A smooth, sexy beat, and this for an opening line: “And that’s just the intro.”
From the onset of Big Boi’s solo debut Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, the m.o. is obvious and direct. Deeply rooted in funk, soul, and Southern hip-hop with so much bass, the album has been critically well received.
But, for my part, I was mostly underwhelmed by a lot of it. At 15 tracks and an hour long, it just felt like Sir Lucious stretched on forever, not allowing any of its tracks to really shine. Even the bonus tracks on the deluxe edition (“Theme Song” – which is centered around that awesome vocal effect from Kanye’s “Workout Plan” – and a remix of “Shine Blockas,” one of the album’s best tracks) should have been included instead of the record’s stinkers: “Follow Us” and “Be Still.”
For all the albums OutKast released, I’m surprised that neither Big Boi nor Andre 3000 ever ventured into the solo realm until the double album Speakerboxxx / The Love Below in 2003. If any genre generates prolific solo work, it’s rap or hip-hop; and yet, neither of the two Andres bothered to venture out.
It’s a shame, too, because Big Boi’s half, Speakerboxxx, was a total jam – which is a lot of the reason that I’m surprised Sir Luscious is such a let down. It’s sandwiched between two critically acclaimed albums, the latter being Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, which made it to #3 on my “Best of” list for 2012.
Don’t get me wrong, as there is some good stuff here: “General Patton” with its operatic backing is ridiculous, and the kind of “turn it on its head” approach that more hip-hop tracks need. Because really, who else is going to put an opera concerto on top of a dope beat?
Of course the single “Shutterbugg” is a jam. And the aforementioned “Shine Blockas” – both versions, actually.
But some of the tracks here are just… not enjoyable to me. “Follow Us” is the cheesiest, most cookie cutter hip-hop song I’ve heard in a minute. “Be Still” with the adorable Janelle Monae is passable at best.
Is the proliferation of songs on an album as a negative characteristic solely a hip-hop problem? Think about it. When have you said that about a rock or indie album? “There’s too much here.” I don’t recall a time where I was able to say “I’m overwhelmed by how freakin’ much there is here to the point of all the songs sounding like B-sides.”
In any case, in doing the bit of research I do for each album, I stumbled upon this little-known fact: President Bill Clinton loves “Who’s Your Caddy?”, the critically panned movie in which Big Boi stars. Learn something new everyday.
From the Internet’s favorite Big Boi solo album of 2010, this is “The Train (pt. 2)” –
Standout tracks: “General Patton” and “Shutterbugg” – and both versions of “Shine Blockas”
Weakest track: “Follow Us” or “Be Still”
RIYL: OutKast, and other main stream hip-hop and rap.