When all is said and done, Big Boi will go down as one of the most underrated MCs of all time. As part of Outkast, Big Boi's verses have consistently delivered on a high level, usually on par with the best rappers in the game. The problem is he's often overlooked in light of Andre 3k, his flashier, more dynamic better half. But Big Boi's flow is sharp, concentrated, and at times possessed, spazzing out brilliance with gifted, laidback ease. On Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty
, Big Boi navigates through funky, booming and otherworldly beats not so different from the majority of his Outkast resume, and is closely in line with 2003's Grammy award winning Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
. The difference here isn't merely that the spotlight isn't shared — quite the contrary — but rather the fact that, for the first time in a long time, he demands it shine on him.
On Sir Lucious Leftfoot
(one of Big Boi's self-given monikers, and a character he raps through), Big Boi employs some of today's strongest talent: Janelle Monae, B.oB., Gucci Mane, and T.I., to name a few. A track with Andre 3k didn't make it onto the album due to a label dispute, which is unfortunate. ("Royal Flush" was released last year as a teaser, but also didn't make it onto the album's final version. It was easily among the year's best.)
The beats cover a fair amount of abstract territory, from jazzy ("Turn me On"), to spacey 8-bit ("Fo Yo Sorrows"), to massive dirty south throwbacks ("General Patton"). "Shutterbug," the first single, features Big Boi over a distinct, addictive melody custom tailored only for him. His swag is dialed up a notch, as he raps with a careful, self-aggrandizing cadence: "I'm shittin on n*ggas / and peeing on the seat / it's the n*gga B.I.G. / B.O.I. / O.U.T."
On "Night Night" with B.o.B., about midway through, Big Boi's Sir Lucious
alter-ego makes himself most clear as he spits, "I don't think I even need to hitch on another verse / but I think I just might because I like to destroy shit." It's quite a departure from the spotlight sharing Big Boi we've all become accustomed to, but here — rapping through Sir Lucious as a vessel — that sense of entitlement (that too many new rappers demand but don't deserve) is a well earned, refreshing thing. chris gayomali
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MP3: "Shutterbugg (Ft. Cutty)"
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