Each week, Lizzy Goodman guides you through the dirty streets of rock and roll.
Discovering a new record is like meeting a new boy: you can’t eat or sleep or think about anything else and it’s kind of ruining your life but you don’t care because you are literally high, your brain taking a crush-induced dopamine bath. That’s what happened when I first heard Big Boi’s debut solo album Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. I was busy willing myself to leave behind a not-so-good-for-me guy I’d been dating when my parents asked if I wanted to come on a family vacation to Turkey. Yes I did! Anything to get me out of my own head. That’s how I found myself traipsing around Ephesus in determined early spring sunshine while Big Boi rapped about “shittin’ on n*ggas and peein’ on the seat.” It was all just so right. So when I found out the man himself would be performing a couple of songs from his forthcoming follow-up, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, at Brooklyn’s Rubber Tracks I willed myself across the East River to check it out.
“What is this place called again? Williamstown?” asked a tall 20-something in what seemed like the evening’s dress code for girls: suede over-the-knee boots with jeans, Burberry ponchos and false eyelashes. Based on the Escalades parked out front, rims glinting in the street light, and the sweet stink of clove cigarettes being smoked outside it was clear Big Boi had pulled a different crowd from neighborhood’s standard pasty twee hipster. My partner-in-crime was the legendary label exec/DJ/rock boy whisperer Sarah “Ultragrrrl” Lewitinn, who is on the shorter side. “I’m a midget!” is how she put it. “Can we head to the front?!” Sarah tried – with a vodka cocktail in one hand — to scale a wall of Converse sneakers (the venue’s sponsor) in order to see better while I watched Big Boi prowl the stage in fatigues and shades, the image of an in-command rap icon.
He sounded great: bawdy and playful as he performed a couple of tracks off the new album, including the single “Mama Told Me.” The recorded version features Kelly Rowland, but we got a rare treat in the appearance of Little Dragon, one of Big Boi’s recent collaborators. Not that I could see any of this, mind you. All I could really glimpse (even though I was in heels) was crisp baseball caps pogo-ing above the crowd line, the backbeat making the shoelaces on the Converse wall tremble. We found out what really happened onstage when we went outside post-show to regroup. A friend who was near the front played us a live video he’d taken of the entire show. “Did you guys actually go inside?” he asked as Sarah and I gazed curiously at the footage of an event we’d both just attended.
Next up: another party a couple blocks away, or gest to bed early so we could get up for morning yoga? We decided to play it by ear and joined the mass exodus of fans, many of whom were literally Google maps-ing their way back to the subway. Just off Metropolitan, I spied a freshly rolled joint in the street and pointed it out to Sarah. The dude in front of us turned on his heels, went back, picked it up and tucked it behind his ear. We thought about asking him to share but downward dog won out. As he gave us a cute little look Sarah smiled back over her shoulder. “Namaste,” she said.