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Big Boi and his Stankonia crew dropped by the NPR offices recently, squeezing their tremendous band into the famed Tiny Desk cubicle to deliver an out-of-this-world funky performance that will have fans nostalgic for the days of Outkast — and looking for Big Boi’s latest album. Covering hits new and old, the Atlanta rap veteran shows why he’s lasted so long in a game that moves so fast.
First of all, you have to love the Tiny Desk Concerts where the artists go “minuscule space be damned, I’m bringing the whole band out,” which is exactly what Big Boi does here, stuffing the cubicle with drums, guitar, bass, two back-up singers, a DJ, a pair of trumpeters, and Organized Noize‘s own Sleepy Brown. It’s a big, boisterous sound that really brings out the funkadelic live instrumentation from his studio recordings of old Outkast hits like “So Fresh, So Clean” and “The Way You Move,” as well as his new single “All Night.” There’s an electric energy that is almost palpable through the screen; as Big Boi himself puts it at one point, “the Tiny Desk needs a tiny fan.”