When it comes to hip hop, very few musicians are as visually and musically theatric as Outkast. So it’s surprising that Big Boi’s one-off solo show in the capital is something of a subtle, simple and nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Unlike his flamboyant full band set at Glastonbury a few days later, Big Boi takes to the stage at Heaven with a stripped-back ensemble: DJ, hype man, and a backdrop displaying video projections. And while the setting was far from glamorous, it actually worked marvelously in his favour, echoing a time in the Nineties when rap was raw and slightly less pop-influenced than some of the genre’s contemporary movements.
Opening with ‘Bust’, a string of classic Outkast tracks soon follow. ‘Ms. Jackson’, ‘Rosa Parks’, ‘ATLiens’, ‘B.O.B’, and ‘So Fresh And So Clean’, are delivered with a neat ease to the adulation of the audience. But as popular as the group’s work is, it’s Big Boi’s solo material from his critically-acclaimed ‘Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty’ album that receives the most of the crowd’s adulation.
For the final encore, Big Boi’s hype man calls upon a bevy of women to join them on stage for a rendition of ‘Tangerine’. And while the venue’s basic facilities made for a slightly awkward setting for such an act, Big Boi manages to pull it off, adding more life to the performance.
For a man that has been making music for nearly two decades, Big Boi’s performance just goes to show how relevant he is to hip hop today, as he was back in 1993. And while there’s no doubt he can hold his ground as a solo artist (the sheer brilliance of ‘Sir Lucious Left Foot’ proving that), you just can’t help but hope that another Outkast album is on the horizon.