February 28 is a tough day for Big Boi; it’s the anniversary of the death of his father, Vietnam veteran Tony Kearse. Though 2013 marks the ninth year since his passing, the OutKast rapper continues to mourn.
Big Boi reflects on Kearse’s death on the song “Tremendous Damage” from his latest album, Vicious Lies And Dangerous Rumors.
Over a somber, piano-driven music bed with an R&B chorus from Bosko, Big Boi maintains humility as he expresses gratitude for his life’s blessings.
The “The Way You Move” rapper acknowledges the irony that he’s become a figure that kids aspire to be like. “I started off with no car and graduated to a Cadillac,” he raps. “But all that money don’t mean a got damn thing to me ‘cause we don’t worship that.”
Big Boi juxtaposes the value of material possessions to family in the second verse that kicks off with a reference to the day his father died.
Big Boi discusses the impact his dad’s death had on his faith. “And ever since that day I seen him fade way with my own eyes, I never doubted God,” he rhymes.
The rapper co-starring with B.o.B. in the upcoming EA video game Army Of Two: The Devil’s Cartel describes the pain as tremendous damage but adds that it has made him “tougher than a motherf-cker.”
Though Big Boi’s second verse ends at the 2:30 mark of the 5-minute and 30-second song, the chorus loops as the track transitions into a space age funk melody before going acoustic and fading.
Big Boi says the song helps his healing process. “’Tremendous Damage’ is like a real personal insight into my personal life, you know, dealing with the loss of my father,” he tells Hip Hop Media Training. “Just really talking about the struggles of life. It’s about keep pushing on no matter how many times you fall. You got to keep on going.”
He adds, “’Tremendous Damage’ in itself, to suffer the loss of a loved one, psychologically, could do not only damage to your mind but to your soul. You have to heal from that. Music, to me, is basically a form of therapy for me so that’s how I kinda treat myself to healing. I go into music. I lost my father and my grandmother, so it’s a form of healing. So to just get it all out on wax I’m using my true feelings. I dig it.”