“Rap’s underground railroad but nothing’s above me,” Big Boi boasts in Boomiverse‘s opening track “Da Next Day.” But after 2012’s mediocre Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumours and a collaborative album with Phantogram which did not live up to the sum of its parts, Big Boi has something to prove on Boomiverse.
The aforementioned opener certainly comes out of the gate swinging. The Organized Noize-produced track is essentially a two-and-a-half minute intro but it sets up Boomiverse as a return to form. It leads into the single “Kill Jill” which is the album’s first real let down. With guest appearances from some big names in Atlanta hip hop, the track should be a banger but Killer Mike kicks off the track with a lackluster verse mixing his Bernie-bro politics and graphic misogyny. Big Boi’s verse would have fared much better except for a rogue line questioning Bill Cosby’s rape victims’ legitimacy. Jeezy is relegated to chorus duty only but his signature laugh is the highlight of the song.
“Mic Jack,” the album’s other single, fares a bit better. Adam Levine again proves himself to be a successful hip hop chorus singer (see “Heard’em Say,” “My Life”). The track has a electro-pop beat produced by DJ Khalil and DJ Dahi; the backdrop allows Big Boi to employ an esoteric flow and shine.
The plethora of guest appearances continue through the album. “In the South” allows Big Boi to return to his Southern roots with features from mush-mouthed superstar Gucci Mane and a posthumous appearance from Pimp C. Dr. Luke produced “All Night” is barely recognizable as Big Boi. The track features LunchMoney Lewis and completely takes on his style.
What really saves the album from completely losing itself is the best closing triology of a hip hop album since “Gone”, “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” and “Late” ended Kanye‘s Late Registration. “Made Man” gives Killer Mike a chance to redeem himself with verse that channels Ice Cube‘s “It Was a Good Day.” “Freakanomics” has the best beat on the album by far. Produced by Organized Noize and Ian Kirkpatrick, the track sounds like two-step version of Timbaland‘s “The Way I Are.” Sleepy Brown sings the track’s chorus to bring back that old school Outkast feel.
The album closes with Mannie Fresh produced “Follow Deez.” The track marks Killer Mike’s third guest appearance on Boomiverse and sees Curren$y get the last word on the album.
With so many major guests, it’s easy for Big Boi to get a bit lost on Boomiverse. The last three tracks really save the album. They close out the 12 song collection on a high note and leaves the listener with a great feeling.