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Big Boi: Great Expectations

At this point in their career there is no reason to expect anything from OutKast…and that’s not a bad thing. Since their debut the duo composed of Andre “3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, has consistently put out good music that the public didn’t see coming. Did anyone expect the extraterrestrial edge of ATLiens from a pair of MCs that had just released an album about the pimp and player lifestyle? Or what about the uptempo, choir assisted, anti-war song “B.O.B” found on Stankonia? Then there was their biggest selling album to date, the diamond certified Speakerboxxx/The Love Below where the two lyricist produced critically acclaimed records ranging in topics from religion to relationships to fears of commitment – and one of them spent most of his half singing. By the time fans got word about a Depression era rap musical movie with an accompanying soundtrack it wasn’t a surprise — it was just OutKast. So most of the public has just learned to appreciate the music that the group brings, no matter what it sounds like.Now after the unofficial release of his first solo album, Speakerboxxx, Big Boi prepares his second offering, Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. Big Boi speaks on the new album, southern Hip-Hop, the plans for OutKast, and his work with the Atlanta Ballet. Ballet…did anyone expect that?AllHipHop.com: So what’s the meaning behind the name of the album?Big Boi: Sir Luscious Left Foot is one of the monikers I’ve used for years. Big Boi is still Big Boi at heart but I’ve grown over these fifteen, sixteen years. I’m a grown man. Sir Luscious is the point of my life where I’m at right now. I’ve always put my best foot forward.AllHipHop.com: Now the album, Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, was originally supposed to be released at the beginning of this year so what happen with the New Year’s Eve release?Big Boi: We’re in a new system right now. We’re in the Jive system and it takes them a little longer for them to get it. This album right here is nothing to play with and we just want to make sure all of our ducks are in a row.AllHipHop.com: Who is going to handle the production on the album?Big Boi: I co-produced just about every song on the record with Organized Noize, Mr. DJ, my production company Boom Boom Room productions, Lil Jon, and Scott Storch. We got some newcomers on there too. I’m very satisfied with this album…this is like some of the best work I’ve ever done in my life. I just went all the way with it.AllHipHop.com: Who is going to be featured on the album?Big Boi: Of course, Andre 3000 and Raekwon. We did “Royal Flush” together. May J. Blige and I just filmed the video for the new record [“Somethings Gotta Give”] which is a super duper smash for the people. I did a song with George Clinton and Too Short—crazy. Also T.I. is on the album as well as various other Dungeon Family members. You know, everything is just trump tight.AllHipHop.com: What was it like being back in the studio with Raekwon and Andre 3000 together after releasing “Skew it on the Bar-B” on Aquemini? What’s it like to come full circle and do it again a decade later?ROYAL FLUSH – OUTKAST FEAT. RAEKWONBig Boi: It was lovely man. Actually I was just in Atlanta and I bumped into Raekwon. He lives in Atlanta now. I told him I was working on a record and he came through that night. I played beats off the album and he heard one and was like, “Let’s get on that.” After Rae got on it, we recorded two or three records that night, the next morning I got up and didn’t know which direction I wanted to take on it. I didn’t know how to finish it up so I was just going to marinate on it. Dre came into town, I played him some music, and when he heard the song he just wanted to get on it. I let Dre get on it…Dre bust…and we just made some authentic Hip-Hop. This is authentic Hip-Hop. I hear people talking about the south can’t rhyme and that’s bullshit. I just wanted to set that straight.AllHipHop.com: Now to play devil’s advocate, when critics say people in the south can’t rhyme they go out of their way not to include OutKast and other artist like Scarface on that list. They always say that you can rhyme.Big Boi: Yeah they do say that but you can’t forget about your Ludacris’s, T.I.’s, and Lil’ Wayne’s. We’re all from the south. It’s just really a silly comment and it sounds like borderline hate to me. I mean, nobody said no s**t about me and Dre can’t rhyme because they know that me and Dre bust heads on that microphone. Straight up.

“We’re already creating music for the OutKast record so by the time I turn my album in I’ll start on that while Dre works on his solo.”

AllHipHop.com: Are there still plans for an OutKast album after you and Andre 3000 release solo albums?Big Boi: Of course. That’s the plan. I’m done with mine basically and Dre is constructing his. I believe he is still in the beginning stages. We’re already creating music for the OutKast record so by the time I turn my album in I’ll start on that while Dre works on his solo. I’ll be working on the OutKast album and the next Big Boi album as well.AllHipHop.com: Why did you choose to not package these albums together like Speakerboxxx/The Love Below?Big Boi: The thing about Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is that they were solo albums and people didn’t see it like that because they were packaged together. I guess now to dispel everything people have been saying we’ll break them up because we don’t always do the same thing. Speakerboxxx was the first, unofficial, Big Boi solo record. With this record it’s going to be the same thing – everything funky, the beats trump tight, all the production is excellent, and I’m happy with it. I’ve been working on it for about nineteen months recording vocals and I’ve actually been getting beats for it for the last four year. I took my time on it.

“We’ve sold 40 million records worldwide and won awards so at this point there is nothing to prove. Everybody knows what we are about so right now it’s just all about making good, good music. So as long as it’s still fun for me and I still got my heart in it I’m gonna keep my foot on these n****s necks.”

