Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

Big Boi & Sleepy Brown feat. CeeLo Green – Intentions

An ATL summit that doesn’t quite reach the peak…


Thomas Inskeep: A groove straight from Rick James’s “Cold Blooded” is one way to get me excited, and teaming Big Boi and Sleepy Brown back up is another. CeeLo Green, meanwhile, is the salty to Brown’s sweet — and as any fan of Food Network’s Chopped knows, a little bit of salt enhances the sugar every time.

Josh Langhoff: Three minutes forty of eighth-tier smooth funk that, despite a second-tier Rick James sample, wouldn’t have merited album inclusion back in the ’80s. Well, maybe on a live album. I keep waiting for Big Boi to introduce the band and plug the Ramada breakfast buffet, only $12.99. Instead he shows up for 25 seconds. His first 10 seconds contain prime stuff, syllables and rhymes placed to upend the beat and fuck with our expectations; his other 15 are fine. So it’s 1/34 a [10]! My score is therefore generous.

Brad Shoup: A Patton/Sleepy project won’t be lacking for singing, so Green’s inclusion feels — beyond a little superfluous — a little like a solid for a guy scrambling back from an accusation of sexual battery. Content to hoarsely intone the hook, Brown gives his guest a more poignant intro, and a go-nowhere closing verse. The 808 and cod-clavinet riff are grown and sexy; these dudes are barely the former.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: A promising intro whose bubbling energy fizzes out before the song’s halfway point. It’d be better if Big Boi weren’t here at all; his presence only gives indication of what “Intentions” could’ve been.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Big Boi’s greatest strength, from 1994 to at least 2017, was his ability to sound preternaturally at the right place at the right time. Even when he wasn’t on beat he was in a deeper groove; even on deeply corny material (like “All Night”!) he sounded cooler than he had any right to be. 25 years into his career, he finally sounds washed. When he’s off-beat on “Intentions,” he just sounds like he’s tired. The chintzy soul sound doesn’t help — the clav sounds cheap, and Sleepy Brown is completely on autopilot. CeeLo is at least more present, but even his schtick is played out. It’s not that they’re aging ungracefully — there are far more embarrassing ways to be doing late period rap singles — but that for a style that relies so much on finesse and cool, any slippage seems all the more painful.

Will Adams: The cheap, unchanging funk loop would have been passable were there any semblance of a hook to latch onto. After a certain point I worried whether the song would ever end.

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One Response to “Big Boi & Sleepy Brown feat. CeeLo Green – Intentions”

  1. WOW, I did not expect to be the outlier on this, let alone by such a dramatic degree.

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