By Daniel Paiz
It’s time to wake up with A Week’s Worth Review of Big Boi and Sleepy Brown’s The Big Sleepover. Rap fans can finally stop anticipating this album! These two members of Atlanta’s Dungeon Family are frequent collaborators, as well as artists who tour together a lot. Due to that time together, allegedly this project materialized as a result. Get ready, because this body of work might surprise more than you expected.
Remember, not all surprises are good.
Plenty of anticipation…
It’s been over at least one year since the Big Sleepover was announced as a collaborative album. Each single release fermented buzz, as well as questions about a release date by fans and writers alike. By the time December 10th hit, over half of the 15 tracks were already out. The seven unreleased tracks largely were Big Boi and Sleepy Brown songs, save for one Killer Mike feature.
Sonically this project delivers everything you are hoping for and more in a Big Boi project. There are Organized Noize productions. Futuristic sounds hovering around that timeless sound quality listeners come to expect from Chico Dusty. Tracks that you don’t tire of in terms of flawless instrumentation, grooving bass lines and fantastic musicians and singers. This album is a production master class for all producers out there, whether you make Hip Hop or something else.
The music quality and track selection are superb, as fluid as any previous release. But, there are also rhymes accompanying these lush soundscapes. Those rhymes pair with the music quite well. That’s simultaneously a blessing and a curse.
…that feels like there’s something missing
It pains this listener to say that these verses are not what I was hoping for. Big Boi is usually one of the most consistent emcees on Earth. Consistency is pretty much how you keep bringing listeners back for more. But, what’s missing from the ATLiens rapper here are those occasional lines that get stuck in your head long after the next song has started.
“We The Ones” likely has the best Big Boi verses on the album, and it’s mainly due to the subject matter at hand on this song. Perhaps other songs having that feeling of no direction contributes to the overall rhyme quality level I’m hearing on this album. The one section that has stuck in my head so far is from the opening verse from Animalz:
Now do you really love your mate the way you think you say?
You do? Well, that’s a beautiful thing when you can get that
Brand new Kit Kat, never breaking up
Keep the bars intact just like I massage the trackBig Boi, Animalz
The simple imagery keeps lounging about my head even as the song moves forward. Love being a new Kit-Kat bar is also clever symbolism for Black love, but it also might not be that deep either. Either way, there just aren’t as much of these kinds of lines roaming about this album.
All of the features and contributing musicians on this project did a wonderful job. Sonically this tape is both funky and smooth at the same time. Major props to the production team of Organized Noize and all the other producers. Killer Mike breaks the monotony, while features like Big Rube and KAYi play their parts well. The main characters of this project however, have some explaining to do.
A fair warning for listeners new to Big Boi as a solo artist: he honestly has a great solo catalogue outside of the OutKast library. However, this is the first solo project I’ve heard from him that doesn’t feel like a step forward. Sleepy Brown is also very talented, but feels one-dimensional throughout. These two together seem to have no conceptual compass on this project.
To be fair it’s not a conceptual album, but rather one focused on the energy and vibes these two give listeners. It’s a really good album sonically. Lyrically, it’s very safe and even underwhelming at points. For the bulk of you looking to hear good music, you might not mind the lack of depth. For the handful of you like myself wanting more from the rhymes, lower those expectations.