AllHipHop.com: As a member of OutKast, out of your whole discography the least selling album is platinum and the most is at diamond status. So at this point do you feel any pressure when creating an album?Big Boi: Oh no. I do this at my leisure. I don’t have to do this. I do it because I love it and I still have the passion for rhyming. We’ve sold 40 million records worldwide and won awards so at this point there is nothing to prove. Everybody knows what we are about so right now it’s just all about making good, good music. So as long as it’s still fun for me and I still got my heart in it I’m gonna keep my foot on these n****s necks, understand me?Big Boi f/ Mary J Blige “Something’s Gotta Give” VideoAllHipHop.com: What do you want listeners to take away from this album?Big Boi: I mean, a little bit of everything. No specific, substantive thing. I’m just talking about life. This is life music about things that affect people from the economy, to going to the club, to relationships. This album is not a conscious album, I mean all of our albums are conscious because we’re aware of what’s going on in the world, but it’s definitely not preachy. The first single is for the people. It’s not going straight for the club or straight for the radio. I’m just trying to give the people some knowledge. It’s time for the record right now with the election coming up. I just want people to get the full idea of what I think about the things going on in the world today.

“People might not get everything I have to say on the first listen. I think that’s one of the special things about music. As an artist in one verse you can talk about so many different things.”

AllHipHop.com:  Just to jump off of what you said about consciousness. How have you been able to find balance between the conscious and the mainstream without being classified in either? How have you been able to balance your career being that you can do conscious music but at the same time be on the “I’m So Hood Remix”? Big Boi: “I’m So Hood Remix” is just because I’m from the hood and I’m always going to be hood. That’s a part of me too. Even in that song I said, “Lay hands on a fellow like the man in blue lights,” and that was pointing out police brutality. All they have to do is listen, but I can’t do no A-B-C, 1-2-3 raps. I’m deeper than that so people might not get everything I have to say on the first listen. I think that’s one of the special things about music. As an artist in one verse you can talk about so many different things. Our albums are timeless and this is another timeless classic right here. Buy this product all day because I guarantee you that it’s fresh when I put it out. AllHipHop.com: Mentioning music you were recently involved in a project with the Atlanta Ballet?Big Boi: Oh yeah man. The ballet came to one of the fundraisers for the kids that my nonprofit organization was hosting. They asked what did I think about doing a collaboration with the ballet. At first I thought it sounded kind of funny. I just went to see what it would sound like. We picked out the music and met with the choreographer and director of the ballet to throw some ideas around; it just all came together like Frankenstein. Music and dance are forms of expression so it just all mixed together. It just so happen that the show did six nights to a packed house every night.

“We listened to all types of music growing up from Bob Marley and Nirvana all the way down to Def Leppard and Guns N’ Roses. You can take it from there on back to Too Short and Kate Bush and whoever…that’s one of the advantages that we have because a lot of people out there don’t have an open mind when it comes to music, and that’s why they stay their punk ass where they be at.”

AllHipHop.com: Working with the ballet is kind of the unexpected that people have come to expect from OutKast. Almost like doing a Hip-Hop musical set to take place during the prohibition. Before you do an album do you just do it and hope the fans will follow or do you ever worry what the fans will think?Big Boi: Nah. It’s always been like that. You keep the fans in mind but you have to do the music that you feel. You have to do the music that you believe in and if we believe in something experimentation is the best way to come up with that new stuff. Are albums have always been experimental projects. That’s how we stay ahead of the curve because we’re not afraid to do certain things. We listened to all types of music growing up from Bob Marley and Nirvana all the way down to Def Leppard and Guns N’ Roses. You can take it from there on back to Too Short and Kate Bush and whoever…There’s no lines when it comes to music. I think that’s one of the advantages that we have because a lot of people out there don’t have an open mind when it comes to music, and that’s why they stay their punk ass where they be at.AllHipHop.com: Do you ever have people that are close to you that question your moves in music?Big Boi: Yeah…people always question and you don’t always have an answer for them. People are always going to question what they don’t understand. When you give it to them and it’s jamming at the end of the day they’ll be like, “Oh ok. Now I see.” It just really takes work and it’s a trial & error process. Some things work…some things don’t. I remember when we were doing the song “ATLiens” and we tried to get a tuba player in there to play the bassline. It didn’t work but that’s one of the things that happen when you’re experimenting. That’s just a little footnote for ya’ll.AllHipHop.com: How long have you been operating the production company you mentioned earlier?Big Boi: Me and Dre have been making [beats] since ATLiens. Now this is something I’ve been doing now for about five years or better. I started the company 2002 and what we’re doing right now is just making beats for artists. Artists come to us wanting music and we just produce for them because there are a lot of good artists out there…they just don’t know how to pick a beat. They’re dope as hell but they just don’t pick the right beat. When you come to us it’s the crème de la crème.AllHipHop.com: Are you still putting out music on Purple Ribbon Records?Big Boi: Most definitely. I have a joint deal with Puffy for my artist Janelle Monae and I see [AllHipHop.com] supporting that. We’re going to put out music from Konkrete. We also have a garage rock group Vonnegutt. It’s all about the music right now. The movies and the films – that side of my life is booming, but I wanted to take the time out and give the fans some good music.AllHipHop.com: Now that you’re a label owner what is some advice that you would give to up and coming artists?Big Boi: First piece of advice is…everybody…can’t…rap. It looks easy and you might know how to put together a song but everybody can’t have a rap career. It’s good for some people but some people are doing it just to be on the bandwagon. It all depends on the reason that you’re into it. And if you’re really into it you need to hone in on your craft. It’s like studying. You need to perform and write so that you can get better and better. Just know that it’s not for everybody.

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