2017 has been a treat for Hip-Hop fans everywhere. Our favorite young artists have dropped fantastic projects but it’s the older generation that is catching everyone’s ears. Snoop Dogg released an album just a month ago, Raekwon surprised many with The Wild, and JAY-Z is set to drop 4:44 at the end of the month. Hip-Hop is not just a young man’s game anymore as Snoop and Rae both had stellar projects for being three decades into their respective careers. We can cry and complain about getting another Outkast album all we want, but that’s probably never going to happen. The internet argues on a regular basis about who’s the better artist in the duo, Big Boi or Andre 3000. We won’t discuss that topic but I will say that Big Boi has tripled Andre’s musical releases this decade. In the past many felt like Big Boi had something to prove as a solo artist. Whether he felt this way is unknown but he came swinging for the fences on his first two solo outings (2010’s Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Song Of Chico Dusty and 2012’s Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors).
It’s been five years since a Big Boi album grabbed our attention. That changed when ‘Kill Jill’ dropped featuring Jeezy & Killer Mike. Using a play on words with the popular Kill Bill films (and some musical themes as well), Big and Mike give us that classic Dungeon Family back and forth they’ve been known to do in the past while Jeezy provides the perfect vocals for the chorus. The hype behind this record was enough to get longtime Outkast fans excited for a new release from Billy Ocean. One of the issues for older artists when releasing music in the streaming era is the marketability for attracting new fans. Big Boi presents a concise album with twelve tracks coming in at 45 minutes of play time. This not only caters to the young audience but the quality of the music leaves you wanting more from him.
I don’t know what else Big Rube has done in life but I think he should open all Atlanta albums with an intro as smooth as he does for fellow Dungeon Family artists. After a stellar verse from Big to kick off Boomiverse on ‘Da Next Day’, Rube comes in as the voice of God to give us the game we’ve been missing. Boomiverse is feature heavy with Killer Mike making three guest appearances and some of the tracks sound experimental in terms of production and artists. For instance, ‘Kill Jill’ with Jeezy and Killer Mike sounds like something futuristic while the very next song, ‘Mic Jack’ with Scar, Sleepy Brown, and Adam Levine sounds like a funky pop record. The latter misses the mark in terms of the chorus and this isn’t the the only experimental record that doesn’t hit. ‘Freakanomics’ is fun but the chorus comes off cheesy and doesn’t sound like it fits the theme of the album. However there are different sounding songs that excel, one of them being the fantastic ‘Overthunk’ with Eric Bellinger. Sounding like a spaceship speeding through a launch to space, Bellinger’s smooth vocals complement Big Boi’s flow as we hear how over thinking can be a dangerous concept (this record hit home for me because I tend to overthink a lot of my everyday activities and conversations, like what I was going to write in this review).
The Dungeon Family have never been afraid to experiment with their sounds and Boomiverse is just the latest entry on this list. If you think back to all of the classic Outkast sounds, they were all experimental sounding tracks with great lyricism. That’s Big Boi’s pedigree as an artist so you never know what to expect from him when he drops a solo project. There are records on here that you’ll find yourself skipping but you’ll also find a lot of songs that you want to keep playing on repeat or add to your “Outkast Rules” playlist on your favorite streaming service. Big Boi is no slouch on the microphone and he continues to prove it with Boomiverse.
Repeatable: ‘Kill Jill’ feat. Killer Mike & Jeezy, ‘In The South’ feat. Pimp C & Gucci Mane, ‘Overthunk’
Skippable: ‘Mic Jack’ feat. Adam Levine, Scar, & Sleep Brown, ‘Freakanomics’
By Joe Coad