Big Boi – Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors

Big Boi – Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors

big boi Vicious Lies and Dangerous RumorsBig Boi – Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors
Def Jam: 2012

Many of the greats, if they haven’t fallen off, or been cut short by untimely death, have at least one album that sticks out like the plus-size contestant on America’s Next Top Model. It’s usually a shift towards a more popular sound or an experimental exercise. If we just stick to rap Common has Electric Circus and UMC, The Roots have Phrenology, Yasiin Bey has The New Danger, and Lupe has Lasers.

Well, Big Boi can now join them with Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors. An album that arrives near the end of an excellent year of rap music and hits like, well, um, a raw food restaurant in an urban area being gentrified. Two years after the excellent Sir Lucious Left Foot, the funk has been replaced by moody but “bright” EDM. Also while the gangsterisms and pimpology still exist in the lyrics, the sonic component of that content has all but evaporated quicker than rumors of a Three Stacks solo.

Let’s start with the good. “In The A” sounds like two dozen militarized elephants stomping through the streets of downtown Atlanta with T.I., Big Boi and Luda as their generals. All three rap as if their platinum plaques and accolades are still in the distant future. It’s easily one of 2012’s best songs. Opening track “The Thickets” is that classic DF sound full of syrupy soul and organic programming made for lifted light night rides through the city. “Raspberries” is a steady inaudible romp about strippers with plopping drums, water textures, and barren synths that Big Boi, Mouche and Scar warmly croon over. “Lines”, featuring A$AP Rocky and Phantogram, is also a moment where swag-rap and indie electro-pop blend together nicely.

Littered throughout the album, though, are just some down right WTF moments. “She Hates Me”, “CPU”, “Mama Told Me”, and “Tremendous Damage” are all exercises in competent pop that come across contrived or awkward. Big Boi almost sounds like a guest on his own songs, rapping about trite topics over-earnestly or half-heartedly. Just glancing at the song’s guest: Kid Cudi, Kelly Rowland and Bosko, shows that these songs aimed for radio plays, but they’re not even the sound of what’s popular for the next 36 seconds. By the time “Shoes For Running” ends, the rapping aspect of the album all but disappears into the ether of our confused head spaces.

Furthermore, while folks may find songs like “Apple of My Eye”, “Thom Pettie”, and “Objectum Sexuality” (Christ just think of the title of the latter, this is Big Boi we talkin’ ‘bout) as catchy, they are far from experimental. It’s nothing more than contemporary indie pop with new wave and electronic flourishes that have Big Boi as an ornament to their sounds; it’s a damn shame, too, ’cause Killer Mike crushes his verse on “Thom Pettie”.

The album ends with the more normative Big Boi stylings of “Gossip” and “She Said OK”, but the’re the bonus cuts almost as a gift to old fans. Plain and simply, I don’t come to Big Boi for this type of shit. I like my Little Dragon sans rapping just fine and my Big Boi gangster pimp raps full or trunk rattling slappers. I understand why some are very happy with this album, but personally it’s a disappointment. Not to mention that the album never sounds and expresses much of its paranoid title. Save a handful of songs, much of this is heading towards the desktop trash bin.

2.5 out of 5


  1. Matthias Scherer
    Dec 28, 2012 @ 12:22:00

    No problem man, I know what you mean about the comments section and I’m glad I’m not exposed to that 24/7.

    I see where you’re coming from with the ‘romp’ choice of words, but in tandem with ‘inaudible’ it read a bit awkward.

  2. :(
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 18:01:00

    You think ASAP Rocky killed it? There was quite literally no depth to anything he said, and mediocre rapping. I used to value this website reviews pretty high- and although I have a different overall opinion of the album, I won’t disagree with yours- but ASAP Rocky’s verse was ass. Did you even hear it?
    If you need a reminder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYLKWTwMSE8

  3. Daman
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 10:50:00

    As usual, nobody wants to spit after Luda!

  4. Le Magnifique
    Dec 21, 2012 @ 21:31:00

    Francisco you didn’t get anything duuuude
    that album is a straight banger
    Big Boi still moving forward!!!!

  5. frank_be
    Dec 21, 2012 @ 19:44:00

    first off Matthias thank you for disagreeing like a normal human being. really i appreciate it. some of the shit i’ve dealt with this year in the comments section has been retarded.

    all i meant by “inaudible romp” was that at the end of the song Big Boi reveals that they aren’t even saying words on “raspberries” beyond the hook, thus the inaudible, which in retrospect wasn’t the greatest adjective to use. after all the words i spill during the year coming up with slick/clever/original shit to say gets tough. romp means playful carefree and boisterous, that song really feels that way to me. like they just got in the studio and let loose on some fun singin’ shit

    i def agree Luda, KRIT, KM and ASAP kilt shit and I’m glad that regardless of my views, you hold your own. this shit aint gospel just another man’ opinion.


  6. frank_be
    Dec 21, 2012 @ 19:36:00

    Nah man, I’m in the Phrenology is borderline wack contigent. I prefer the Tipping Point. Phrenology is too pretty for me.

  7. frank_be
    Dec 21, 2012 @ 19:34:00

    now, even though I personally don’t like Phrenology overall, it is a decent to good LP, but it was the first time as Roots fans an album was divisive critically. it wasn’t that front to back ‘Notic we had grown accustom to from DYWM to TFA. and it did change their sound like those other LPs i mentioned, whether people loved or hated them. just the change was more the point

  8. Đ℞ΞV/
    Dec 21, 2012 @ 17:26:00

    Phrenology is dope as fuck Water, The Seed 2.0. i don’t know why people don’t like that album. i know Malik left but still I find The Roots to be one of the most consistently quality discography for hip hop.

  9. Zach Cole
    Dec 21, 2012 @ 17:03:00

    Oh and for The Roots, I think you meant ‘The Tipping Point’. Phrenology is fucking amazing.

  10. Zach Cole
    Dec 21, 2012 @ 17:01:00

    Yeah, I have to say I really didn’t vibe with this one either.

  11. Matthias Scherer
    Dec 21, 2012 @ 10:55:00

    How can a song be an ‘inaubible romp’? Other than that, harsh but fair review – I think that with ‘Mama Told Me’ and ‘She Hates Me’ the experiments to branch out into a softer, wave-ier sound successful, while I agree that ‘Shoes For Running’ and ‘Tremendous Damage’ are all over the place.

    The guests mostly deliver (Ludacris, Big K.R.I.T., Killer Mike, A$AP Rocky) and while I miss the let-loose Big Boi from Sir Lucious…, I do enjoy this album for what it is. 3.5/5 in my book.

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