Big Boi booms back onto the scene he created

Big Boi
Photo courtesy of Big Boi

Famed emcee, producer and musician Antwan Patton, also known as Big Boi, has been around for quite some time, though most people might have not even noticed. At the age of 16, he moved from Savannah up to Atlanta in 1993, and ever since, he has been making music both in a group and by himself. Of course, the reason he moved to Atlanta at that age was to begin making music with his good friend, Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin, and the rest is history.

Six critically-acclaimed albums later, Big Boi was one half of the most successful and most well-received hip-hop group to come out of the South. At this point in the saga, the duo split, but there is no reason to believe that Big Boi’s talent ever left. Outkast released their last album, “Idlewild,” in 2006. Then, in 2010, they released an album that garnered twice the attention and twice the acclaim but only required half the effort.

After this project, titled “Sir Lucius Leftfoot: The Sun of Chico Dusty,” Big Boi did it again with “Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors” in 2012. Now, five years later, Big Boi simply relays the same message with “Boomiverse” — he may be an old school rapper, but he is definitely not too old.

Big Boi’s fourth post-Outkast project “Boomiverse” is an enjoyable album mainly because it is so transparent. Big Boi is unapologetically Southern, expressive and lighthearted, and “Boomiverse” is exactly the same way. At no point does the music on the album attempt to be anything other than what Big Boi is, and the album is better for it.

The album’s introductory song acts as an homage to Big Boi’s earliest days with Outkast. A conspicuous beat, produced by longtime friends and frequent collaborators Organized Noize, serves as the background while Big Boi raps over the music. Then the album launches into two of its most enjoyable songs: “Kill Jill” and “Mic Jack,” which also serve as the album’s two singles.

Jeezy and Killer Mike each have verses on “Kill Jill,” and fellow Dungeon Family member Sleepy Brown joins Adam Levine as they both sing the hook to “Mic Jack.” Additionally, the album’s pace never seems to slow down. Appearances by Snoop Dogg, Gucci Mane and Pimp C keep listeners on their toes.

Going through the album while hearing Big Boi’s collaborations with fellow hip-hop heavyweights and veteran contributors is incredibly enjoyable. Even though Organized Noize, Killer Mike and Adam Levine do give the album a definitive sound, “Boomiverse” reaches its peak with “All Night.”

This light-hearted, Southern rap masterpiece has a jazz-influenced, piano-driven beat that gives the song the capacity to be a summer anthem in 2017. “All Night” was produced by Dr. Luke, a longtime collaborator with Katy Perry, Flo Rida and Usher, and the track benefitted heavily from Dr. Luke’s experience with pop and R&B acts.

Interestingly enough, the day that “Boomiverse” was released also happened to be the day that two other Atlanta-bred trap artists released their long-anticipated albums. 2 Chainz, the rap artist behind “I’m Different” and “Birthday Song,” released a quintessential southern trap album called “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music.” Young Thug, a member of the ever-polarizing cohort of young “mumble rappers,” released his long awaited album “Beautiful Thugger Girls.”

Ironically, even though Big Boi essentially invented the term trap and the understanding of it as a form of music, these younger artists may not even wholly understand how much of their career they owe to him. In fact, people rarely give either member of Outkast enough credit for their unparalleled contributions to southern hip-hop.

Despite this lack of recognition, Big Boi successfully reminds people who the true king — or at least creator — of the Atlanta trap scene is by releasing critically-acclaimed project after critically-acclaimed project. As Atlanta trap music was designed to be, “Boomiverse” is Southern, expressive and loud, but it never loses its purpose or sense of fun, which recent trap artists have at times forgotten to incorporate into their music.

With Migos, Future, Yachty and half of the XXL Freshman class of 2017, the past two years have proven to be huge for mainstream trap, but with “Boomiverse,” Big Boi says to everyone that sometimes the new school can never beat the old school.