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Big Boi’s “Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty”

Although I am probably the most die-hard OutKast fan you’ll ever meet (I even wrote my B.A. on them. Beat that!), I can’t say I was really looking forward to the release of Sir. Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, Big Boi’s first (or second, if you count Speakerboxxx) solo release. Don’t misunderstand me though; only a moron would assume that Luscious Leftfoot would be anything less than solid, and I’ve always believed that, contrary to popular perception, Speakerboxxx is every bit as good of an album as The Love Below, if not better. But of course, what I really want is an OutKast album, and when I heard that record label politics resulted in Andre 3000 not even being approved as a featured guest on the album (thanks a-fucking-lot Jive Records), my expectations sunk further.

Fortunately, I was being completely ridiculous and stupid. Because Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty is brilliant; it’s the funkiest, sleaziest, stankiest, most sonically adventurous and meticulously crafted rap album you’ll hear all year. Seriously.

And why wouldn’t that be the case? After Jive Records arbitrarily claimed that the album was “too artsy” a couple years ago, Big Boi’s only option was to find a new label home from which to release the album, and continue to perfect the songs in the meantime. And so Big Boi tweaked the shit out of Sir Luscious Left Foot; every song has incredible depth and was clearly labored over. It all makes for an incredibly rich listening experience, in which ever song is a full-fledged statement requiring your undivided attention. In other words, this is a monster of an album, jam-packed with an intoxicating musicality and fascinating twists and turns throughout.

And some if these songs just flat-out bang. Lead single “Shutterbug” boasts one of the dopest, funkiest beats I have ever heard, courtesy of Scott Storch. Meanwhile the Gucci Mane-assisted “Shine Blockas” is sampling at its finest, in the vein of “Throw Some D’s” and “International Players Anthem,” with an epic, grandiose beat and a laidback, oddly triumphant chorus from Gucci.

There are so many highlights here, I could seriously go on for another 2,000 words. “Tangerine,” featuring Khujo and an unstoppable T.I., is the most off-kilter strip club anthem I’ve ever heard, beginning with grungy, alternative rock guitar before ominously morphing into a sparse, funky, bass-heavy jam. There are tons of guests on Sir Luscious Left Foot, and not one of these appearances feels forced or uninspired; everyone from clever newcomer Yelawolf on the Andre 3000-produced “You Ain’t No DJ,” to Jamie Foxx on the surprisingly Lil Jon-produced “Hustle Blood” bring their A-game. The most outstanding collaboration may be “Be Still,” featuring an earnest, masterful performance from the always-brilliant Janelle Monae.

If there is a standout however, that award goes to the downright oppressive “General Patton,” a unrelentingly monstrous track, boasting an opera choir, larger-than-life horns, skittering percussion, and Big Boi in rare form, spitting raw shit like “Emergency vehicle last seen fleeing from the scene/Nigga take one for the team/Now he’s bleeding from the spleen” with a sneer and a smile. The song ends with a menacing spoken word outro from Big Rube, with the choir and horns still blaring in the background. It’s an incredible amalgam of sounds and it is most definitely Big Boi’s finest moment here.

But choosing a standout doesn’t do the rest of this album justice. Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty is an intoxicating, enthralling musical experience, definitely modern and of its time, while still like absolutely nothing else out there. In other words, classic OutKast.

Absolutely flawless and unquestionably essential.