Darth Vader, Jaws and Mariano Rivera owe a significant portion of their intimidating presence to their entrance music. Now rapper Big Boi can join their ranks after releasing the song “General Patton” on his album “Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty.”
“General Patton” (a reference to the rapper’s legal name, Antwan Patton) immediately follows the album’s single, the dance-worthy “Shutterbug,” but changes moods dramatically. Big Boi and producer Jbeatzz provide the song with a foundation-shaking background track that is centered around a choir singing a daunting, minor key a capella. Big Boi was already the more confrontational half of the rap group Outkast (with Andre 3000), but the menacing sample provides a perfect canvas for the rapper to paint his aggressive message on.
The “hook” is particularly impressive because it is instantly recognizable, even without any words, much like The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” As soon as Big Boi finishes a verse, the choir in the background switches keys, settling into a more relaxed mood. The calm doesn’t last long, however, and the switch from major key back into minor for the next verse drags the listener into jamming with it.
Big Boi has always played second fiddle to Andre 3000, both as a member of Outkast and otherwise. Andre got most of the critical acclaim thanks to his jazzy numbers, like 2003’s “Hey Ya,” but Big Boi is arguably even more talented on the mic. He takes a militant stand like the title suggests, but he doesn’t need to throw around weapon references to get his point across. The only questionable aspect of the song is the post script narrated by fellow rapper Big Rube. Another blistering verse would’ve served Big Boi’s purpose better.
An Outkast reunion might not be feasible at this point, but this song and album should heighten attention to Big Boi’s abilities.