Release Date: Dec 11, 2012
Record label: Def Jam
Genre(s): Rap, Southern Rap, Alternative Rap
It's nearly impossible to claim that Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors (the second solo effort from Outkast's Big Boi) is a perfect album, as the subjective nature of music means there's no such thing as a "perfect" album. However, if there are any flaws on Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, I couldn't find them. Big Boi manages to tick all the boxes on this album — exploring new sonic territory with Little Dragon on the dreamy "Descending," using a bridge from Wavves on "Shoes for Running" — while still remaining true to his Southern rap heritage.
Big Boi has been struggling against straight-man typecasting for years. That will happen when the public first encounters you as the guy standing next to Andre 3000, whose arty tastes and Ziggy Stardust wardrobe made him Outkast's natural focal point. But Big Boi made a convincing play for Outkast's freaky, funky legacy on his solo debut, 2010's Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty.
In their OutKast days, Big Boi was often slotted as the traditional Southern slanger to Andre 3000’s kooky space cadet. But he’s capable of his own intergalactic travel: On Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors, he makes like the great funk weirdos of yesteryear, plunging his purple psychedelic prose beneath creamy seas of keyboard, two-stepping funk, and indie flotsam. It almost makes the calls to get the iconic duo back together seem silly, when the next-level mothership has already landed.
For the better part of 18 years—either as a group or solo members—Outkast have served as the standard bearers for Hip Hop’s post P-Funk era of Psychedelic, Southern Hip Hop. There’s a consistent evolution in their approach whether Organized Noize, Stankonia disciples, The Flush, or Andre 3000 himself handled the production. For all the talk of spaceships and comets, Big Boi’s Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumors marks the most drastic sonic departure from that traditional blueprint.
Mainstream hip-hop has been increasingly, purposefully tuneful of late, with an emphasis on beats but also on soundscapes. A parallel trend is the collusion between rap artists and indie acts: Kanye West and Bon Iver, Big Boi and Wavves, even the Blakroc project. With MCs pursuing melody and texture as never before, Big Boi (a.k.a. Antwan Patton) doesn’t merely ride this particular wave; he surfs it surely, adopting a maximalist production style without ever obscuring smart rhymes that dissect relationships with convincing expertise.
Big Boi :: Vicious Lies & Dangerous RumorsDef JamAuthor: Jesal 'Jay Soul' PadaniaThe first thing Big Boi says on his second solo album on the intro is: "If y'all don't know me by now, y'all ain't gon' never know me. . .
In their Fall Music Preview, Rolling Stone proclaimed that Big Boi’s second solo album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, “will surprise anyone who assumed he just brought the street thump to Outkast.” Nonsense. Anyone who’s just now coming to this realization (RS included) hasn’t paid attention for the past 15 or so years. Yes, Antwan Patton was always the harder edged of hip-hop’s most beloved and now most missed duo.
As introductions go, the opening to Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors is needlessly explanatory. Big Boi, quite literally, spells out his name before reminding you of his little-known earlier work as "one half of the minor OutKast" like he was an ex-member of 5ive launching a solo career comeback. One might rightly suspect these formalities to be a nothing more than a humble brag.
Let’s be honest: it’s probably a good thing that OutKast won’t be getting back together anytime soon. Truly think about it: Big Boi’s last solo album, 2010’s absolutely untouchable Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, was a marvelously diverse, positively head-spinning disc of songs that were quirky, weird, diverse in style and eccentric in nature. The album got almost no radio support and yet still debuted at #3 on the album charts, using virtually all of his earned goodwill to get it on people’s radars and very few being disappointed with what they heard.
It must be tough to be Big Boi—OutKast looms over everything. He attempted to escape that shadow with 2010's Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, a years-in-the-making album that showed Big Boi could create great music apart from OutKast. Now Big Boi is back with a follow-up, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. .
Big Boi is known for his voracious, omnivorous listening habits and willingness to abandon his most successful musical formulas. Since he's spent the last few years sharing festival stages with indie rock and electronic acts, it makes some sense that he might want to make a record influenced by indie rock and electronic music. So here on his second proper solo album, he's exchanged the deep, dirty funk of 2010's Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty and his half of OutKast's nearly decade-old double solo LP Speakerboxxx/The Love Below for collaborations with artists like Phantogram, Wavves, and Little Dragon.
Big Boi nearly made an exclusively funk record (putative title – Daddy Fat Saxxx: Soul Funk Crusader) as though, after a post-Outkast solo debut as dexterous as 2010's Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, he had nothing left to prove. This second record is a mighty follow-up – funkier, yes, but at its best with the straight-up pummel of bangers such as In the A. Curiously, it gets better as it goes on.
