“If ya’ll don’t know me by now, ya’ll ain’t never gonna know me,” Big Boi sighs at the opening of his bold new album Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. Dude’s got a point: While most everyone remains fixated on when, and if, the Atlanta MC will ever reunite with his erstwhile, Gillette razor-hawking Outkast partner, Andre 3000, Big Boi continues to quietly prove himself one of the game’s fiercest and most inventive artists on his own. 2010′s brilliant Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty – labeled as the MC’s first official solo effort, although 2003′s Speakerboxx essentially accomplished this – solidified his status as a fully independent artist. Now his latest finds the man fully emancipated and free to explore his wildest ambitions.
On Vicious Lies there’s no genre, collaborator or experiment too out-there for Daddy Fat Sax. What’s more impressive though, is that (nearly) all of it works. Whether he’s chopping it up with underrated indie-pop duo Phantogram on the electro drugged-out funk groove “CPU,” letting Wavves’ Nathan Williams go punk-apocalyptic on “Shoes For Running,” or unspooling Xanax-popping depression rap alongside Kid Cudi during “She Hates Me,” it’s Big Boi’s willingness to go for broke that sells this sometimes overstuffed album. Of course, it’s the man’s inimitable rhyme schemes – swift, off-kilter, full of word-whiplash (“because time and time again I gotta turn around and tell ‘em/ my cerebellum get way deeper than these other fellas”) – and the memorable turns from top-notch peers, A$AP Rocky, T.I., Ludacris, Killer Mike, and more that help lend this boundary-pushing project a needed measure of cohesion.