The illustrious days of Outkast may be long gone, but former member Big Boi is still cranking out solo records that will fill the Outkast shapes void in your life. His debut effort dropped in 2010, the second in 2012 and now in 2017 we receive his third – BOOMIVERSE.
The Atlanta hip-hop scene is one of the most legendary in the world, and nobody embodies the sound of an entire city quite like Big Boi can. His signature Georgia drawl is what the BOOMIVERSE revolves around, bringing the nostalgic sounds from the 90s right into 2017. With it’s No Scrubs strings, Da Next Day is an equally savage attack on “yo riff raft ass” indicating that one should probably not mess with Big Boi or his impressive list of collaborators.
The oriental intro to Kill Jill is drawn out a little too long, but when Killer Mike from Run The Jewels drops his grandiose first verse – such critiques can almost be overlooked. Rappers are often thought of as standalone entities, but in the Big Boi BOOMIVERSE there is space for everyone. Rather than dilute the talent of the record’s main star, guests are sprinkled in for extra flare and fireworks, amongst them Snoop Dogg and Gucci Mane.
In The South is deep south through and through, it’s unashamedly East coast. The newly unofficial anthem of Atlanta, Gucci Mane, Pimp C and Big Boi go back to back with flow so sharp you’ll have to watch where it jabs you. All Night takes us further Louisiana way by means of its piano led melody, Big Boi is taking us on a state to state tour of his influences at break neck speed.
The Snoop Dogg featuring Get Wit It builds a bridge right back to Big Boi’s first solo single Shutterbugg, which took over the airwaves for anyone in the mood to party. It’s not quite as strong as the Shutterbugg era of Big Boi, but is a natural progression for such esteemed hip-hop royalty to be making at this stage in his career.
Killer Mike is back on tag team duty for Made Man, a rapid fire assault on the senses that could give king Kendrick a run for his money. Malcolm X is name checked amidst lines about protest and a key message of “don’t mess with us or you will deeply regret it”. The swagged out attitude of Big Boi shines through in abundance, it’s a level of being cocky that comes from hard work and legwork put in, as opposed to assumed entitlement.
The sweet sax of Freakanomics paves the way for a key highlight from the BOOMIVERSE. This tune has major potential, not that this is something Big Boi is too concerned with. He makes music because it’s fun for him, rather than for his listeners – thankfully though, BOOMIVERSE is able to entertain both artist and listener in harmony. Follow Deez is maxed out on chilled out aggression, with Curren$y taking centre stage. Take away the beats, and what you’re left with is lines that flow like poetry at the highest level.
Time was, hip-hop was seen as a criminal deviant, but in 2017 there is finally respect for it as a legitimate genre. Even with lyrics covering drugs, guns and gang wars, there can be no denying the poetic quality of Big Boi and his cohort of collaborators. BOOMIVERSE may not live up to the all out party set out on his first record, but it’s more than good enough to keep the Atlanta hip-hop scene thriving for decades to come.