2012 has been a year that has really pushed the overall sound of hip hop to different lengths. From the emergence of Death Grips to the re-commercialization of storytelling, hip hop has, sonically, been pretty diverse in the past year. Big Boi, the legendary half of southern rap super-group Outkast, only contributed to this diversification through his December 11th release: Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. He enlists many different pop and electro indie acts, such as Little Dragon, Phantogram and Wavves, to create an interesting, yet cohesive sounding LP.
Big Boi successfully put together a hodgepodge of artists from different genres onto one project. The overall feel of the album has a electro-pop feel packaged with some dope raps and, of course, a splash of some Outkast-sounding melodies. Electro-pop groups Phantogram and Little Dragon both gained more traction in the indie music scene in 2011-2012 with critically acclaimed releases Eyelid Movies and Ritual Union, respectively. If you ever want to impress a pretty girl with your music taste, point them in the direction of one of those two LP’s. The tracks in which either of the groups are featured seem to be the most cohesive and experimental sounding. Each group sports insatiable female vocals, providing songs with catchy hooks while Big Boi flows masterfully through instrumentals.
There is no shortage of guest hip hop appearances, as A$AP Rocky and B.O.B grace the mic with some solid verses on standout songs: “Lines” and “Shoes for Running.” Rap fans are sure to gravitate towards the Atlanta anthem “In the A,” as southern legends T.I and Ludacris contribute verses to the monster of a track.
Big Boi definitely took on a huge challenge with setting out to create an album that sonically was nothing like any other project he has ever done in the past. As a result, there were some aspects of the album that just did not fit. Bosko’s hook on “Tremendous Damage” and Kid Cudi’s hook on “She Hates Me” sounded more cheesy than catchy. In addition, “Rasberries” with Mouche and Scar lacked any sort of meaningful body with an airy sounding instrumental and questionable vocals from Big Boi.
Overall, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors supply the listener with a bunch of tracks that gives you the inkling to get up and boogie. Personally, I would love to hear a number of songs featured on this album in lounge/club settings in lieu of the generic Top 40 playlists. The album as a whole has the potential to open many doors for hip hop acts in the future as it creates another lane for “pop rap” without following in the footsteps of Pitbull, Flo Rida or Nicki Minaj. Big Boi has notoriously been the member of Outkast to receive the least attention overall, but with his second successful LP, the hip hop community will be sure to highly anticipate anything he releases in the future.