Best local mainstream artist to give the industry the middle finger

Big Boi

Staff Pick

As track after track leaked from the unreleased Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, everyone within earshot (or a Wi-Fi hotspot) began to realize BIG BOI was sitting on a stank bomb — everyone, that is, but Jive Records. For three years, the solo release from the underdog half of OutKast gathered dust while those Jive suckers hemmed and hawed over creative differences and commercial potential. A lesser man might have had his spirits crushed, but Big took his guerilla-marketing campaign viral, enlisting the help of Atlanta videographer Zach Wolfe. Once Big Boi got his freedom papers, he inked a deal with his former LaFace label boss L.A. Reid, now at Def Jam. It turned out that those songs floating around on the Web were just the tip of the iceberg. Big Boi delivered an album that shows off heightened lyrical prowess and production skills with cool finesse. Upon arrival, Sir Lucious Left foot debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. The LP still hasn't received the kind of radio play deserving of an OutKast project — not even in Atlanta. But if Daddy Fat Sacks didn't let the industry hold him down, why should we wait for it to lift him up?

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