There’s something humble about the spoken-word intro at the start of Big Boi’s second album, where he describes himself as “one half of the minor OutKast” – an opening that doesn’t do justice to his status as hip-hop royalty. As half of one of the world’s most successful duos, he worked with Andre 3000 to create some of the weirdest rap ever, across six albums, between 1994 and 2006. OutKast’s hiatus is ongoing, but Big Boi has used the time to establish himself as a fiiiine solo artist, with the funky magnificence of his 2010 debut ‘Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty’.
In his solo career to date, the less dapper half of Outkast has maintained the duo's willingness to go off on brain-crunching tangents – his debut album was called Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty, after all. Its follow-up continues to blur boundaries. In the A gives TI and Ludacris more vitality than they've had in years, and Lines, which makes ample use of A$AP Rocky's talents, suddenly dissolves from thundering hip-hop into a wispy indie jam, and manages to make both halves sound fresh.
Outkast are one of rap's best, so it's comforting to know that the group's slow dismantlement hasn't rendered rappers André 3000 and Big Boi obsolete. While the former surfaces only for Gillette ad campaigns and the occasional thrilling guest verse, Big Boi's charted a more typical course by actually releasing records. His solo work continues in Outkast's progressive tradition without straying into unrecognizable territory.
Even if you weren’t aware that Big Boi’s follow-up to 2010’s critical smash Sir Luscious Left Foot was originally going to be called Daddy Fat Sax: Soul Funk Crusader, what’s now called Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors would probably still be a surprise. The headlines throughout the shift of inspiration seemed totally bizarre: collaborating with Little Dragon, Modest Mouse, Phantogram, all the while hoping and praying for Kate Bush? Andre 3000 in, Andre 3000 out? It was all a bit overwhelming on paper, but now that the full album’s in front of us and we get to see what Big Boi going all Electric Circus on us sounds like, actually processing the release remains awkward. There are many cynical and optimistic angles from which we can approach the album: “Pitchfork rap”, pushing the boundaries of rap music as usual, doesn’t “sound like” a Big Boi album, which is usually the effortless blending of seemingly disparate scenes to create a sort of hyper-hipsterism.
Big Boi’s second album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors has all the hallmarks of a bad record, and yet we want to be soft on it more than most artists’ failures. Why? Maybe it’s because Antwan Patton has that air of inscrutable cool like Jay-Z, always rapping skillfully and workmanlike but retaining a sly charm that never feels canned or rote. But more likely it’s because OutKast is over and no one, especially fans, wants to face that.
Many of the guest appearances on Big Boi's second solo album -- his third if you count Speakerboxxx -- were not expected. Most of them qualify as inharmonious experiments. A chance encounter with Phantogram, facilitated by a music identification application, led to three of these songs. On "CPU," the most awkward one of the bunch, Phantogram fashion their hazy dream pop into low-wattage EDM, their feathery chorus disconnected from Big Boi's verses.
“Divine flows, the radio got y’all like zombies/Come alive hoes, like a litter full of puppies/Or a baby with a onesie on, your old lady clumsy.” Those are real lines from “The Thickets,” the second track off Big Boi’s latest non-Outkast solo record, Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumors, and they reveal quite a bit about where the rapper and producer is coming from nowadays: Mainly, he doesn’t care. That doesn’t mean he’s not trying; Antwon Patton is by most accounts a serious workaholic, and as a rapper he’s almost incapable of writing a verse that’s not at least phonetically impressive. It means he doesn’t care what you, me or anyone else thinks about this record.
A second solo set that’s bold of ambition, but flawed of execution. Darren Loucaides 2012 Big Boi’s solo debut proper, 2010’s Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, saw the Outkast rapper establish himself as a critically acclaimed artist free from the shadow of André 3000. Follow-up LP Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumours arrives with big expectations: can it live up to them? The Thickets is a promising beginning.
Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumors might be the boldest gamble of Antwan Patton’s entire fate-tempting career, moreso than the befuddling indulgences of Idlewild (both the film and its even more unnecessary soundtrack) or giving Sleepy Brown his own full-length album. Subversive seemingly since Day One, he has featured proudly, prominently, and profoundly on some of the most progressive, risk-taking rap music ever. After Outkast’s first few records helped dismantle Berlin Wall level prejudice about hip hop geography, along came Stankonia, a fully-formed game changer that put Big Boi’s name on the lips of discerning music lovers, rap junkies, and commercial radio drones alike.
For almost two decades, Big Boi has blended sonic advancements with peak lyricism. Since unveiling Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik in ‘94, he and OutKast partner-in-rhyme Andre 3000 constantly evolved their styles, always pushing the boundaries and beyond. In 2010, one of the year’s finest albums, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, solidified what had been blatantly obvious for sometime; though often overlooked due to the fanfare and mystique surrounding Dre: standing on his own, Big Boi remains one of the singular talents hip-hop has to offer.
Big Boi starts his second solo album, “Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors” (Def Jam), reminding listeners that he’s “one-half of the mind of Outkast,” the hip-hop duo (with André 3000) from Atlanta that released its last album, “Idlewild,” in 2006. Memories probably aren’t that ….