Though Big Boi is the more grounded half of the groundbreaking hip-hop duo OutKast, that doesn't mean he is lacking in ambition.
His solo album "Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty" (Def Jam) is brimming with new ideas, new sounds and new jams that will soon be booming from a high-quality system near you.
"Be Still" combines Janelle Monae channeling a Supremes-era Diana Ross with a spacey-synth approximation of girl-group pop and Big delivering a wild set of rhymes. "Shutterbugg" features a gurgling vocal fashioned into a bass line and the kind of stream-of-consciousness rhyming that brings snippets of Soul II Soul and the '80s R&B nugget "You Are in My System" together. "General Patton" finds Big rhyming over a march and a military-styled choir, while "Shine Blockas" mines the deep soul groove of a Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes sample.
Like the best of OutKast's output, "Sir Lucious Left Foot" puts familiar hip-hop sounds in new contexts. When Jamie Foxx arrives for "Hustle Blood," his breathy delivery makes him sound almost unrecognizable, like he's singing some delicate synth-pop ballad. He turns the currently cool clanging beats to make his point about how some in hip-hop have forgotten their roots on "You Ain't No DJ," as he attacks with "Your DJ ain't no DJ, he just make them -- mixtapes" - yet another sign of how well Big Boi has mastered the tools of his hip-hop trade.
BIG BOI: "Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty"
BOTTOM LINE: Big Boi = big block-rocking beats