If you catch a New York City train to the West 4th Street stop at Washington Square in the West Village, and walk up 6th Avenue and make a right on the corner of 8th Street, you'll come upon a slice of music history in the form of Electric Lady Studios, which has been a haven for an array of legendary artists across all genres. While many have walked through the studio's front doors, on this brisk spring evening (April 28) the main attraction within the confines of this musical landmark is Big Boi, one-half of famed rap duo OutKast and a rap veteran who has eluded obscurity and has found a second lease on life as a solo artist.
Five years removed from his last solo LP, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, the Savannah, Ga.-born, Atlanta-bred spitter appears to have caught the itch to unleash a new collection of songs, which brings us to Electric Lady Studios, where Big Boi is previewing his forthcoming album, Boomiverse. The album is another cosmic groove that looks to further prove Big Boi's standing as one of the more consistent veterans in the game. He's got enough juice to avoid the dreaded grandpa label that many tenured rappers are subject to, but enough seasoning that fans expect nothing but quality whenever he hits the booth, an expectation which Boomiverse lives up to.
As attendees mingle while drinking Boomiverse-inspired cocktails, courtesy of Ciroc, and snack on a spread that included stew chicken, macaroni and cheese and brown rice and peas, Big Boi's arrival was announced, prompting applause from those in the room. Quickly jumping into the proceedings, Big Boi gave a brief description of each track, giving insight into how they came about while puffing on his chalice and drinking from a bottle of Hennessy. With the focus solely on the music, the crowd could not help but to get lost in the sound, and by the end of the night, the consensus was that Big Boi rose to the occasion yet again. Boomiverse is an album for all rap fans to pay attention to.
After getting a preview of Big Boi's Boomiverse, XXL highlights some key moments on the album and what fans can expect once it touches down in June.
Big Boi's Boomiverse album is slated to be released on June 16 via Epic Records.
Producers Adding Their Sound
When it comes to the production on Boomiverse, Big Boi pulled out all of the stops, calling in a few heavy hitters to provide a smorgasbord of tracks that compelemnt the legend's lyrical capabilities. A few of the producers that receive credit on Boomiverse are Organized Noize ("Kill Jill," "Overthunk"), Dr. Luke ("All Night"), Scott Storch and DJ Dahi, whom Big Boi worked with while in California constructing the album.
Near the end of the listening session for Boomiverse, Big Boi shared that he feels the album is comparable to the Big Bang Theory. "Boomiverse is like the big bang theory. The big boom theory," he says.
"Chocolate," a song that Big Boi played at the listening session, was inspired by his DJ residency at the Wynn in Las Vegas. After getting back to Atlanta, the rapper, along with Organized Noize, crafted the song, which is a jittery track that is one of the more quirkier offerings on Boomiverse.
According to Big Boi, Boomiverse will be a double album, an ambitious undertaking for Daddy Fat Sacks. Although he released a double album, Speakerboxx/The Love Below, in 2003 as a member of OutKast, it was technically the rapper's first solo album, adding even more intrigue as to what listeners can expect from Boomiverse.
Legendary music executive L.A. Reid may be known for being a catalyst in the making of some of the biggest R&B and pop hits of all-time, but his relationship with rap runs deep. Reid, who helped bring Big Boi to the forefront as a member of OutKast after signing the group in the early 1990s, is the one who passed Big Boi the beat to "All Night," a Dr. Luke-producd standout from Boomiverse. The song finds the rapper showcasing his vocal prowess and getting his croon on. Tailor-made for the dance floor, "All Night" could end up being another addition to Big Boi's long list of party starters.
Organized Noize's Big Help
The production credits on the LP list various names, but according to Big Boi, the boardsmen that were most invaluable and instrumental to the creation of his forthcoming album was Organized Noize, the production team that helped groom OutKast into the superstars they are today.
Comprised of members Rico Wade, Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown, the trio are responsible for producing the entirety of OutKast's Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik album, in addition to seismic hits like TLC's "Waterfalls," En Vogue's "Don't Let Go (Love)," and Ludacris' "Saturday (Oooh Ooooh)." Boomiverse will be the third solo album from Big Boi featuring production from Organized Noize, and their longstanding chemistry is apparent throughout.
Pimp C's Surprise Addition
After managing to nab an unreleased Pimp C verse for "Gossip," a bonus track from his last solo album, Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors, Big Boi continues to keep the late rap legend's name and voice alive on Boomiverse. Although not a full verse, Pimp C's distinctive drawl can be heard on "In the South," an aptly-titled selection from the album that is sure to be booming out of candy-painted cars upon the album's release.
From the select tracks those in attendance heard during the Boomiverse listening party, one joint that got heads bopping was "Made Man," a screwface-inducing posse cut featuring Killer Mike and Kurupt. Big Boi kicks off the track, Killer Mike comes through with a strong follow-up verse and Kurupt bats cleanup with a vicious close-out verse to anchor everything. All three turn in stellar performances that are sure to boost the LP's stock in the eyes of rap enthusiasts.
Big Boi has always had a knack for collaboration, and has worked with many of the biggest names in rap history during his tenure as a solo artist. Boomiverse is yet another release from the rapper that finds him tapping a few of his friends in rap, R&B and beyond to join him throughout the album's tracks. Of the songs we've heard from Boomiverse thus far, a few guests that pop up for appearances are Jeezy ("Kill Jill"), Adam Levine ("Mic Jack"), Gucci Mane and Pimp C ("In the South"), Killer Mike and Kurupt ("Made Man), Eric Bellinger ("Overthunk"), Sleepy Brown and CeeLo.