11 December, 2012@1:43 am
Big Boi introduces himself on Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors as one half of Outkast, and while he and Andre 3000 have taken different creative paths, Big Boi’s solo work is proving he is more than capable of holding his own. This is technically his second solo effort, a follow-up to 2010’s Sir Lucious Left-Foot, but he was also almost entirely responsible for the Speakerboxxx half of Outkast’s two-disc album, the other half being Andre’s The Love Below.
In a year packed with dense, intelligent quality releases (see: Kendrick Lamar, Killer Mike, El-P), Big Boi delivers a rhythmically intricate, sometimes reflective, late-year release.
Early on, we get “Apple of My Eye,” surely one of the best tracks of the year, produced by an old Outkast friend, Mr. DJ, who also produced “Ms. Jackson” and was a DJ for the group. The song is a scrumptious mix of drums, horn blasts and a hypnotic chorus. The second verse effectively verbalizes the feel of the wonderfully energetic song: “Some say the preacher’s daughters are some of the freakiest ones/They been deprived of fun and now they just wanna cut loose/Like everybody else they wildin’ try to find they self.”
When Big Boi raps on the subsequent track, “Objectum Sexuality,” that he wants a “slice of her pie,” it reinforces the notion that these songs are part of a rich Southern meal with multiple dishes, sides and flavors. “Objectum Sexuality” switches seamlessly between electronic drums, violin solos and sampled voices. The end of “Lines” features a choppy piano and sped up tempo that enlivens an otherwise more straightforward track.
Vicious Lies also finds Big Boi a bit more introspective than on his previous solo work. “Shoes for Running” offers his rapid-fire take on the state of society: “What about the people that’s barefoot/With no shoes for running when the sun come up?/Hey one percenters, the 99 say what you gonna do for us?”
Kid Cudi adds to the table on “She Hates Me,” with his trademark depressive vocals guiding a song about a relationship gone wrong. “Tremendous Damage” is a lengthy reflection where he looks back on the recent death of his father: “February 28th, the day my daddy died/Well, not really, his energy passed to the other side/And ever since that day I’ve seen him fade away with my own eyes.”
There is some throwaway stuff here too, namely “Gossip” and “She Said Ok,” which deal in more banal territory. Although “In the A” is a step up from the typical posse cut with the all-Atlanta teaming of T.I. and Ludacris.
His music may not be quite as affecting or memorable as Andre 3000’s, but it’s packed with so many musical nuggets – unexpected combinations of beats and samples and transitions – it creates a kind of wall of sound that makes for a wealth of ear candy.
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