Big Boi (Outkast) and Phantogram have teamed up for their debut release as Big Grams. The seven-track EP features guest appearances from Run the Jewels and Skrillex. Big Grams has been teased for months, leading up to the trio unveiling the project with a performance at Epic Records' Epic Fest at the end of August. Previously, Phantogram's Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel contributed to several tracks on Big Boi's 2012 album Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors.
Sometimes the most unlikely pairings deliver the most satisfying results. On Big Grams’ eponymous debut LP, Phantogram and Outkast’s Big Boi share an undeniable chemistry, as was first recognized when Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel were featured on several tracks from Big Boi’s 2012 record Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. Each track on the new trio’s LP juxtaposes rap verses with psych pop beats, and the best moments are almost as pure as Walter White’s “blue.”
Big Grams‘ seven tracks build on one another, easing listeners into the skillful interweaving of two elements not typically strung together. Opener “Run for Your Life” sounds more like a mashup than the two acts working together, as if vocal tracks were taken from Big Boi and Barthel’s respective projects and combined rather than recorded anew together. But by the final track (“Drum Machine”, which features Skrillex), any sonic inconsistencies get strained out of the mix. Big Boi and Phantogram are at that point no longer discrete entities — Big Grams has taken shape and taken over.
The LP mostly maintains a moderate tempo, allowing rapid-fire rapping and airy vocals to coexist, as best heard on “Put It On Her”. The track stands out for its immunity to classification under any one genre or decade; horns, soulful vocals, and fast rhymes are all blended together with an electronic, funkified beat.A1 Run For Your Life 3:56 A2 Lights On 4:21 A3 Fell In The Sun 3:47 A4 Put It On Her 2:52 B1 Goldmine Junkie 3:42 B2 Born To Shine 4:13 B3 Drum Machine 3:47