The last seven years saw Thaiboy Digital, who was born Thanapat Boonleang, leaving behind his second home in Sweden, starting a family with his wife and losing his close friend Vattenrum. Cast against the backdrop of a global pandemic, a growing fanbase with cult-like intensity and the reverberating impact of the Swedish rap collective Drain Gang, both darkness and light have intensified in Thaiboy Digital’s life.
Back 2 Life, Thaiboy Digital’s third solo album, reveals him on the other side of his youthful hedonism and reckless abandon fully formed. Now a loving husband and doting father, Thaiboy Digital’s life remains as unruly as ever, but the focus has changed.
Back 2 Life is a manifestation of the miracles in everyday life. “I would do anything for you, to make you smile,” Thaiboy Digital croons on “Fate.” He adds his explosive LoeSoe-produced sound to small scenes of intimacy, claiming the love rejected on 2014’s “Yr so Beautiful.”
Back 2 Life is an exercise in mature reflection and a chance to share lessons learned with his ever-more-avid fanbase. With collaborations from LoeSoe (Lil Uzi Vert and Future), Outtatown (Playboi Carti and Kendrick Lamar) Rok, Seal and Drain Gang staples Mechatok, Lusi and Whitearmor, Thaiboy Digital is moving from outsider to industry staple. But of course, Back 2 Life brings with it friendly features from Yung Lean and Bladee.
The album drop comes alongside a boisterous display of brotherly love among Thaiboy’s inner circle and their devoted “Drainers” in a music video for “Mr. CEO,” which uses a first-person POV to document a performance outside of the Globe Theater in Los Angeles on the “High Hope Gravity League Infinite Free Fall No.9 In the Upper Realm” Drain Gang 2022 World Tour.
“Thaiboy Digital true love unconditional/ This life is a miracle,” he proclaims on Yung Lean-backed lead single “True Love.” No longer chasing after dreams, on Back 2 Life, Thaiboy Digital is living them. Still operating at breakneck speeds, he chooses to follow the light through the tunnel. And to share the stories that got him through it, he broke down the album track-by-track for PAPER.
This is one of the first songs I did for the album. I felt my mind was really clear for the first time in a long time. Talking about the path I’ve been on before, looking for something in life and stuff like that. But now it's clear to me what’s important in life and that everything I was looking for I already had with me since birth.
When LoeSoe sent me the piano melody, I started writing instantly. “Enter the night Dreamworld, Taught me how to heal." I’m a big dreamer both day and night. I also learn a lot in dreams, like how to heal my mind, my zen.
"Back 2 Life"
This song was the one that set the blueprint for the whole album for me. When I had to leave Sweden, it was a lot, and I didn’t even know where to begin. So I just left it, went cold, but I knew I wanted to express this feeling somehow and this song was really the start of that. Like what I was saying in Dreamworld, this song is about the love for my daughter, her life and our love for her is forever. Also how I look back, understand and accept the past, stepping into this new part of my life with light instead of darkness.
"All The Way"
Also one of the first songs we did. I remember sending it to Bladee and he sent it back on the same day. Lean heard it and went in crazy on it as well.
“Seven years I’ve been lost, I'm coming back like a boss." Seven years meaning that when I did these songs it had been seven years since I had left Sweden.
One day we started seeing this sign with the number 80 on our window every night for a week. It was during the pandemic, too. In Bangkok, we had curfews and stuff. But the way we kept seeing this sign, we started to look it up, along with angel number 80, which gave us good energy and motivation, like a blessing. Facing my own fears, I had to step up and come correct, you know. We went through the hard times, and in that time, we found a magical hope for us.
This song is like me fighting my own self — like Naruto fighting Kurama. Before, when shit would go down, I just went straight to the spaceship, you know. I don’t do that now. I choose life, choose to live.
Now that I’ve found my inner self, I want to share and give. I just wanted to make a song as a gift to give. “Golden wind flow match my emotion” is from JoJo, Giorno Giovanna.
This is a love note to my wife.
Unconditional love for my family. I feel like we're all the ones because we’re lucky to be alive.
One of the craziest songs on the album, we went all the way crazy on it.
“I was fucking up the balance so the darkness tip the scale” — on some Libra tip, always striving for the perfect balance.
"3 Star Reunite"
This song is a movie.
You already know what it is!
This song is like a summary of it all — produced by my brother Whitearmor.
Photos courtesy of Thaiboy Digital