from the older artists like Trick Daddy, Scarface, and people like that. Around 2005/2006 I went to college in North Carolina, so I caught all the shows in North Carolina and spent all my school breaks in Louisiana. That’s when I really started to get on the road. I remember I didn’t go to college summer of 2007 and I got the official road management job where I was working for Trill Entertainment and Boosie at the same time. As road manager, I would go to every show and I’d book every show. He was going everywhere around the country in 2007.
What’s a pre-2009 show that really sticks out to you that we may not have footage of?
My first time going to Miami was when he had a show on South Beach for the Ozone Awards when they used to have Ozone Magazine with Julia. We had a crazy show down there. I think [Trillville] got into a fight the week before, so there was a lot of tension in the air. Plies and Rick Ross were bubbling back then. It’s great to see all the greats in the game now that were all on the stage back then.
Boosie went to prison for five years in 2009. What was the last show before he went in?
I think it was in Lafayette, Louisiana. He was on house arrest and wasn’t supposed to do any touring or traveling like that. But, he knew when he went back to court, they were going to keep him. The judge already said he wasn’t going to be able to stay out until the end of the year. He wanted to stay out until the top of the new year, turn himself in at the beginning of the new year, and then get back out the next year. When he turned himself in, he did one show in Lafayette. He cut his ankle bracelet off, went to the show anyway. He wasn’t going to miss out on the money.
Cutting an ankle bracelet to go perform is dedication. How much does Boosie love performing?
A lot of artists don’t like to perform. He loves it. It feeds his soul. When he performs in front of a crowd, it’s like when a basketball player does that. He loves to perform. He loves his live show. He’s been touring actively since 2003 and he takes pride in it. He looks at it like he’s a ballplayer. Every show he’s like, “I gotta rock this show. I have to feel the crowd.” He takes it very seriously.
Boosie has eight kids. How have you seen him balance fatherhood and touring?
He’s a great father and one of the best I know. He takes his kids everywhere with them. I don’t think they even like to go anymore. They used to love going to be on stage and performing. He has eight kids, so out of the eight kids, four of them are artists now and going to be bigger in the coming years. He’ll miss certain moments on the road, but he tries his best to get back for the main things. We’ve been on the road, probably every weekend, since 2014.
Over the last 15 years, what are parts of Lil Boosie’s show that have not changed?
He’s an older rapper, so he still performs. He doesn’t go up there just letting his music play and bobbing his head. He works the stage. We go to a lot of the small towns because we still do the club concerts and he’s a hustler who would work every day if he could. If you’ve been to a Boosie show, the feeling is overwhelming. Once you see him in concert is when you know he’s a real legend.
What was his first show after he got out of prison in 2014?
It was in Nashville [at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium] on April 11, 2014. Boosie was the headliner and Yo Gotti was on the bill too. I remember we met Lionel Richie in the lobby that day. He was in the same hotel we were in. He was in a wheelchair. People hadn’t seen Boosie in so long, we had people running on the side of the car when we were pulling out. It was about 12,000-14,000. It went crazy. He was excited.
What are some of the fan interactions on the road that really stick out to you over the years?
Man, we’ve seen a few fans who had his face tattoo on them. That’s why I mark him as a living legend. Most of the time, people get artwork of people when they aren’t here. To see that with a living person, I will just be like, “Damn, he’s a living legend.”
He’s definitely a well-respected artist. Explain to me how Marshawn Lynch and Boosie ended up on stage together at the club in 2016.
Oakland is a big market for Boosie. It’s probably top five. We have a few friends and associates who are part of Marshawn Lynch’s camp. He just reached out. There was a Super Bowl that year [in San Francisco] and he said, “I’m throwing this party. It’s last minute, but I want you to come perform for me.” We actually went to a Rick Ross performance the next night before in San Francisco. Then, the next day, on the day of the Super Bowl, we went out to the neighborhoods in East Oakland and there was so much love. There were probably 2,000 to 3,000 people in the streets just hanging out and talking with us. Then, that night we went and did the show with Marshawn. Marshawn was wild and had so much energy.
Boosie was on parole until 2018. How did that affect touring?
We were transitioning from Louisiana to Atlanta and kept having bump-ins with the parole officers. We couldn’t go to these shows or that show. For every show, we would have to get a card from an officer to state we were at that show and there were no incidents. It was crazy. God bless that he’s off the road and we can move freely. We would’ve had more shows if he wasn’t on parole. We could only book certain stuff and would have to let the parole officer know beforehand.
What are Boosie’s tour hits?
Of course, “Set It Off.” It depends on the market. Oakland has their favorites. Indianapolis has their favorites. He has a keen sense to know what to play.
What songs have you seen him pair with certain cities?
When we’re in Florida, we always play the song we have with Kodak Black [called “Slayed”]. When we’re in Baltimore, there’s something about those real heartfelt songs that get the crowd going. When we’re in Indianapolis, “Exciting” is one of the most popular songs because that’s a town that’s on the get money tip.
What’s your favorite show?
The Boosie Bash. We do it once a year. The world knows about New Orleans, but they don’t really get a chance to know about Baton Rouge like that. So, we try to show the world this is Baton Rouge. We throw that show every year to show them, “Hey, come down here. Eat some of the food. Get a feel of what the neighborhood is.” We tend to put all of the local acts on there to give them a big platform to perform on. I always look forward to it every year.
What has been on his rider over the years?
It’s always chicken wings. He’s a real drinker, so he doesn’t have a crazy rider full of Ace of Spades. He just has a little food and some drinks.
How has the pandemic affected Boosie’s live shows?
Well, they shut everything down. We weren’t able to do anything for three months. They considered a club with a kitchen and restaurant. So, once that opened up towards July/early August, we’d hit one club here and there. They weren’t able to pay what they could pay when everything was open because they were at 50% capacity. We’re picking up a lot more now that everything is starting to open back up. Yeah, we took a hit last year with COVID.
What’s coming up this year?
We’re booked out now until Memorial Day Weekend. We’re hitting most of the same markets we hit. Just looking at Florida, there are 10 cities that may book us a year. So, we’re just hitting all the hot spots and picking it back up.