I can’t think of another rapper more underappreciated than Big Boi. Despite being half of arguably the best hip-hop group in history, his contributions are continuously overlooked in favor of his flamboyant partner in rhyme, Andre 3000.
Speakerboxxx, Big Boi’s contribution to 2003’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (one of the highest-selling rap albums of all time, by the way) has long been forgotten thanks to Dre’s Prince impersonations.
But Sir Lucious Left Foot is finally here, and Big Boi is ready for redemption. He spends most of the album proving his status as a hip-hop pioneer. “Night Night” and especially “General Patton,” with its blaring horns and chants, are the perfect backdrop to prove that some Southern rappers can be lyrical powerhouses. It’s easy to forget how potent Big Boi is on the mic, until he drops verses that are “defying all odds like a caterpillar flying,” as on “Daddy Fat Sacks.” The album is also filled with those multi-layered beats that made all those OutKast songs so frantic and fun.
Sir Lucious Left Foot is filled with guests – my girl Janelle Monae sounds as flawless as usual on “Be Still,” T.I. fits right in on the lascivious “Tangerine” and, believe it or not, somehow Gucci Mane doesn’t trip all over himself on the oddly soulful “Shine Blockas.” My one complaint about the album is that there may be too many guests – although none outshine the star, thankfully.
Sadly Sir Lucious Left Foot likely won’t be the album that will finally make Big Boi’s detractors come to their senses. Had Big Boi whipped up another ubiquitous barbecue anthem like “The Way You Move” he might win more support. But who cares – true fans know that Big Boi is one of the game’s best, and Sir Lucious Left Foot puts his best foot forward, as usual.
Best tracks: “Shine Blockas,” “General Patton,” “Be Still”
4 stars out of 5