“The album is done,” Big Boi told the assembled masses at the Austin Music Hall shortly after 1 a.m. this morning. It was a theme the OutKast kingpin would return to repeatedly throughout his show. Maybe he thought we needed reassuring, or maybe he wanted to reassure himself. His solo debut, Sir Luscious Left Foot, has been pushed back too many times to count. Big Boi told the crowd that Sir Luscious Left Foot will arrive in “June or July” last night, but a rep for his label tells me that the album has no confirmed release date. At this point, it’s reasonable to start wondering whether it will ever really come out, whether it’s done or not.
Despite his frequent references to newer material, Big Boi’s actual set last night leaned heavily on selections from OutKast’s well-stocked cabinet of wildly innovative hits. “Rosa Parks,” “ATLiens,” “Skew it on the Bar-B,” “So Fresh, So Clean,” and “Elevators (Me & You)” haven’t aged a day in over a decade. The show’s peak came when Big Boi laced into the mighty “B.O.B.”, inspiring protegee Janelle Monae to dash out on stage and dance a manic two-step shuffle to that diabolical beat.
Was it all just a nostalgia trip? Tough to call when those ‘Kast cuts are still light-years ahead of anything in present-day rap. Sure, it would have been even nicer to see Big Boi performing them along with OutKast partner Andre 3000, whom he acknowledged in a perfunctory shout-out toward the end of his set. But seeing him perform those songs with most of his old vigor, the question isn’t really whether Big Boi has another solid album in him. It’s how much longer we can afford to wait for it.