Last weekend Big Boi and Sleepy Brown delivered – somewhat anticipated, based on which music community you ask – Big Sleepover, a collaboration album between the longtime collaborators. We’ve heard them since the dawn of their career, but never a complete project conceived and created by these two artists. After the modest Boomiverse by Big Boi in 2017 and the solid Sex, Drugs, & Soul, Big Sleepover surprises by bringing a consistent tone that embodies a sonic theme. It isn’t your typical collaboration album, as in it isn’t focused on solely their strengths, and instead, taking it upon themselves to make sure the music stays in mind.
Big Sleepover is like picturing a wavelength with some minor rough edges. The progression in style and tone shift in sectors with slight eloquence. It begins with Big Boi elevating his platform – with a combination of smooth but heavy percussion and bass overlying the production to give us these eloquent braggadocio raps. It spreads the energy in the first few tracks, delivering electrifying verses that overshadow its production, which can loosely carry few and minor redundancies, especially in the percussion. However, Big Boi and Sleepy Brown craft these tracks with as much finesse as possible, so when the Killer Mike laced “Lower Case (no cap)” begins to end it, the transition to its sultry and sexy side – Sleepy Brown’s strengths. It isn’t the first time the two have made songs of this nature, especially when you add the dancefloor vibe. “Turn Me On” and “The Way You Move” are two potent examples of that unison from past collaborations, and it strikes with back-to-back jabs on “Intentions,” featuring Cee-Lo Green.
“Intentions,” like “Turn Me On” and “The Way You Move,” embolden its straightforward approach to its subject matter, only implementing that layer of sexiness. It’s reflective of the eloquence of pop in a generalized sense, as these find themselves with grooves made to reel in your ears for multiple listens. It did with me – “Intentions,” along with “Animalz,” have the right touches to keep the grooves flowing on the dance floor. However, that isn’t always their intention, as their variety spreads from somewhat far and slightly wide. Within the mid-point of Big Sleepover, Big Boi and Sleepy Brown come expressing their chameleon-like nature between the two styles. At this point, both artists center themselves on showing a duality between intimacy and bravado, like they do in “Can’t Sleep.”
“Can’t Sleep,” like “In U,” sees the two at a peak – Big Boi and Sleepy Brown deflect these intricate verses about the annoyance represented by a few glamorous stereotypes that some usually show amongst others, within the realm of success and excess. They allow themselves to immerse themselves deeper into the constructs of style and sequences in its production – I’m speaking about the sound shifting between chorus and verses. It shows on a plethora of tracks on the album like “Baller,” which is a tongue-in-cheek-braggadocio track that sees Big Boi flaunting the definition of a baller.
Big Boi sets the setting in the club – He flaunts his riches, charm, and personality to a crescendo of magnetic bars. He hits us with bars like: “I’m a player pimp-type OG/I had to hang my jersey in the rafters since like ’03,” reflecting his status with a nod to his first album and the one that got him the Album Of The Year at the Grammys for ‘03’s The SpeakerBoxxx/The Love Below, as Outkast. He follows with bars like: “Slowly as I creep off in this Brougham Cadillac ’90/Somethin’ oldie-but-goodie I’m mobbin’, my city is always behind me,” after the choruses imply the litmus of females at the club who get treated like VIPs. Like how the track brings out one of my favorite moments from Big Boi, the previously mentioned “In U” does a similar job with Sleepy Brown as it allows his sex-fueled voice to lace a lovely ballad.
How Big Sleepover ends is truly a feat, as it blends what we’ve heard for the first two-thirds. It delivers upon what we expected, a spectacular cadence of melodies, flows, and rhymes as Big Boi and Sleepy Brown envelop the sound their flair. It never hinders from the features – Killer Mike and Scotty ATL keep it consistent on their respective tracks, giving fans shots in the dark of wicked rhymes and sultry dance grooves, despite the final track being a loosie from 2019. It all acquiesces into a collection of fantastic songs that hit more frequently than they don’t – the ones that don’t are “All You See” and “We The Ones.” These tracks take away from the consistency the album has had up to that point.
Now, do I wish they’d 86 some of these tracks that are within 1-2 years old? Yes and No. They work within the construct of what the two pulled as their direction for The Big Sleepover, but one can’t deny you’d like to see them replaced with others – perhaps that Big Boi and Kate Bush record? We will never know when or if he will release it; however, most of what we receive is up to par with some of their better work and a welcome surprise in December.