By Andy Goh
June 1, 2018
Fans of the iconic Atlanta-based hip-hop duo OutKast will likely wait a long time for a reunion between silver-tongued spitter Big Boi and the eccentric but elusive André 3000. Still, the groundbreaking and genre-defying music of OutKast lives on in the electric live sets of a solo Big Boi performance. The Aquarius rapper also known as Antwan Patton (aka Sir Lucious Left Foot) continues the OutKast tradition, as his Daddy Fat Saxx tour rolled into Charlotte’s Underground Wednesday night.
Big Boi has always been revered as one of hip-hop’s top MCs since the debut of OutKast with the 1994 album Southerplayalisticcadillacmuzik. His style, displaying sharp flows and creative wordplay above and beyond his peers, helped created a prominent hip-hop scene in the south, when most in his era dismissed the third coast as lacking quality lyricists. Through the early 2000s when OutKast was in their prime, they were one of the few artists able to reach widespread commercial success while maintaining their artistic integrity. Despite having an entire generations worth of OutKast’s catalog to rest on, Big Boi’s music has continued to evolve and adapt over three solo albums, while still remaining true to his own style.
An ever-aware showman, Big Boi opened his set with two OutKast classics, “Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac)” and “Rosa Parks,” which quickly whipped the crowd into a frenzy. From the first rhymes, the energy was set at a high level that was sustained throughout the entire night. Big Boi, whose tour is also in support of his 2017 album Boomiverse, peppered seven total songs from that album into the set as “Kill Jill,” “In the South,” and “Mic Jack” made up the backbone of the set.
While Big Boi’s solo material probably isn’t the main reason why fans filled the intimate Underground stage, it does prove his endurance as an artist. None of his non-OutKast songs felt like they were out of place or dampened the energy. Songs like “Shutterbug,” “Shine Blockas” and the boisterous “In the A” kept the momentum strong all night long, and the crowd never stopped jumping. Because these songs are true to Big Boi as an artist, it allows his OutKast material to stay fresh and relevant.
That relevancy was clearly on display when Big Boi did break out the OutKast classics. The crowd energy was amped as the house PA banged out essentials like “Ms. Jackson,” “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” and “The Way You Move.” During one stretch, Big Boi played “Ghetto Musick” and “B.O.B” back to back and the crowd erupted into a frenzy of sweating, moving bodies. We were even treated to a rare performance of “Can’t Wait” by long-time friend and original Organized Noize producer Sleepy Brown, who was on stage with Big Boi for the entire set.
Big Boi clearly appreciated the energy in Charlotte, as he interacted with the crowd throughout the night, taking selfies with the audience and displaying a bounce that belies the stereotype of a 40-year-old rapper. After wrapping up his set, Big Boi returned to the stage for a single encore, the perfectly chosen “Int’l Player’s Anthem (I Choose You).” The song, which opens with one of André 3000’s most famous verses, is bookended by a stellar verse from Big Boi who wrapped up the show in the best possible way: together with his inseparable partner in rhyme.
So while fans may not be able to count on another reunion between Big Boi and André 3000 anytime soon, the legacy of OutKast, the Dungeon Family and Organized Noize are alive and well thanks to Big Boi’s tireless solo efforts. A unique artist that both honors the past and continues to push his own music forward, Charlotte was treated to a true hip-hop legend on Wednesday night, worth every bit of staying up late on a school night.
Check out the remaining 2018 tour dates for Big Boi.