The South rises again with Big Boi’s third solo album
To the uninitiated, Outkast was a platform for André 3000 to show his skills as a lyricist and musician. André deserves the attention but without the eccentricity of his bandmate, Big Boi’s role in southern hip hop was just important. For his third album Boomiverse, Big Boi unites powerhouses of southern hip hop. Atlanta might be experiencing a Trap renaissance but that’s far from all the city has to offer. Bringing together features from the likes of Killer Mike, Gucci Mane and Sleepy Brown, the album is Georgia rap history in action. Nowhere is that clearer than on the track ‘In The South‘. Big Boi teams up with Gucci Mane and a posthumous verse from Pimp C.
When ‘Kill Jill‘ dropped it was clear that Boomiverse would stand out from the scene right now. There aren’t that many people who sound like Big Boi or Killer Mike and not many beats that sound like it. The song is dominated by the Aura Qualic sample that appears throughout. It’s a weird choice but one that brings a completely different dimension. Backed up by a steady 808 and bass combination, it becomes an unmistakeable Boi Boi track.
It’s not the only track on the album with that feeling. ‘Kill Jill’ is immediately followed by ‘Mic Jack’, a much more radio friendly entry than the rest of the album. That’s not a criticism by any means; the song features Adam Levine, Scar and Sleepy Brown on an electronic beat that sounds closer to Daft Punk than an Atlanta hip hop album but Big Boi and Sleepy keep the song on track. It’s not the only electronic influenced song on the album. ‘Chocolate’ turns a Troze feature into something that’s almost a house beat. It’s one of the more out there songs on Boomiverse but once again, Big Boi keeps it in line.
Big Boi loses no skill in an eclectic album
The move into the middle of the 12 tracks of Boomiverse sees Big Boi at his purest. ‘Order Of Operations’ is all unrestrained bars. The spaced out beat is lead by a reflective piano that matches Big Boi’s reflection on how much can go wrong in the early days of fame. ‘All Night’ changes the energy from ‘Order Of Operations’ slow beat to a high energy, jazz piano song. Bridging completely different tempos from one track’s piano to the next shows what made Big Boi so important in Outkast. He can move between beats, tempos and moods like nobody else.
Killer Mike features on three tracks and that old Atlanta spirit is felt throughout. Mike moves away from the Run The Jewels style he’s been killing for a while now and returns to Atlanta. ‘Made Man’ sees that at its hardest. Kurupt and Killer Mike joing Big Boi to go gangster without pulling any punches.
Listen to the full album above and let us know what you think in the comments. Head over to iTunes to pick up a copy.