To not refer to Big Boi of OutKast as rap royalty is almost sacrilege. With his partner in crime Andre 3000, the star helped put Atlanta on the map as an epicenter of music. Not to mention his penchant for creating catchy songs and timeless quotables with his gritty, witty and charismatic wordplay…well, you get the point. Big Boi isn’t just “big” in name. But thankfully he’s not too big to come by NPR’s Tiny Desk and regale us with something old and new out of his bag of tricks. The star paid a visit to the NPR offices with an 8-piece band complete with horn players, background singers and a DJ, along with Sleepy Brown of Organized Noize to set it off for friends and fans.
“Good afternoon. We’re from the Planet of Stankonia to give you three big songs behind a tiny ass desk,” Big Boi joked before starting the concert with a performance of “So Fresh, So Clean.” While the band gave us the usual groove they added a little flavor with some horns towards the end to put some extra stank on the legendary funky bassline. “The tiny desk need a tiny fan,” Big Boi quipped about the heat in the NPR offices before dipping into the single from his latest album, Boomiverse, “All Night.” Finally, the Son of Chico Dusty closed out his performance with “The Way You Move.” The final song started with the familiar sound, but stripped down to just a bass guitar for the first verse, switching things up on the well-known hit. At the chorus, the familiar instrumentation kicked in with the whole band getting down and getting funky.
While we wish that Big Boi and company could have performed a few more songs from his extensive catalog, we’re not mad. The three selections were definitely highlights from Big Boi’s group and solo career. However, what shined most brightly during the performance was Big Boi’s personality and charisma, laughing and joking his way through the set. The natural chemistry he has with his band, including long-time collaborators he’s worked with for 20-plus years, didn’t hurt either. Big Boi kept the groove grooving, hips moving and hands clapping, but don’t just take our word for it, you can see and hear for yourself when you hit play below.