Review: Big Burn, Invidious
Big Burn, Invidious
Originally raised in Nebraska City, rapper Big Burn has extended his journey since his beginnings as an artist in 2006. Inspired by the likes of Eminem, Lil Wayne, and Bo Burnham, Big Burn shapes his own form of comedic rap, stylistically, which was evident from his debut release in 2006, Drinking Blunts and 40s. Since his originations in Nebraska City, Big Burn has relocated to Omaha. With the movement, Big Burn has also progressed in his musical repertoire, with his sophomore effort entitled Invidious due out on November 14th. A collection of twenty tracks, Invidious showcases Big Burn’s evolution that he’s taken since his debut release.
Following a technique most rappers utilize, Big Burn kicks off Invidious with an intro entitled “Ribald Alliteration” of which lasts a little over one-minute in length. Sampling the same melody used in Linda Scott’s “I’ve Told Every Little Star” (most recently used by Mac Miller in his song “Knock Knock”); Big Burn impeccably showcases his comedic talents. The track initially begins by the introduction of a chipmunk talking accompaniment, which continues to sing the background of “I’ve Told Every Little Star.” Above the chipmunk layering is Big Burn, who introduces listeners to his welcoming voice, ensuring those listeners that they will be hearing “ill s**t.” The song formally announces Burn’s reentrance, as he exclaims that he is “back” and “here to stay.”
After the introduction, Burn takes the opportunity to vocalize his comedic antics and thoughts with “Follow These Simple Steps.” Along with showcasing his humor, “Follow These Simple Steps” features one of the album’s myriad of collaborations, with the inclusion of Surreal the MC. Over a standard beat, Surreal the MC and Big Burn trade-off verses as they attempt to comically tell audiences the necessities in how to party. With many images suggesting marijuana usage, “Follow These Simple Steps” doesn’t stray much from what’s expected of mainstream rappers. The song embodies the typical construction of a song portraying heavy-partying, marijuana smoking, and having “unprotected sex.” If Burn intends for comedic relief through his suggestions and steps for partying until you “can’t stop”, perhaps the line should be drawn at suggesting unprotected sex. It’s evident that Burn’s music exists to employ comedy within raps, but sometimes, the line between appropriate and potentially leading to dangerous misinterpretations is small. Despite such, his raps remain well-flowing, never forcing listeners to stray their attention from his demanding, clear vocals. Following such is Invidious’ longest track, “Milkshake.” Again, the song highlights collaboration, this time with Boss Turt. For nearly six minutes, Big Burn and Boss Turt tear up the track, exemplifying smooth, dominating rapping. They truly deliver each word with such clarity and mastery that it’s admirable. However, where “Milkshake” lacks is in its semblance to “Follow These Simple Steps.” A simple misplacement, if “Milkshake” were to appear later in the album, it would be granted the foundation to stand out more than it initially does. The beats between “Follow These Simple Steps” and “Milkshake” are so similar that it’s difficult to pinpoint the transition from one to another. However, “Milkshake” does still manage to stand-out due to the smooth, clever lyrics and cultural references (“Rim job, salad toss, Rick Ross, the f**king boss”) delivered by Burn and Turt.
Where Big Burn leaves his greatest impression is on “Hip Hop’s Dead” – easily the album’s standout track. Instead of tackling useless topics, Big Burn places an emphasis on mainstream rap’s issues, even making fun of topics he previously discussed. Though he continues with his sexual references, Burn goes off on his issues with rap. The beat isn’t anything too complicated, but Burn doesn’t require such to permit him to dictate with clarity. As he claims, “hip hop is dead”, but Burn is here to “bring it back.” Along the list of problems he has with hip hop, Burn say its main issues start with the likes of Flo Rida and other “dubious douches.” With a track like “Hip Hop’s Dead”, Burn reminds listeners of hope in the genre. Rap is promising, especially with the likes of Burn rising, if he continues to improve with tracks similar to “Hip Hop’s Dead.” Completing Invidious is Burn’s personal outro, “Thanks For Listening.” As he makes sure to reiterate, all of the misogyny heavily audible through Invidious is “facetious.” The exit track follows the theme originally presented with the intro track of Linda Scott’s “I’ve Told Every Little Star.” Coming full circle, Invidious completes with a sense of gratitude, emphasizing that he hopes listeners “enjoyed themselves” while congratulating them on making it to the end. He evolves from the lyricism highlighting misogynistic ideals, relieving listeners with is assurance of comedic purposes.
Burn certainly isn’t a typical artist, as he demonstrates through Invidious. He’s comical – a person of his own, living by his own rules, independent of constraints. He exists, musically, to employ his sense of humor, which is evident through the album’s progression. Though his lyrical smoothness and clever diction is never called into question, Burn’s ability to stick out remains an adversity he must overcome. At times, he demonstrates a semblance too close to one of his inspirations, Bo Burnham. Though Invidious is a solid release, he must gather the tools to distinguish himself from his counterparts. Big Burn is a solid rapper, one who possesses admirable delivery and mastery of lyricism, but must continue to push and prove his uniqueness; only time will tell.
Review by: Alexa Spieler
Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)