In June 2017, Big Boi of Atlanta-based hip-hop duo, Outkast released his first solo album in five years, titled “BOOMIVERSE.” Seemingly, this release came out of nowhere on Apple Music, but if you were following his career, then you were most likely anticipating it. “BOOMIVERSE” featured contributions from long-time collaborators Organised Noise, Sleepy Brown and Killer Mike to name but a few. To coincide with its digital release, “BOOMIVERSE” was also issued by Epic Records as a double-disc, blue-and-white coloured vinyl record set, which would most likely make an awesome collectors item. All righty then… this wanna-be album reviewer is running out of things to say, so let’s just get on with it! Let’s also bear in mind that this was what was flowing through me and it’s ALL just my opinion:
Da Next Day (feat. Big Rube): Kicking off with some epic strings and clocking in at two minutes and twenty-three seconds, this song seems to serve mostly as an intro to the album, as it name checks its title, “Boomiverse.” It’s almost like he’s presenting himself to the world again and getting ready to rock the mic. Admittedly, Big Rube’s voice is a little on the gravelly side of things these days. Not a bad way to get things going.
Kill Jill (feat. Killer Mike & Jeezy): Clearly the title is a play on the Tarantino film, “Kill Bill,” which is probably why “Big Boi” has gone with an oriental type of vibe, in that he’s used a female vocal sample from a Japanese song called “Data,” which initially created a “WTF” kind of reaction and it even became a little annoying. Once you get past that, you realise that the beat is CRAZY and quite bass heavy. Killer Mike absolutely SLAYS it. At the same time, thanks to lyrics such as: “I done fucked her in every hotel in every hole” and “To hell with what your mouth say, show me what your mouth do,” it’s quite safe to say that the warning label on the CD booklet is definitely not lying! There’s even a controversial reference to Bill Cosby on this one, but we won’t go there! OK, let us move on.
Mic Jack (feat. Adam Levine, Scar & Sleepy Brown): A collaboration with the lead singer of Maroon Five suggests that either Big Boy really admires their work, or he was trying to get some commercial success. Either way, it’s clearly the most accessible song on the album and of course it references Michael Jackson’s glove, not just his musical style. Which is interesting considering the comment he made on the “Speaker Box” CD back in 2003: “Not on my album you ain’t singing no damn Michael Jackson!” A lot of people might bag this song, but it’s actually not bad. It kicks off with a reference to, well, let’s just say one of the songs on the “Aquemini” album that has a virtually unpronounceable title. Sleepy Brown doesn’t seem to stand out on this one like he usually does, it’s almost like he takes a back seat.
In the South (feat. Gucci Mane & Pimp C): Is this the kind of rap music that they used to call crunk back in 2006? It has that slowed down type of beat with lyrics about people wanting to “know what’s going on in the south… now tell that bitch to keep my name up out yah mouth!” That line was delivered by Pimp C, who has now since passed away. He seems to sound very close to André on this one. Best of all, there are Prince referencing lyrics such as: “Don’t cry, let the doves do that…. Now that’s what we call the pop life, true that.” And of course, you have an absolutely blazing, Prince/Hendrix-styled guitar solo from David Whild. Pretty cool.
Order of Operations: Kicking off with a piano and a verse by Eric Bellinger, this song speaks on Big’s early success, from being a millionaire in his 20s to learning how to manage his funds a little better in his forties by buying land, rather than cars. Basically, this song is all about making that cheddar, with a reference to an older Outkast song “Hootie Hoo.” Big Boi also compares himself to Natalie Cole and her father Nat King Cole. Co-written and produced by former Roots member, Scott Storch.
All Night: It’s not often that you hear a full-blooded hip-hop song with pianos and acoustic guitars, but…. lo and behold. Outkast were always on some next shit and Big Boy is definitely carrying on that tradition as a solo artist. It’s been backed by a super bass heavy beat that you can blast as loudly as you can on your favourite sound system and Big Boy’s flow is incredible. Super fast is a term that comes to mind. He’s joined by another dude who calls himself, get this, LunchMoney Lewis. What’ll they think of next?
Get Wit It (feat. Snoop Dogg): The intro to this song is reminiscent of the Robert Palmer song “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On.” At least for this particular listener it is. It’s interesting how these rappers seem to have a complex: One minute Big Boy is quoting a Bible verse from Isiah, the next he’s talking about keeping a gun stashed under his seat. Another observation is that he talks about “blowing through pussy,” but he won’t do that because he’s married. Snoop contributes backing vocals as well as a rap verse, which is fairly decent… nothing mind blowing by any means. Not bad overall.
Overthunk (feat. Eric Bellinger): Big Boy delivers another fast-paced rhyme over a beat that features a very eighties sounding keyboard riff, combined with that “Westcoast” whistling sound that was made popular back in the ‘90s. Eric Bellinger sounds soulful as hell on the hook, which reminds us all that “overthinking is a drug.” In that case, should we really be making a fuss over the grammatically incorrect song title? What kind of a word is “overthunk”? Oh, wait a second, the word “thunk” is now in the dictionary. Its second definition is: “Informal or humorous. Past and past participle of think.” Wow. Who’d have thought? David Whild plays guitar on this one, too.
Chocolate (feat. Trozé): Now for something completely different: HOUSE. Seriously. If this song messed with the hardcore rap fans, then… beauty! Big Boy definitely pulls it off, though and he even slows his voice down like Prince & George Clinton. Or is that the other dude who appears on this track who calls himself Trozé? Either way it sounds pretty cool. Big Boy should do a whole album like this… seriously!
EDIT!: This writer is very out-of-touch: He’s just realised that the song that has been sampled for this one was actually featured in an advertisement for Apple’s iPhone 6…. yet this writer has never heard this song before in his life. So, that is definitely not “Big Boi” slowing his voice down, but it is him rapping in his normal voice. Still a cool song, though.
Made Man (feat. Killer Mike & Kurupt): It’s hard to say whether or not this song was written in jest, or if it was supposed to be taken seriously. All three of these rappers: Big Boy, Killer Mike and Corrupt, let’s spell their stage names correctly here, are spitting straight fire. Big Boy admits to never writing his raps on an iPhone, while Killer Mike name checks Snoop Doggy Dog and Dr Dre, who as we all know, are very closely associated with Corrupt. The song sounds quite aggressive. However, it ends with a spoken word interlude, in which we’re asked, “You know why y’all grand momma had that plastic on the couch? ‘Cos yo’ grand momma was a squirter!” Funny. No, it is, genuinely.
Freakanomics: Basically, this song is about not wanting to hook up with any women while you’re still married or in a committed relationship. You and that person will forever be in the friends zone, which is exactly a line from one of the verses. Big Boy is practically singing one point, which goes to show you that he can go in all directions. This is another one of those songs that’s really bass heavy. Great for playing loudly. The vocoder on Scar’s voice sounds cool, too. Big Boy must have really been a big Michael Jackson fan at heart: He even says, “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.” “Freakanomics” ends with a very funny send-up of the popular TV game show, “Family Feud.”
Follow Deez (feat. Curren$y & Killer Mike): One more rugged song to close out the album. Yeah. That violent imagery can get tiring after a while. Maybe it’s just as well it’s the last song.
Verdict: It may not hit you at first, but overall, Big Boy has presented us with a fairly solid third album. Yet, we all wait with baited breath to see what his partner, Andre 3000 will release.. or will he never come out with something new at all? That would be a shame. The graphics that appear in the CD booklet are also on point and very reminiscent of their old covers from the ‘90s. Definitely a must buy for all Outkast fans and collectors.