Rapper Big Boi’s promotional push for his second solo album, Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumors, rolled into Converse’s Rubber Tracks studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn this week where OutKast’s musically active half previewed selections for a gathering of media members. The Def Jam Records release is expected to include 14 songs (17 in the deluxe edition) and appearances by T.I., Ludacris, A$AP Rocky, Kid Cudi, Kelly Rowland, Little Dragon, and Phantogram.
In contrast to static listening sessions where the artist simply spins the recorded tracks, Daddy Fat Sax detoured from convention and performed three cuts live, as well. One of which, the easy-going ditty “Mama Told Me” was originally written by Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano, but - due to a label dispute between Dragon’s former imprint, Peacefrog Records, and it’s current, Universal Music - now features Kelly Rowland. Big Boi also rocked “CPU (Computer Screen),” a funky new age ode described by his in-house production team, The Flush as “OutKastic.” After hearing it live, it’s difficult to disagree. “CPU” would fit in lovely with the tail end of Aquemini.
Aside from the Phantogram and A$AP Rocky-assisted “Lines” that exploded across the internet last week, “In The A” and “She Hate Me” were easily the evening’s biggest crowd pleasers. The former unites Big Boi with fellow Atlanta Kings T.I. and Ludacris lyrically jousting over a raucous, deep trap banger with a hook reminiscent of Purple Ribbon’s 2005 chest-pounder, “Kryptonite.” The latter finds Big Boi reflecting on a relationship gone bad with Kid Cudi crooning the chorus. Both joints move in the spirit of vintage Dungeon Family, and frankly, both joints jam.
Since only seven songs were previewed in their entirety, not enough was revealed to venture to the heart of the Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumors motif. But Big Boi remains at an interesting career juncture. Depending on how 2003’s magnanimous Speakerboxx/The Love Below is viewed, Vicious Lies is reluctantly his third solo record. Even the 25-song soundtrack Idlewild, only has four songs featuring both Big and Dre, which makes 2000’s Stankonia the last true OutKast release. While Sylvester The Unskippable has consistently maintained that the prospects of a future ‘Kast full-length sits squarely with his brother from another mother, Andre 3000, unfortunately, 3 Stacks doesn’t seem to be any closer to hopping back in that intergalactic Cadillac with his fellow dope boy.
Regardless, Sir Lucious Left Foot has grown in the 13 years since that last proper ‘Kast project. He’s consistently introduced the world to a decade’s worth of top shelf artists like The Flush, Killer Mike, Janelle Monae, for example, and remained sonically inline with the times. Unlike many Golden Era luminaries, he’s has never struggled to adjust to Hip Hop’s changing sound. Arguably, there’s an entire generation now that reveres Big more for his work as The Son Of Chico Dusty than Southerplayalistic. Those vicious lies and dangerous rumors that he’s deflected with class in seemingly every interview he’s done since Dre first donned a diaper on The Chris Rock Show are officially an unfortunate distraction from the art Daddy Fat Sax never stopped crafting. “I’m truly one of the baddest motherfuckers to ever do it / Done did it,” raps Big on “The Thickets.” “Going through it again and can’t nobody stop me 'cause I / Occupy these streets while these niggas just drive by shopping.” Creatively, even as a solo artist, at least one ATLien continues to carry on tradition.
Big Boi’s Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumors available on December 11