Big Boi ft. T.I. and Ludacris -The A

Yea you may be able to out-trap me/But none of you niggas will ever out-rap me.

Former Outkast member turned solo artist Big Boi shows mad love for his hometown of Atlanta in the horn-driven banger, ‘The A’, featuring fellow Southern rappers Ludacris and T.I. The simple prospect of these three Southern rap kings on one track made me like the song even before listening to it. Luckily, the song did not disappoint. ‘The A’ is track five off of Big Boi’s second solo album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, which is set to drop December 11th.

‘The A’ samples one of Big Boi’s own songs for the chorus, his very first solo single ‘Shutterbug’ grabbing the phrase “I keep it playa while some choose to play it safe/Boy check the resume, it’s risky business in the A” repeating “In the A”. The beat is hype and tough, utilizing horns and a whole lot of bass, and each rapper kills it.

T.I. takes the first verse; with his distinctive ATL-accented flow, his style is perfect for this beat. Shouts of “It’s the King!” echo in the background as T.I. spits about his hustle and wild success; “Blowing presidential, 20 bricks off in the rental/We official ATLiens with plenty yay to sell again.” While T.I. sounds dope on the track, his lyricism falls short at points (“K.I.N.G. bitch best get with it/All I know is go get it/swag so silly”). I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m ready to see T.I. do something dynamic and crazy with his flow – something he hasn’t done (albeit successfully) a million times before. Despite the repetitive subject matter, he is able to give thanks to the city that gave him his hustle.

Big Boi raps lyrical circles around the beat in his verse, even throwing a shout out to Ludacris in his line, “Cadillacin’ with the diamond in the back/With the sunroof top” (a line from Ludacris’ classic song ‘Diamond In The Back’). Big Boi raps quickly with his southern twang, “When I was little, boy they said I had an old soul/Old gold/Riding with some pimps on a ho stroll, now that’s loco/And you’re local, and I’m global.” Big Boi’s boasts are creative, lyrical, and even a little funny.

Ludacris finishes the song with some of his classic punch lines and clever wordplay. I’ve been a huge fan of Luda ever since his immensely popular second studio album, Word of Mouf. He is the ultimate master at rapping about women and sex in an imaginative, hilarious, and innovative way. While women and sex largely dominate his subject matter, he raps about anything and everything with that same brand of wit, flow, and ingenuity. His verse on ‘The A’ is short but sweet; “So many whips at my crib/Ya chick came, the bitch thought it was a road block,” he leers. He finishes the song with two dope bars, addressing the recent trap phenomenon in rap music: “Yeah you may be able to out-trap me/But none of you niggas will ever out-rap me.”

If you have any love for the ATL, or just in need of a new slap, peep the song below. Show Big Boi, T.I., and Luda some love on Twitter. I can’t wait for Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors to drop – keep an eye out for it, and if you haven’t already, check out his first solo album Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty.

-Julia Hannafin