Big Boi Presents…Got Purp? Vol. II
ig Boi, whose insistent John Henry flow grounded the now mythical Speakerboxxx/Love Below, has all the impulses his ascetic foil, Andre, lacks. As Andre slips farther into his quirky Morrissey and doo-wop fascinations, Big Boi has stayed in the concrete, “conventional” spheres of rap influences. Sadly, this was not the way to direct those impulses.
Purple Ribbon All-Stars, a divergent selection of talent still gelling as a clique, and their major-label mix-tape, Got Purp? Vol.II has borrowed precious little of their mentor’s aesthetic sensibilities. The work here is frustratingly anti-climatic, lingering between Killer Mike’s hoss-heavy boom the fittingly Ambien-caliber hooks of Sleepy Brown, and often shows a level of clattering, rudder-less self-indulgence. So why the hell did Mr. Patton put his name near the final product? Could someone as controlled (often excessively so) as Big Boi really be the patriarchal force behind this?
Because the album is really just a single worth salivating over (“Kryptonite”) hung out to dry beside a tundra of mostly forgettable forays into latte-deep R&B;, it’s more generous, and easier, to see this as a major label’s (Virgin) bold stab at the rickety bridge of “major label mix tape.” It’s kind of a posse record. Its back curtain of washed-out Organized Noise joints is capital letter ‘S’ safe. The new R&B; hook mercenaries, Scar and Janelle Monae, just parrot their parts. Their big shot at cinematic soul “Time Will Reveal” caves in like a first timer’s cake. The whole album is vaguely “southern.” It’s not really a star vehicle for anyone and the melodies are clubhouse approved: lithe, lounging strings quickly grilled alongside cavalier, closed-fist percussion. This reading places obviously far more of the record’s deficiencies on Virgin’s shoulders instead of Big Boi’s.
Sure, the back end of the disc has some bruising, bread and butter (“Shit Ya Drawers”), but is Sleepy Brown (so nakedly past his expiration date) the type of artist who should follow up “Kryptonite” on any album? The instant the half-dozen blissful/baked breakdowns and communal zeal of that hit single are melting into Sleepy’s go-around, the bowl is cashed and everyone is up looking for some Fritos. No casual listener has any reason to stick around past track four.
Why is Big Boi trying so damn hard? He’s spitting out completely beige guest spots (“Girlfight”) and tossing together a clique with precious little star power without the common decency to anchor more than a couple songs. Without him, Killer Mike and Bubba Sparxxx, obviously the group’s two lieutenants, combine to appear on of the album’s 22 songs. They also can’t stop the slow bleeding boredom. Big Boi is an absentee father for this record; he’s not around enough to helm a full verse, let alone a maiden posse album.
Reviewed by: Evan McGarvey
Reviewed on: 2006-01-09