What Can Today’s Rappers Learn From Mumford & Sons? Big Boi Explains

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(Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown/ Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown/ Getty Images)

As one half of the genre-splicing crew Outkast, Big Boi‘s musical influences flow far and wide. His forthcoming album, Viscous Lies And Dangerous Rumors, promises a wide range of music styles.

But if Big Boi had his way, he would have a record with acoustic rock band and recently announced GRAMMY nominees, Mumford & Sons, whom he counts among his favorites.    

“I’m biased because Mumford & Sons is one of my favorite groups,” he told CBS Local, when asked about the group’s GRAMMY chances. “What really turned me on to the Mumford & Sons–that’s why I like the GRAMMYS– is the live performances. When I saw them perform with the Avett Brothers and Bob Dylan, it blew me away. Killed it. I was looking for some banjo on this album after that.”

While he didn’t quite pull together the Mumford And Sons-styled banjo, he did reveal a possible collaboration in the future.

“I was actually going to do something with Mumford & Sons,” he said. “I ran into them at Glastonbury [Music Festival]. Still something will probably be in the works. They know I want to work with them and they are open to it.”

Along with the usual ATL suspects — T.I., Ludacris, B.o.B.– the set features a collaboration with electronic band Little Dragon and revolutionary rapper Killer Mike (“Thom Pettie”); as well as a music connection between rising rapper A$AP Rocky and indie pop band Phantogram (“Mama Told Me”). 

With years of pushing and pulling rap across otherwise uncrossed borders, Big Boi said rappers could learn a great deal from groups like Mumford & Sons. 

“Their music is filled with feeling,” he said. “Not just reciting words over a beat. They really feel it. The melodies, the riffs, they put songs together [with] song structure. These days it’s four rappers on every song, rap-hook-rap-hook-rap-hook, [then] thank you. It’s no build-up, no climax, just run-on sentences. People want to feel something you have to be real personal honest in your music and people will know where you’re coming from.”

Mumford & Sons recieved six GRAMMY nods as part of a six-way tie for most nominations. The other five top-nominated artists include Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Jay-Z, The Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach and fun.

As one half of Outkast, Big Boi has received six GRAMMY Awards. Viscous Lies And Dangerous Rumors hits stands December 11.

-Erik Parker, CBS Local

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