Big Boi had every right to be upset coming out at the sold-out Wonder Ballroom last night.
The Atlanta-repping OutKast alum had just watched his Georgia Bulldogs lose the National Championship in heartbreaking fashion an hour before. Three songs in, a speaker blew onstage. If he'd been in the audience, he would've had even more reason to grit his teeth. The audaciously bad mix made it sound like he was rapping into a trashcan, and the stage lights washed out his video projections.
But if there's one thing everyone knows about Antwan André Patton, it's that he remains cooler than cool—ice cold, even. Unflappability is his brand, and he wasn't about to let less-than-ideal sound nor the goddamned Crimson Tide break his stride. Joined by equally imperturbable singer-hypeman Sleepy Brown, the 42-year-old retained the signature smooth charisma that could sell a milkshake to a polar bear in a snowstorm (or something like that).
Still, the show had issues, not all of them technical. The medleys of abbreviated OutKast hits buffering his solo stuff often felt rushed, sometimes criminally so—he sprinted from "ATLiens" to "Skew It on the Bar-B" to "Rosa Parks" so fast there was no time absorb any of it. And while fresher material like "Shutterbugg" are heavy-hitters in their own right, his new album, Boomiverse, is his weakest so far, and it showed. Delivering it all with a veteran's deft touch, he still came off smelling like roses—but as his partner once advised, best not sniff too closely.
All photos by Henry Cromett.