As a card carrying member of the South, certain aspects and behaviors are almost ingrained in you. For example, codeine ("that drank" or "syrup" for those who are unaware of it) is a part of the culture despite its dubious history and the lives it has claimed is pure Southern. The same can be said for Confederate flags, certain cuisine, and likewise vernacular. We say y'all pretty heavily and we love cornbread a bit more than most do. It's our heritage and we wear it proudly despite being called country.
In the same way we Southerners are mesmerized by our Southern hip-hop. We cannot help it that we breathe in our artists more frequently than any other region. My Texas born brethren hold a place in their heart for Swishahouse, chopped and screwed, and the legendary UGK.
Tennessee is the home of 3 6 Mafia and Young Buck. They are loved accordingly.
Louisiana, the home of Soulja Slim, Juvenile, and Lil' Wayne.
Mississippi gives us David Banner and Big K.R.I.T.
Alabama is Yelawolf and let's not forget Florida with Rick Ross, 2 Live Crew, and Trick Daddy to name a few.
I could take the time to name every state in the South and every artist but we speak now of a state that is dearest to me personally-Georgia. Of all the artists past and present, I call attention to one duo and within that duo, one man.
OutKast is the duo. Big Boi is the artist.
If you follow hip-hop, you know that OutKast hasn't done an album in quite a while. This is owing mostly to contract disputes and André 3000 stretching out his legs creativity speaking. He does commercials, movies, and the occasional verse that catches us off guard. Hearing it makes us just want more.
Meanwhile, Big Boi is still making good music along with acting and other things. His debut solo effort (Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son Of Chico Dusty) was amazing. In that same vein, his second solo album Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumors is quite excellent in its own right.
Every song here deserves a blurb but in the interest of both time and your attention span I will give you my top five in order.
1. "CPU"-This would have to be my favorite track on Big Boi's sophomore effort. "CPU" as a track is bombastic and rhythmic in that way that makes your head nod just right. It features a group called Phantogram. I have no prior experience with them but having met their melodic sounds on the hook alongside Big Boi's amazing flow is wonderful. A interesting part of this track is the breakdown. It slows down and Phantogram goes in, bringing the beat back perfectly.
2. "The Thickets"-This one feels like classic OutKast if I were being completely honest. Maybe it's the sound of Sleepy Brown and that Organized Noise heavy influence. Or it could be how the song seems like a missing track from the Aquemeni or ATLiens days. Whichever it is, I am sonically thankful for it.
3. "Mama Told Me"-Kelly Rowland comes together with Big Boi on this one. To me it sounds something like digital pop for the most part. This is a misconception once the rhymes start flying. Kelly Rowland is a perfect counterpoint with the hook. Something in her voice balances the track well. It's one of those songs that makes to dance a bit. As I write this, I am fighting (and failing) the urge to boogie down.
4. "Thom Pettie"-Little Dragon and perpetual collaborator (for both OutKast AND Big Boi) Killer Mike. The refrain of "Thom Pettie that ho..." is catchy, whether you have sympathy for that particular ho or not. I am suddenly struck by how much this reminds me of chopped and screwed cut. Killer Mike is a vicious rhymer as always and Little Dragon does amazing things alongside these two Atlanta residers.
5. "In The A"-This is absolutely Atlanta. I felt it once I heard T.I., Ludacris, and Big Boi together. It plays like a college band's (probably an HBCU) marching band hungry for a battle. T.I. as always is a presence on the track with his diction and those typical proclamations of "It's the King!!!" and well placed laughter. Big Boi comes in with that flow that you might recognize from "B.O.B.". We end with that animated delivery of Ludacris, a welcome addition to this Georgia born playground. Amazing, really.
This album, as with anything he does, give me a strong feeling that if we never get another OutKast album, the Big Boi hit machine is unstoppable.
Lucius Black for Royalty Magazine
Lucius Black for Royalty Magazine