Big Grams: Big Grams EP
Review by Josh Svetz
RIYL: Shabazz Palaces, Big Boi, Chance the Rapper and the Social Experiment
Recommended Tracks: Born To Shine, Lights On, Fell in the Sun, Put it on Her
Big Grams is a hip hop-electronic trio featuring former Outkast member, Big Boi and electronic rock duo, Phantogram.
Big Boi previously worked with the group on a couple songs off his last album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, announcing after the album release that he would be working with them on a project in the future.
That project is the seven track self-titled EP that features a blend of classic flow and experimental hip hop.
Big Boi and Phantogram play off each other well, as the album showcases both artists’ talents.
Throughout the album, Big Boi and Phantogram play around with multiple sounds. Whether it’s the indie-rock and rap infused “Lights On,” or the upbeat, pop-hip hop track “Fell in the Sun”, the trio experiment with a multitude of instrumentation. Guitars, synths, drums and even a few obscure instruments grace the production of the EP.
The stand-out track, “Born to Shine,” is a hard-hitting banger with a melodic hook that features excellent guest verses from arguably the best duo in hip hop Run The Jewels. Both Killer Mike and El-P bring superb flow to the song culminating into an excellent closing verse from Big Boi. The song showcases multiple experimental aspects with the spacey hook from Phantogram balancing with the heavy drums and pumping bass.
Sometimes the experimental aspects go a bit too off the rails with songs like “Goldmine Junkie,” which feature Phantogram member Sarah Barthel attempting to rap, and with the Skrillex produced “Drum Machine,” a solid song in its own right, but breaks up the cohesion of album.
Despite the setbacks, the EP features a quality often overlooked in full-collaborative projects.
Despite being the bigger name, Big Boi is comfortable letting Phantogram shine, which is the secret to the success of this project.
Many times on collaborations, rappers and artists will try to collaborate, but end up overshadowing each other. Here, Big Boi knows when to let them do their thing and they know when to complement Big Boi.
Overall, Big Grams is one of the best collaboration projects of the year and shows off two great artists’ abilities.
If an Outkast reunion isn’t in the cards then this is an acceptable consolation.