Big Boi offers up a solid yet experimental sophomore solo album with Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors.
From the moment they came onto the rap scene with their debut album in 1994, Outkast proudly wore their individualism on their sleeves and in their music. Always one step ahead of the curve, Outkast coupled dirty Southern rap with funkadelic beats and became one of the most successful hip-hop groups ever. 16 years and 25 million albums sold later, Big Boi left the comfort and safety net of a group with the release of Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty.
If there was any doubt left over from the critically-acclaimed Sir Lucious Left Foot that Big Boi could be a successful solo artist, he has eased all fears with his second solo offering, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. Big Boi shows the depth and growth that only an artist with almost 20 years in the game can have the faith and courage to do.
Fans of Big Boi's first album may be a bit skeptical with the sound and feel of Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. He has fun experimenting with different genres and it is evident in the not one but three tracks featuring pop-soul duo Phantogram. Much of the album is an enjoyable hodge-podge of indie rock, electro synth-pop, Southern rap, and Cali-punk beats while Big Boi raps and sings. Yes, he sings and he’s not half bad.
The Atlanta rapper does a great job of reining in the
eclectic sounds while staying true to his fundamental style of quick jabs and
one, two punch lines. "Objectum Sexuality" featuring Phantogram and "Mama Told
Me" with Kelly Rowland are both upbeat and airy songs that can easily feature his
more eccentric Outkast partner Andre 3000 as well. The feel of Vicious Lies and
Dangerous Rumors is futuristic and space-age at times but Big Boi tackles heavy
subjects in "Tremendous Damage" and "She Hates Me."
Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors is not without its club bangers. Big Boi enlists the help out his fellow ATLiens Ludacris and T.I., who's never rapped better in recent memory than on this track. Filled with ego-fueled lyrics, Big Boi proves he’s one of the best rappers in Atlanta. “Like a postman, I deliver. See I'm the letter with the anthrax in it. Pass that, hit it. Sniff it, snort it, then go on take a bump, shawty.”
For his hardcore fans that may not fully appreciate the trip to outer space, "Thom Pettie," "Gossip" and "The Thicket" help balance out the album. It's quite fitting that the best song on the 17-track album is perhaps the one song without any guest features. "Apple Of My Eye," reminiscent of Idlewild, showcases Big Boi’s versatility, creativity and evolution as a solo artist.
Big Boi takes a hard left turn from his debut Sir Lucious Left Foot, but for any open-minded individual, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors is an enjoyable ride.