In The Quantity Ones, I’m reviewing each single #1 single within the historical past of the Billboard Sizzling 100, beginning with the chart’s starting, in 1958, and dealing my method up into the current.
I’m glad it occurred for Massive Boi. When Outkast members André 3000 and Massive Boi ventured off to report their very own respective solo albums, the stability of energy inside the duo was not even. André 3000 was at all times the Outkast member who commanded essentially the most consideration. André was the flamboyant one, the one who talked about eager to transcend rap itself, the intercourse image who wore blonde wigs and spiked Highway Warriors shoulderpads. Massive Boi is a weirdo, too, and he’s additionally nice songwriter and a crispy, idiosyncratic rap stylist. Inside the context of Outkast, although, it was too simple to miss Massive Boi. Massive Boi was much less more likely to flip himself right into a spectacle than André, extra more likely to rap about earthier issues like weed and intercourse.
Speakerboxxx, Massive Boi’s half of the massive-selling Outkast double CD Speakerboxxx/The Love Beneath, was at all times going to return off as one thing slighter and fewer groundbreaking than André 3000’s The Love Beneath. André was off on a post-genre spirit quest, and his indulgences demanded evaluation. Massive Boi, then again, simply made an amazing rap album. Speakerboxxx is about 50 occasions extra listenable than The Love Beneath, and it will in all probability be remembered as a minor rap basic if it didn’t have to face within the shadow of André’s album. However Massive Boi didn’t have a “Hey Ya!” That’s not Massive Boi’s fault. No person else had a “Hey Ya!”
The primary two singles from Speakerboxxx/The Love Beneath, “Hey Ya!” and Massive Boi’s “The Method You Transfer,” each got here out on the identical day. “Hey Ya!” instantly emerged as a colossal crossover smash, however “The Method You Transfer” was an enormous hit, too. Each songs raced up the Sizzling 100, and “Hey Ya!” gained out, spending 9 weeks at #1. For eight of these 9 weeks, “The Method You Transfer” was proper behind “Hey Ya!,” sitting at #2. For the longest time, it appeared like “The Method You Transfer” would go down as a footnote within the “Hey Ya!” saga. However when “Hey Ya!” lastly slipped from the #1 spot, “The Method You Transfer” was proper there, and Massive Boi’s track acquired per week on the prime.
“The Method You Transfer” by no means had the identical command over the favored creativeness that “Hey Ya!” nonetheless claims; at this level, “Hey Ya!” has seven occasions as many Spotify streams as “The Method You Transfer.” However Massive Boi nonetheless landed a #1 hit of his personal, and no person can take that away from him. In penning this column for the previous few years, I’ve mentioned many times that no person deserves a #1 hit; the pop charts will not be a meritocracy. I imagine that, and I additionally imagine that Massive Boi deserved his personal #1 hit. (I include contradictions.) So I’m glad that Massive Boi will get to reach on this column on his personal. It feels proper.
Whereas André 3000’s The Love Beneath was a self-produced auteur transfer, Massive Boi went to his group when he recorded Speakerboxxx. Massive Boi’s album has appearances from tons of his rap friends: Jay-Z, Ludacris, Lil Jon, Killer Mike, varied Goodie Mob members and Dungeon Household associates. André 3000 produced three of the tracks on Speakerboxxx, which principally sounds just like the logical continuation from Outkast’s earlier album Stankonia. And on his personal #1 hit, Massive Boi teamed up with Sleepy Brown, his favourite non-André collaborator.
Patrick “Sleepy” Brown, 5 years older than Massive Boi, is one third of Organized Noize, the manufacturing trio that found Outkast and acquired them signed to LaFace within the first place. Like Massive Boi, Sleepy was born in Savannah, Georgia, however he principally grew up in Atlanta. (When Sleepy Brown was born, B. J. Thomas’ “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” was the #1 track in America.) Sleepy Brown grew up round music; his father Jimmy Brown was the lead singer and saxophonist of the Atlanta funk band Brick. (Brick’s highest-charting single, 1976’s “Dazz,” peaked at #3. It’s an 8.)
Sleepy Brown met his Organized Noize compadres Rico Wade and Ray Murray someday round 1990. The three producers labored collectively in a studio in Sleepy’s mom’s basement; this was the Dungeon that gave the Dungeon Household its identify. A complete collective of massively artistic younger Atlanta rappers coalesced round that studio, and Organized Noize helped shepherd them alongside. When Outkast launched their debut single “Participant’s Ball” in 1993, Sleepy Brown sang the hook in a breezy, assured falsetto. He sounded a bit like Marvin Gaye, a bit like Curtis Mayfield, a bit like his father. (“Participant’s Ball” peaked at #37.)
Organized Noize discovered their method to #1 earlier than Outkast did. The trio produced and co-wrote TLC’s 1995 chart-topper “Waterfalls.” By the point Outkast took “Ms. Jackson” to #1 virtually six years later, Massive Boi and André 3000 have been principally producing themselves. However Organized Noize remained within the fold, and Sleepy Brown even sang backup on “Hey Ya!” Massive Boi and Sleepy Brown at all times had a straightforward, relaxed chemistry, and you may hear that chemistry at work on “The Method You Transfer.”
