A 20-year career as a Hip Hop artist is rare. A 20-year career as a Hip Hop artist who gets better with every album is unheard of. But in the case of Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, it's no surprise.
As one half of Outkast with his partner in rhyme Andre 3000, Big Boi blazed trails and broke blueprints with three certified classics; 1994's Southerplayalisticadilacmuzik, 1996's ATLiens and 1998's Aquemini. The duo then brought in the new millenium by selling four million copies of their genre-defying fourth studio album Stankonia only to follow it up with the diamond-selling opus Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
Now, nearly a decade later Big Boi continues to break ground on his own with his second solo album Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. The follow up to 2010's critically-acclaimed Luscious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty, Vicious Lies... seeks to bring the truth in an era where anything but is accepted as the real.
"I borrowed the title from my Grandmother who passed away," explains Big. "She beat cancer twice and the family said she needed to make a movie about her life. She said she would write a book instead and call it Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors because she was going to tell it how it is. So to me the title is a search for the undisputed truth. We're living in the information age with everything at your fingertips. But at same time, with social media you can take something and it will spread whether if it's true or not."
Describing the album as "one-half Outkast, one whole of me," Big Boi takes sole possession of the wheel behind the Cadillac that is the Outkast legacy and cruises into unchartered territory with his thirst to expand the rules of music serving as the navigation.
The rap veteran known as General Patton shows off his rank on the lyrical exercise "The Thickets" and later leads the charge on "In the A" featuring fellow Atlanta troops T.I. and Ludacris. Futuristic funk is explored on the digital jams "Objectum Sexuality" and "CPU," both featuring indie pop duo Phantogram. Then Big opens up the soul basket and talks about the gain and pain of relationships on "She Hates Me" featuring Kid Cudi.
Even while being established with six Grammy Awards and 25 million records sold worldwide Big Boi proves that he can still spar with the new jacks when he recruits A$AP Rocky for the Organized Noize-produced "Lines" and sprint with the current stars on the adrenaline- pumping "Shoes For Running" featuring B.o.B. Also a master of melody, Big displays his "funk throat" on the playful "Raspberries" featuring long time collaborator Scar and bounces over in-
house producers The Flush's pulsating pianos on the lead single "Mama Told Me" featuring Kelly Rowland.
"I'm a student of music, I always looked at myself as a young Luke Skywalker," says Big, insisting that none of the special appearances or production came from phone calls but from serendipity and surprise visits. "I always want to learn about the music and use all different genres. I don't even look at the cameos on the album as multiple features. I see them all as pieces that go together."
Keeping the Outkast artistic tradition alive, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors' album art is presented as a pocket-sized art gallery with customized paintings to accompany each track. The Rolling Stone-esque logo with the clinched teeth featured on the CD represents how in these times you have to be careful about what you say. Big has made a name for himself being selective with his words, which is why each one he says to this day means something special.
"Today's trend is that you come in, get hot and disappear," says the living legend. "You're not supposed to come out, get hot, do the biggest album ever and then keep cruising to where it's undeniable. If you don't like this album, you don't like music."