I have a confession to make: I spent half an hour trying to think of a mind-blowing opening line that started with “I have a confession to make” for my first article at The Rock, but then I realized that I don’t have anything to confess (yet). So here I go, excitedly writing what is hopefully the first of many “artist to watch” articles.
Being the typical college student that I am, I was scrolling through Facebook one day when I came across an article from Pitchfork that nearly jolted me out of my seat (ok, my bed). The title read “Big Boi and Phantogram Share Big Grams Single ‘Lights On.’” From that moment on, I have probably listened to “Lights On,” and Big Grams’ previously released single, “Fell In the Sun,” too many times to count, much to the chagrin of my roommates and anyone within walking distance of my room.
Before I dive into the details of Big Grams, whose name was so expertly crafted from a combination of “Big” Boi and Phanto“gram,” I feel compelled to educate you about the disparate histories of these two stellar artists.
Phantogram was one of my favorite artists as an upperclassman in high school, which was the point in my life when I decided that I was too cool for top 40, and I started to find my niche in the world of music. That was also the moodiest point of my life, so I usually reserved Phantogram for those special moments when I had nothing better to do than to stare out the window, trying—and ultimately failing—to look pensive and mysterious.
Phantogram is an electronic rock duo that originated in Greenwich, New York in 2007. It consists of Josh Carter on vocals and guitars and Sarah Barthel on vocals and keyboards. The band’s sound could also be described as psychedelic pop, which is partially responsible for my attraction to the band since I have such an unhealthy fascination with psychedelic synth rhythms. If you are interested in classic Phantogram, I highly recommend you listen to “Fall in Love,” “When I’m Small,” and “Don’t Move.”
I can’t say my attachment to Big Boi is as strong as my attachment to Phantogram since I am just barely a child of the 90s, but at least I know who he is. If you are not familiar with Big Boi or Outkast, then you are either still in high school or you have been living under a rock.
Big Boi, or Antwan André Patton, is a rapper who is best known for being a member of hip hop duo Outkast alongside André 3000. The band originated in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994 and is known for its criticism of problems in the African American community and its involvement in the Dirty South movement in the mid to late 90s. I shouldn’t even have to recommend Outkast songs, but if you don’t know the band, check out “Hey Ya!,” “Ms. Jackson,” and “Roses” as soon as possible.
In the early 2000s, Big Boi started a solo project and produced hits like “Shutterbug,” “Kryptonite,” and “Margarita” and even collaborated with Phantogram in “Objectum Sexuality,” “CPU,” and “Lines” for his 2012 album Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors.
Moving back to Big Grams, the collaboration first began when Big Boi Shazamed Phantogram’s “Mouthful of Diamonds” and fell in love with the group’s style. The artists met up and realized that they had chemistry, thus rendering the birth of the trio Big Grams.
Big Grams’ self-titled EP, which includes a seven-track set, will be released as soon as September 25th and features guests like Skrillex and Run the Jewels. As I have said, I love the Big Grams collaboration, but my only issue with the singles that have been released so far is that they are somewhat formulaic and repetitive. I try to stay away from formulaic pop music like the devil, but I am so entranced by the beats behind the lyrics that I can’t help but give into the temptation of listening to them over and over again. If you are as excited about Big Grams as I am, I recommend you listen to The Internet, ODESZA, Gallant, Lil Dicky, Vince Staples, and Action Bronson.