The Deal: Half of Outkast releases first real solo album after years of delays and anticipation.
The Good: Signature Big Boi, funky, soulful and experimental. Still expanding on an already-honed flow, he flaunts a lyrical flair, complexity and precision few could fuck with from the start. There's the standard hypersexualized innuendo nestled in every verse spreading the gospel of shoe models and ATL shake joints, but overlooked are the cleverly placed political swipes and topical lyrics that let you know he's keenly aware of what's really going on. Familiar Outkast collaborators, Organized Noize and Sleepy Brown ("Turns Me On") shine alongside Atlanta mainstays like T.I., Khujo Goodie ("Tangerine") and Gucci Mane ("Shine Blockas"). Rising stars Janelle Monae ("Be Still"), B.o.B ("Night Night"), Yelawolf ("You Ain't No DJ") and Vonnegutt ("Follow Us") come to play in their chance to rock alongside an icon. "For Yo Sorrows" with legends George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic and Too Short felt special even if the track itself was about as peculiar as any. Thank God the CD came with lyrics because the flow will lose you at least once, guaranteed.
The Bad: "Hustle Blood" with Jamie Foxx evoked little more than the urge to skip for me, but it was interesting to hear a Lil Jon-produced track under 100 BPM's. While Big Boi's Outkast other half, Andre 3000, did produce one song, there was an "OK, where's Dre?" feeling as you got toward the end of the album, but alas, no 3 Stacks. Skits were hit or miss, either hilarious or a waste of our collective time.
The Verdict: Country-like livermush on Sundays yet as cool and universally appealing as ever. Not a bad way to kill 57 minutes over and over again.