When people ask me for my guilty pleasure, I usually refer them to Sir Lucious Left Foot… The Son of Chico Dusty, but I don’t feel very guilty about it. It’s a conversation starter because people don’t expect me to bring up Big Boi, but the love I have for this record overcomes any assumptions people may have about my taste in rap. Big Boi took his time writing this record, which he says verbatim at one point, comparing the pressure of releasing his debut LP to the SAT. His efforts shine through and this album has proved to be far more than a guilty pleasure- it’s a timeless masterpiece.
The very first track on the album (after the intro) is Antwan Andre Patton’s origin story, but also introduces a subtle political dialogue that still resonates today. Yes, his self-congratulatory metaphors are fun (and frequent) and it does get gritty with talk of “hanging nooses,” but these two stanzas are what drive me to write about this album today:
“So who you voting for
Republican or Democrat
Don’t say it doesn’t matter
Cuz that’s how they stole the last one
Assassin’s bullet might be waiting for Obama
Do you think they’ll have a brother
Before Billy’s baby mama?”
As we notice on many other tracks, social justice is something that Patton fights for in his music, “spray[ing] what’s on [his] mind to educate and entertain.” But this political sequence purely genius. Back up: this record was released in 2010, but Patton had been working on it for two years (at least). This track was presumably written before a Democratic candidate had been chosen for the 2008 election, as he speculates about Obama’s chances of beating Hillary Clinton. Big Boi is a stubborn Libertarian, so I took this very superficially as just a comment on white America not being able to handle a Black president. At most, I found it funny that Patton hadn’t taken any of these lyrics out; after all, when I first heard this track, Obama had already been our president for over a year.
But I have only recently realized that I was off base. Patton doesn’t really care about whether you’re voting for a Republican or a Democrat, because he is most likely voting for neither himself. (Let’s not forget the infamous encounter he had with a salty white woman who “congratulated” him on Obama’s re-election- “I voted for Gary Johnson,” he snapped.) Revisiting this record in the middle of another election cycle with Hillary Clinton has got me thinking that Patton was not focused on Obama at all, but rather Clinton’s perceived infallibility.
Today, Clinton is rivaled by Bernie Sanders, a man whose platform is backed by a lifetime of advocacy and honesty. And still Big Boi’s concerns ring true. We could replace “a brother” with “Bernie” and the sentiment of the line remains intact (and even keeps consistent the alliteration!). Regardless of the issues, Hillary Clinton’s celebrity causes her to rise to the top, a familiar face and name for people that haven’t embraced the nuance of the grassroots Vermont Senator.
I hope Big Boi is finally writing the sequel to Sir Lucious that he keeps teasing. Ideally we’ll get a “Daddy Fat Sax pt II” from his perspective as an ardent Sanders supporter:
‘HRC’s bought and sold while Trump brainwashing the masses
The only one I trust got crazy hair and glasses’