Review of Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumours by Big Boi
Most of you will know Big Boi as part of Hip Hop stars Outkast. Whilst Outkast were definitely two parts Big Boi often got overshadowed by the more extravagant and enigmatic André 3000. However Big Boi established himself as a genuine hip hop leader in his own right with the 2010 album ‘Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty’.
His second album ‘Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumours’ arrives with big expectations.
The album starts well with the track ‘The Thickets’. However it feels a little bit like Hip Hop by numbers, a standard sounding beat, with a good chorus and slightly soulful sound.
The album is full of some unexpected lines, which seem to indicate Big Boi is struggling with to find himself as an artist and is doubting his direction. He throws around lines and styles on the album that jar with what you might expect “We like to role play, throw on some Coldplay“. Whilst Chris Martin has succeeded in becoming a bit more than the depressing sulk he was once thought of, this seems peculiar.
The track’s one of three that dream-pop duo Phantogram feature on, Sarah Barthel’s sweet and effortless vocals employed to best effect on ‘Lines’. ‘Lines’ also finds Big Boi delivering some energised raps, and represents a highlight of the album.
Too often, though, his vocals jar against those of his collaborators who are meant to have been brought in to add weight and appeal. ‘Shoes for Running’, quite improbably, features both Wavves and B.o.B. obviously alongside Big Boi. The mix of collaborators is ill advised and the production of the sound is lacking something special to make it a real banger of an album.
‘In the A’, with T.I. and Ludacris, is smutty dirt-hop. Whilst I have mixed views on the track, Ludacris as usual delivers a quality rhyme. ‘Tremendous Damage’ in all honesty is a little poor. When you remember Big Boi from Outkast this feels a bit of a cheesy pop-RnB number, which again raises questions over his direction as an artist.
Another highlight on the album, whilst a little unexpected is ‘Mama Told Me’ it feels a little more like what you would expect from Big Boi. Kelly Rowland is one of the few collaborations that work and she adds a real soulful feel to the track. Yes the production isn’t top drawer but it is a good tune.
Whilst some people may feel the eclectic collection of songs is a good thing and demonstrates diversity as an artist for Big Boi. I personally feel ‘Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumours’ ia all a bit of a mess. The album fails to tell a story, the jumping around of genres lacks consistency. Whilst individually there are good tracks, it doesn’t flow as an album should.
Its a real shame. Big Boi was seen as a great rapper and a critical part of Outkast‘s success, even if André 3000 didn’t see it that way. This album leaves a sour taste in the mouth. One thing to shine through though is that you can still see Big Boi has skills and is a quality rapper.