“Oooh yeah, talk about a Vitamin D overdose!” hollers Big Boi towards the end of ‘Fell In The Sun’ – the jazzy opening salvo of Big Grams, his collaboration with New York electropop duo Phantogram.
Over a silken ‘70s soul groove and resplendent horns, the OutKast “cool-ass nigga [who] put Atlanta on the map” – as he winningly boasts on the track – raps: “We extra-terrestrial, extraordinary/In the centre of your solar system shining on the daily”, while Sarah Barthel provides the sweet, high-pitched and cooing vocal hook about flying Icarus-like to the sun.
Combining OutKast’s effortless funk with Phantogram’s glistening vocal sheen, the seeds of the collaboration were planted during 2012’s ‘Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumours’, when the synth-poppers (completed by Josh Carter) appeared on the funk-jam ‘Objectum Sexuality’ and ‘80s banger ‘CPU’. On this, however, the former electro reserve is abandoned for a warmer, more retro sound.
The genre-blurring full self-titled EP is out on September 25 on Epic Records, and scattered throughout the seven tracks are guest turns by Skrillex (on ‘Drum Machine’) and – most excitingly of all – hip-hop powerhouse Run The Jewels (‘Born To Shine’). Big Boi put his next solo album on hold to release the Big Grams record and is pledging that it’s vastly different from anything either band has done. Orchestral and brassier than Noel Gallagher’s neck, what’s not to love?