“The Method You Transfer” is an interesting swirl of Black pop genres from throughout historical past. The booming, minimal 808 beat owes every thing to Miami bass, the sexy and propulsive dance music that was actually the primary type of Southern rap that ever discovered a nationwide viewers. When Massive Boi is rapping, “The Method You Transfer” principally stays in that Miami bass mode. When Sleepy Brown’s refrain kicks in, the observe out of the blue turns into widescreen technicolor. We hear backup harmonies, squelchy keyboard tones, slithery neck-slides, and vibrant Earth, Wind & Hearth-style horn-stabs. Sleepy Brown’s personal multi-tracked falsetto is wealthy and buttery, and it stands in stark distinction to Massive Boi’s stuttery, playful rap type. By the point the track ends, Massive Boi just about simply turns the observe over to Sleepy Brown, who provides it an ornate, psychedelic soul-funk ending.
The skeleton of the beat for “The Method You Transfer,” the tss-tss-boom of that 808, comes from co-producer Carl Mahone, in any other case often called Carl-Mo. Carl-Mo had been a part of Outkast’s prolonged circle for some time, and he’d co-produced the Stankonia deep lower “Gangsta Shit.” On the time, although, Carl-Mo was in all probability finest recognized for a pair of tracks that utilized Miami bass aesthetics to sugary, pop-friendly R&B. In 1996, Carl-Mo co-wrote and co-produced “My Boo,” the one single credited to a gaggle named Ghostown DJs. Nice track. (“My Boo” initially peaked at #31. In 2016, after the track soundtracked a viral running-man problem, “My Boo” climbed as excessive as #27.)
In 1997, Carl-Mo additionally remixed “Swing My Method,” a single from the R&B duo KP & Envyi. Carl-Mo’s remix juiced the observe up with a few of that Miami bass increase, and the remix turned the track into successful. (The remix’s quasi-rapped verses have been written by a pre-fame Ludacris.) KP & Envyi disappeared from the world after “Swing My Method,” and so they by no means launched an album, however “Swing My Method” peaked at #6. (It’s an 8.)
Carl-Mo’s complete type, that Atlanta tackle Miami bass, had light from the pop charts by the early ’00s. On “The Method You Transfer,” although, it nonetheless sounded contemporary and modern, particularly when paired with the orchestral funk splendor of that Sleepy Brown hook. Massive Boi co-produced “The Method You Transfer” with Carl-Mo, and the ultimate observe contains a bunch of various musicians. Debra Killings, TLC’s longtime backing vocalist, performed bass, and the observe additionally options the work of Hornz Limitless, a horn part that performed on loads of Outkast and Dungeon Household tracks.
“The Method You Transfer,” very like “My Boo” or “Swing My Method,” is a celebration track. It’s principally about Massive Boi and Sleepy Brown watching ladies dance after which attempting to sweet-talk these ladies into coming residence with them. However “The Method You Transfer” additionally has a bittersweet tinge to it, principally because of the second when Massive Boi addresses Outkast breakup rumors: “We by no means enjoyable, OutKast is eternal/ Not clashing, under no circumstances/ However see, my n***a went to perform a little performing.” That line bums me out now, but it surely’s onerous to be too unhappy whereas “The Method You Transfer” is taking part in.
I really like the way in which Massive Boi dips and weaves via “The Method You Transfer.” Massive Boi’s two verses on the observe are nowhere close to his finest, however they’re a pleasant instance of how he’d mastered his complete conversational motormouth circulate. Massive Boi raps quick on that beat, however he by no means sounds effortful. As an alternative, he darts into the pocket after which again out once more, nudging the beat round like a cat with a type of tiny toy mice. “The Method You Transfer” follows “No Diggity” because the second #1 hit to incorporate the phrase “eargasm,” and Massive Boi helpfully clarifies its which means: “Now you cumming out the facet of your face.” Right here’s how Massive Boi describes the observe’s bass sound: “Trunk rattlin’ like two midgets within the backseat wrassling.” Till I wrote about Ludacris’ “Stand Up” and this track, I don’t assume I totally understood how a lot early-’00s Atlanta rappers cherished utilizing the phrase “midget.”
These strains — about Outkast’s standing, in regards to the bass sound, about no matter’s taking place to the facet of your face — aren’t actually the purpose of “The Method You Transfer.” As an alternative, the track principally exists in order that Massive Boi can discuss ladies dancing. He was them, there there on the dancefloor, and now they acquired him within the center, feeling like a man-whore. Massive Boi likes massive ladies; he needs to review the way you experience the beat, you massive freak. He additionally likes skinny-slim ladies who acquired the cameltoe inside them. He needs to listen to these ladies inform tales about their boring exes, after which he needs to make strikes like an individual in jail — on the low, ho. None of that is revolutionary, however few strip-club rappers deliver Massive Boi’s stage of gentlemanly attraction or Sleepy Brown’s old-school soulful squeak. “The Method You Transfer” is only a enjoyable track. It strikes.
