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Friday, May 17, 2024

Record Routine: Big Boi and Phantogram find gold on collaborative 'Big Grams'

Many times collaborations between great artists don’t work. This isn’t because of a lack of musical ability or poor production, but instead the artists are focused on their style or outperforming the other and not about the mix as a whole. Other times, artists work so impeccably well together that you almost forget it’s a collaboration and look forward to the new group’s next project. Big Grams, the hip-hop project from Big Boi and Phantogram, falls into the latter category with their debut, self-titled EP.

Big Boi, who made his name working with Andre 3000 in Outkast, first teamed up with the indie duo on his second solo LP, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors in 2012. The electronic pair were featured on three tracks, and the strong chemistry led to a full project with “Big Grams.” Though it’s short, with seven songs clocking in at 26 minutes, each track builds on the last, and the electricity is undeniable. 

The EP’s diversity is the clearest indicator of Big Grams’ ability to keep moving forward. The spacey beat on “Run for Your Life” give the project an indie feel, while the classic hip-hop snare on “Fell In the Sun” provides the perfect background for the stand-out track.  

Big Boi gives Run The Jewels the reins on “Born to Shine,” and Killer Mike steals the show, adding evidence to my new theory that Phantogram are actually better hip-hop producers than they are an electronic duo. Skrillex jumps in the booth for the last track, “Drum Machine,” and, like most Skrillex projects, there’s just too many things going on to enjoy it. 

Overall, “Big Grams” is a strong collaboration among three talented artists. It may not be a lyrical masterpiece, but it is, if nothing else, a blast for the ears.

Grade: B

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