Outkast’s Big Boi releases star-studded solo debut

Mark Lopez

In 2007, Big Boi announced that he would finally release a solo album under his own name. While he recorded Speakerboxxx as a solo album, it was released under the Outkast moniker, which only further solidified his place in the rap duo. However, Big Boi has finally released something that is groovy as it is raw with his new album, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty.

When the announcement was made that a new album was in the works, Big Boi released a few tracks to give listeners a taste of what it would entail. He posted the songs “Shutterbugg,” “Fo Yo Sorrows” and “Shine Blockas.” Having listened to these tracks, one could assume that while his record touched on various hip-hop aesthetics, he was venturing into some old-school territory. “Fo Yo Sorrows” echoes Big Boi’s early ’90s philosophy that in a time of sorrow, lighting up is always a good way to calm the nerves.

What is also endearing about the album is that while Big Boi is extremely ambitious and calculated in his decisions, he also knows his limits. Almost every song on the album has a guest rapper or vocalist including Gucci Mane, Cutty, Jamie Foxx and Janelle Monáe. While it may seem overwhelming that Big Boi’s album has so many guest artists, they each contribute something organic within the songs. On the song “Be Still,” Monáe’s vocals deliver a groovier feel, adding a lullaby effect that blissfully contrasts to Big Boi’s rhymes. The song has the potential to become a fan favorite.

Another standout track on the album is “You Ain’t No DJ,” featuring Yelawolf and produced by André 3000. The beat is banging and the production is slick, with Big Boi’s rhymes happening so fast and effortlessly it’s almost as if he is reciting a poetic manifesto. It’s one of the best tracks on the album.

Big Boi has delivered something that is refreshing, hip and, at times, even heartfelt. The only downside is the speaking samples in between the tracks get old and monotonous after a while. Other than that, it’s a fantastic listen.