After “I Like The Method You Transfer,” Massive Boi by no means acquired anyplace close to #1 once more. He solely launched yet another single from Speakerboxxx: “Ghetto Musick,” an excellently propulsive 3000 manufacturing. It didn’t make the Sizzling 100. Later in 2004, each Outkast members rapped on “I Can’t Wait,” a track that Sleepy Brown recorded for the Barbershop 2 soundtrack. “I Can’t Wait” peaked at #40, and it’s the highest-charting single for lead artist Sleepy Brown.
Quickly after Speakerboxxx, Massive Boi began placing collectively a label referred to as Purple Ribbon and assembling a roster of artists like Sleepy Brown, Killer Mike, Bubba Sparxxx, and a just-starting-out Janelle Monaé. (As lead artist, Janelle Monaé’s highest-charting single is the 2015 Jidenna collab “Yoga,” which peaked at #79. As a visitor, she’ll finally seem on this column.) The Purple Ribbon label fell aside after a few sturdy compilations and after absolutely the banger “Kryptonite” peaked at #35 in 2005. That yr, I noticed Massive Boi and a number of the Purple Ribbon roster play a very late-night CMJ present on the Knitting Manufacturing unit, and the person’s vitality was super. I noticed Massive Boi play solo units at festivals later, and he was at all times nice, however that Knitting Manufacturing unit present was particular.
After the entire fiasco of Idlewild, the film and the album, Outkast gave us one final basic once they rapped on UGK’s “Worldwide Gamers Anthem (I Select You),” a track that I really like deeply and with out reservation even when Pimp C outrapped each André and Massive Boi. (“Worldwide Gamers Anthem” peaked at #70.) Massive Boi acted in a couple of films, and I preferred him because the dangerous man in ATL. He guested on different individuals’s tracks, climbing as excessive as #23 on the Brooke Valentine/Lil Jon collab “Girlfight.” And he tried to get his first correct solo album completed, which turned out to be a troublesome proposition.
The primary single from Massive Boi’s solo album was “Royal Flush,” which featured André 3000 and Raekwon and which was unbelievable. That track got here out in 2007, however the album acquired hung up in record-label limbo, and it lastly got here out as Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty three years later. I cherished that album, and I raved about it in Pitchfork. Final yr, my good friend Ryan Dombal determined to re-rate that album for this goofy-ass Pitchfork feature, and he dropped it down from a 9.2 — I didn’t decide that quantity — to a 7.7. That was bizarre! It’s nonetheless an excellent album.
By the point the album lastly got here out, Massive Boi’s pop momentum was lengthy gone. Not one of the songs from Sir Lucious Left Foot made the Sizzling 100, and Massive Boi has principally spent the previous decade easing into elder-statesman standing, making pretty-good information that don’t enterprise too near the zeitgeist. In 2014, Outkast reunited to headline Coachella and to play a victory-lap reunion tour that didn’t embrace any new music. André appeared to be doing the entire thing as a favor to Massive Boi, and he didn’t give off the vibe that he was too invested in the entire enterprise.
Massive Boi’s complete existence appears fairly chill as of late. In 2019, when the Tremendous Bowl got here to Atlanta, Massive Boi was a visitor in the course of the halftime present from future Quantity Ones artists Maroon 5. Massive Boi did a quick marching-band model of “The Method You Transfer,” and it was good to see him, even when it appeared like he simply was there as a result of most distinguished rappers have been staying away from the NFL in the course of the top of the Kaepernick concern. Final yr, Massive Boi and Sleepy Brown put out a long-promised collaborative album. I wouldn’t anticipate Massive Boi to return to the pop charts anytime quickly, however who is aware of? After what occurred with Massive Boi’s friend and hero Kate Bush this yr, something appears potential.
BONUS BEATS: Right here’s Nelly’s 2004 Snoop Dogg/Ronald Isley collab “She Don’t Know My Title,” which opens with a pattern of Massive Boi saying “increase increase increase” on “The Method You Transfer”:
(Nelly has already been on this column a bunch of occasions, and he’ll be again. Snoop Dogg will finally be within the column, too. As a member of the Isley Brothers, Ronald Isley’s highest-charting single is 1969’s “It’s Your Thing,” which peaked at #2. It’s a ten.)
BONUS BONUS BEATS: Right here’s the extraordinarily random cowl of “The Method You Transfer” that Kenny G and former Number Ones artists Earth, Wind & Hearth launched in 2004:
(Kenny G’s highest-charting single is 1987’s “Songbird,” which peaked at #4. It’s a 3.)
The Quantity Ones: Twenty Chart-Topping Hits That Reveal The Historical past Of Pop Music is out now through Hachette Books. You should buy it here, you massive freak.
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