Big Boi from Outkast w/ Sleepy Brown and guests, The Cool Kids ft. Jay Worthy and Def3 ft. Bryx – Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC, 1/9/18
Words: John Zee
When I think about dynamic hip-hop duo’s, groups that immediately come to my mind are Method Man & Redman, UGK, Mobb Deep, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Public Enemy (Chuck D & Flava Flav) and so on. Everyone mentioned have cemented their way into the hip-hop history books, but there’s arguably no duo that has made more of a cultural impact than ATL’s André “André 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton.
Outkast single handedly changed the cultural landscape of hip-hop to shift peoples attention to the South where at the time the industry and everyone else was primarily focused on East Coast rap from New York, or out west in LA/Compton, California. What came from Big Boi and Andre’s collaborations was a string of classic albums and material such as their debut album Southerplayalisticadillacmuzik, ATLiens, Aquemini, Stankonia, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, and Idlewild which accompanied as the soundtrack to the duo’s musical film under the same title.
However it’s been their ability to break out as unique and well-established solo artists that’s been what’s kept Outkast in the public’s eyes well beyond the groups separation, which took place in 2007. While André 3000 went on to pursue acting and film, it’s largely been Big Boi whose kept the Outkast name and their distinctive sound alive and well in these modern times.
Touring in support of his new 12-track album titled Boomiverse, Big Boi aka Sir Luscious Left Foot, brought his Daddy Fat Saxxx Tour to the iconic Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver to give West Coast Canadian fans a taste of what that Southern bounce and ATL funk/808 beats is really all about. Joining Big Boi was none other than his Dungeon Family brethren and Organized Noize member Sleepy Brown, who many people will recognize as the melodic voice behind his hit single “The Way You Move” and behind the wheelz of steel was none other than, DJ Cutmaster Swiff. Also featured on this tour was supporting guests, The Cool Kids (Sir Michael Rocks & Chuck Inglish) who a made a point to bring out Vancouver (via LA) rapper Jay Worthy as a surprise guest to perform some new music from his recently released Burnout 3 mixtape. In addition to The Cool Kids, was none other than local to Vancouver (via Saskatchewan) artist Def3, who warmed the venue up by performing alongside producer/DJ, Bryx and Saxophonist Frank Lasby.
When it was time for Big Boi to hit the stage, the crowd was well ready to boogie and Antwan wasted no time serving up exactly what the Van City crowd came to expect. Launching into his set with the same beginning you’ll find on his new Boomiverse album, the “Next Day Intro” was immediately followed up by the well-recognized “ATLiens”, then “Skew It on the Bar-B” which originally features Wu-Tang member Raekwon. Other notable cuts from the Boomiverse were songs such as “Chocolate”, “Order Of Operation”, “Overthunk”, “In Da South” and “Kill Jill”, which features fellow Atlanta rappers Killer Mike (Run The Jewels) and Young Jeezy. Big Boi made sure to sprinkle in several other notable solo songs such as “Shutterbug”, “Shine Blockas” and of course “The Way You Move” featuring Sleepy Brown.
Now it goes without saying that you can’t have a Big Boi show and not expect to hear some of the classic Outkast songs that we’ve all grown to love and rejoice. Big Boi made sure not to disappoint in this area as he smashed his way through such memorable and iconic Outkast joints as “Rosa Parks”, “So Fresh & So Clean”, “Ms. Jackson” and “The Whole World”. Ending the show to a loud and raucous applause, Big Boi and Sleepy Brown came back for an encore and performed “International Players Anthem” for the Vancouver crowd before eventually calling it a night.
However I was surprised and a little disappointed not to hear any songs from their debut Outkast album, Southerplayalisticadillacmuzik. Maybe Big Boi feels fans no longer want to hear these songs anymore, or maybe he just simply feels so far removed from their debut album now that he’s 43 years old and was only 19 when it first came out in 1994. Whatever the case, if there was any moment of disappointment to come from the evening, it was this not hearing any songs from this album which just happens to be 1 of my personal favorite hip-hop albums of all time. With that being said, I didn’t expect to hear a slew of cuts from this LP, but to not hear at least 1 song such as “Playa’s Ball”, or his verse from “Git Up, Git Out” or even “Hootie Hoo” from Southerplaya.. was a bit of a let down.
All in all it was a fantastic show that allowed anyone in attendance to witness a man who has always marched by the beat of his own drum. When I think of Big Boi and Outkast, words such as original, creative, unique and longevity all come to mind. Seeing in the flesh a person whose been able to withstand a healthy career in the music industry/hip-hop that spans over 25+ years, is impressive to say the least. With no sense of slowing down in sight, I hope this isn’t the last time we see Big Boi in Vancouver, and who knows.. Maybe next time he’ll be joined by Andre 3000 for an Outkast reunion. Hey, a guy can dream right?
“Well everybody play dumb, but there’s some that succumb/And fall victim, I will overcome any hurdle or obstacle that’s in my path” — Big Boi