Big Boi

Big Boi in Atlanta

HearYa covering hip hop? When free drinks are involved, yes please.

Truth be told, I’ve consumed my fair share of hip hop growing up. I remember buying Kool Moe Dee’s Knowledge Is King solely because of the cover art then I’d regale my friends by spitting out the lyrics to “I Go To Work” in its entirety. I’m pretty sure I can still do it today. I also listened to my fair share of DMX, Jay-Z, Tribe Called Quest, and Outkast in college. Although a hip hop show isn’t typically an event worthy of requesting a hall pass from a sleep deprived wife at home with a toddler and newborn, I was excited to see what these Microsoft KIN Spot Event shows were all about – especially after our coverage of The Dead Weather in Chicago.

The event details were announced via Facebook and Twitter hours before the show and lines began forming outside of the Yaarab Shrine Temple in downtown Atlanta. Yes, shrine temple. As in those shriners that wear funny little hats in local parades. It’s an obvious choice for hip hop concerts. The temple was transformed into a club, complete with stage, DJ booth and several bars to fuel the party-goers. The event was top notch, but unfortunately, the talent was not.

Yaarab Temple Shrine

Jay Electronica opened up the evening and should have been left off the bill entirely. The majority of his time on stage consisted of chit chat. He preached about Hurricane Katrina and other political topics, then requested a show of hands for how many of us thought that all women liked to be strangled during sex.‚  Very few participated in the exchange, which wasn’t surprising given the number of women in attendance. If people had paid or were even paying attention, Jay Electronica may have been booed off stage.

A tattooed white rapper named Yelawolf took the stage next and was shockingly good. He strutted out, offered zero chit chat, and won over the crowd with lyrics that spewed from his mouth like machine gun fire. His set was focused, intense, and entertaining.


Big Boi from Outkast was the obvious headliner, but I was surprised that the free event wasn’t at full capacity in his hometown. It felt half-full, but those that attended were buzzing about what Big Boi had in store. Little new material has been released and this was to be the first glimpse of Big Boi as a solo artist. I think I speak for most in the crowd (including a hip hop connoisseur that I invited as my plus one) when I say, “Meh.” Big Boi balanced the unfamiliar new songs with old Outkast fan favorites. Yes, he even performed “Ms. Jackson,” but Dre’s absence in those Outkast songs made them sound completely watered down. Of the new songs we were introduced to, I’d echo my earlier sentiment and say “they were just alright.”

Big Boi Kin

I’d sum it up as follows: The event itself was great. One artist was awful, one surprising, and one underwhelming. If I would have paid to see this lineup in concert, however, I would have had serious buyer’s remorse.

Here’s a video supplied by KIN: