Lil Boosie wrote 1,000+ songs in prison

Riding a wave of publicity after his long-awaited release from state prison, Baton Rouge rapper Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch announced plans for a new album Monday, saying he had written more than 1,000 tracks while serving more than four years behind bars — including one song he said he wrote with Justin Bieber in mind.

Hatch, a nationally acclaimed artist who has referred to himself as “the John Gotti of the South Side” and who was accused of murder-for-hire in the Capital City, said his 52 months in state prison made him a “better person” and would inspire future recordings of his hard Southern rap.

Speaking publicly for the first time since he was paroled Wednesday night from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, Hatch was welcomed with great fanfare by a roomful of supporters and family members who joined a throng of reporters at the W Hotel in New Orleans.

While prosecutors have said no additional criminal charges are hanging over his head, Hatch must adhere to the terms of his supervised probation for up to four years if he wants to remain a free man, beginning with a status hearing he is scheduled to attend Thursday in 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge.

“The court will hopefully identify with the circumstances of his career and give him the opportunity and the leniency that he needs,” attorney Roy Maughan said, alluding to Hatch’s desire to begin touring as soon as the end of this month.

Likening his newfound freedom to a good dream, Hatch, 31, said the rap game appears “wide open” for him to reclaim his prominence, adding the music he’s heard on the radio the past few days is different from his sound.

Itching to return to the rap scene, Hatch has his sights set squarely on his new record — he wrote an average of close to 20 songs a month behind bars, by his reckoning — as well as performing older tracks that came out before he traded in the recording studio for a prison cell.

“You can’t expect someone to come home and not feed his family,” Hatch said during a carefully orchestrated news conference. Wearing sunglasses and gaudy jewelry, he sat atop a gold-colored throne on a stage.

Hatch — who once appeared to threaten East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III in a song, calling the prosecutor racist and saying he would “probably be dead when I come out of jail” — did not address his legal troubles nor the 2012 murder trial that ended in his acquittal. Reporters’ questions were carefully screened before the journalists were allowed to ask them.

Instead, Hatch used the limelight to promote his future recording aspirations and to thank his family — he has seven children — and supporters for their patience while he was locked up.

Hatch, who began making rhymes at the age of 8, has said he was inspired to rap by Tupac Shakur, a revered rapper who was shot to death in 1996.

He was a well-established artist before his criminal problems began in earnest, with his major-label debut “Bad Azz” appearing in 2006.

During Hatch’s hiatus from the music industry, the length of his rap sheet has grown to nearly rival the list of his greatest hits. He was in prison by the time his aptly named fifth studio album “Incarcerated” was released, having pleaded guilty in 2009 to third-offense marijuana possession. He was expected to serve about a year for that conviction but was sentenced to additional time after he failed to abide by certain requirements under his plea deal.

In 2010, a grand jury indicted Hatch on a first-degree murder charge in the October 2009 slaying of Terry Boyd, a 35-year-old man who was shot through a window inside his Vermillion Drive home. Hatch had been accused of paying Michael “Marlo Mike’’ Louding to kill Boyd. Louding, 19, told investigators Hatch had paid him $2,800 to kill Boyd, but he later recanted in sworn testimony.

“We got the rug pulled out from under us the day before trial by a witness who had been cooperating for two years,” Moore told The Advocate last year.

An anonymous jury found Hatch not guilty after a highly publicized trial in 2012. Louding, who was later convicted in the killing and sentenced to life in prison, had faced four other murder charges in a string of fatal shootings, but prosecutors dropped those charges in light of his life sentence. Prosecutors have claimed Hatch ordered at least two other “hits,” but Moore said last week his office doesn’t have any plans to bring additional charges against him.

Even after his high-profile acquittal, Hatch was not immediately released from prison because he had pleaded guilty in 2011 to other drug-related counts after he conspired to smuggle codeine, marijuana, ecstasy and other contraband into Dixon Correctional Institute and the Louisiana State Penitentiary. His projected release date had been set for May, but he became eligible for release last week after completing a self-help program.

In an interview with The Advocate after Monday’s news conference, Hatch said he still loves Baton Rouge but will no longer call it home, though he has yet to decide where he’ll resettle. He said he endured a lot during his years behind bars, but added that his fans will have to wait for his next album to hear more about that chapter in his life.

“I really got a lot of stories to tell about my life and what my family went through,” he told an audience that included his mother, Connie Hatch. “That just made me a stronger person who knows I can’t be slipping,” he added. “I gotta do right.”