Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
After an interminable wait, Big Boi's first solo album completely outside of the shadow of the Outkast umbrella is here. Long delayed due to label shenanigans (it was initially supposed to be issued on Outkast's label, Jive), the record, perhaps unfairly, arrives under heightened expectations, yet can easily claim to be one of the finest hip-hop records of the year so far. While it's not explicitly addressed, Big Boi's difficulties in putting out Sir Lucious Left Foot have informed his lyrical approach, often focusing on his ongoing relevance and legacy, thumbing his nose at anyone that would doubt the pioneering MC's validity. Big Boi's trademark rapid-fire lyricism still flaunts elasticity and wit, indulging his penchant for playful hedonism, eccentric alter egos and wizened life lessons in equal measure. But it's the music on Sir Lucious Left Foot that authoritatively drives the point home. While Sir Lucious Left Foot employs a number of producers, Big Boi primarily sticks close to home, with long-time collaborators and legendary Southern hip-hop architects Organized Noise. Steeped in depth and intricacy, the sonic fare nonchalantly consists of woozy guitars, marching band brass and sumptuous bass licks. It would seem the delay favoured several drafts and overhauls of songs after they were originally finished, with unexpected sonic detours and mid-song change ups seamlessly incorporated as de rigeur. Of course, the elephant in the room is the absence of Andre 3000, exacerbated by the apparently label-ordered omission of "Lookin' 4 Ya," the Boi-1da produced collaboration between the Outkast MCs. Andre 3000 does in fact produce the sparse "You Ain't No DJ," but here, he's just another collaborator. Even with an album guest list that includes Janelle Monae, George Clinton and mixtape hot property Yelawolf, to name a few, General Patton, ahem, Big Boi, remains firmly in command of the proceedings. (Universal)