Atlanta-born and raised artist Big Boi and one-half of one of the most successful hip-hop groups of all time – OutKast – included Sydney on the worldwide tour of his latest album, the June 2017 released “Boomiverse”. Playing at Sydney’s Metro Theatre, the5to9life team were treated to his midweek show.
Their strong influence on the hip-hop genre throughout the years made such an everlasting impression while growing up during the early 2000’s. To this day, every time I hear their 2002 Grammy Award-winning hit ‘Ms. Jackson’ from their universally acclaimed 2000 release “Stankonia”, it takes me back to standing in Castle Hill Towers’ Sanity Store at the age of 11 wishing I had enough money to buy that album. The time before we could easily stream music from our smartphones, where in order to listen to your favourite music you were limited to buying singles (albums were too expensive for childhood budgets) or recording your favourite songs to a videotape from music shows such as Rage or Video Hits. All these memories came flooding back when I entered the Metro Theatre for Big Boi’s “Boomiverse” tour show.
Besides his collaborative work through OutKast with Andre Benjamin (Andre 3000), he has managed to also release four studio albums as a solo artist since 2010 to respectable sales and critical acclaim. The atmosphere of the crowd at the Metro Theatre awaiting Big Boi was different to any other Sydney hip-hop audience I’ve seen before. There was a different mixture of various age groups, but all enjoying themselves and most importantly the beats.
Approaching the mainstage 15 minutes before he was due to appear on stage, the hype DJ played a mixture of hits from A$AP Ferg, Childish Gambino, Post Malone and Chamillionaire. The stage was already set with the backdrop featuring vibrant large letters ‘Big Boi’ in the famous OutKast logo insignia.
The first time I ever saw Big Boi perform was when he surprised the crowd at Theophilus London’s 2011 Oxford Art Factory show, appearing in a co-ordinated camouflage get up with gold chains, surprising us by dropping in (London had been opening his Australian tours) with his entourage and performing ‘Ms. Jackson’ and ‘B.O.B’. This also resulted in a member of entourage happily pouring Grey Goose into members of the ecstatic audience’s mouths (myself included). The energy I saw on display 7 years ago had not changed in that time.
As a force to be reckoned with, he entered the Metro Theatre stage with all his power opening with the title track from “Boomiverse”, ‘Da Next Day’ while an energetic and excited crowd grooved along enthusiastically. After he hyped the crowd by declaring “We flew 20 hours to get here so we’re going to make it count!”
After being in the industry for 20 years, Big Boi explained that he would be performing his discography in chronological order to which the crowd responded to with a hearty cheer, giving him the perfect opportunity to drop OutKast’s 1996 classic, ‘ATLiens’. Playing a great variety of his solo hits, including most of the tracks from his latest album “Boomiverse” to his breakout hit ‘Shutterbugg’ from his debut album, the 2010 “Sir Lucious Left Foot…The Son of Chico Dusty” to his critically acclaimed hits as being part of OutKast including ‘Rosa Parks,’ ‘So Fresh, So Clean,’ ‘Ms Jackson,’ ‘The Whole World,’ ‘GhettoMusick,’ ‘B.O.B.,’ and ‘The Way You Move,’ Big Boi definitely gave the crowd what they wanted.
It was an extremely enthusiastic performance matched with funky dance choreography and a trip down memory lane, taking us all back to a simpler time in our life when we were first introduced to him as one half of OutKast to now knowing him as a strong solo performer and talented lyricist.
After his performance, he thanked the crowd and walked off stage as everyone was still buzzing from his set. The Metro Theatre lights turned off as everyone was trying to bargain with the American rapper for an encore. Suddenly the familiar and soothing voice of Andre 3000 echoed throughout the theatre as the music video for UGK’s 2007 hit featuring OutKast ‘International Players Anthem (I Choose You)’ played – with Big Boi jumping back on stage to perform his lyrics from the classic hip-hop hit. The audience rejoiced in his decision and partied along happily.
For someone who’s been in the industry this long, it’s great to see he still performs with such energy that makes anyone in the crowd want to join him on stage to dance along. It was surreal to finally see one of the artists from my childhood, whose singles I still own in my Powerpuff Girls CD holder.
Big Boi definitely brought the “Boomiverse” to Sydney on Wednesday night.
14th March 2018
Review by Talica Tamanitoakula
Photography by Ishan Sharma