Interview Big Boi
On May 18th, Big Boi stopped by in Paris to present "Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty", his long-awaited, explosive solo debut. We got the chance to sit down with the half of OutKast for a quick conversation.
Abcdr du Son : How do you compare this solo experience with the previous OutKast projects?
Big Boi: It's pretty much the same, you know. We both are producers. We write, we arrange, we do all aspects of the music so, from "Aquemini" all up to now, we work in separate studios and then come in the one studio and dump it up on the table to create stuffs together. It's good, it's a great experience.
A: You said during the press conference that you worked with a "team" on this album. What is this team about? Andre and other people around?
B: Yeah, Andre is always – not around per se when we recording but once I get certain songs down, I go out, play stuffs for him and kinda get his advices. Do you need to do this or that, this or that, you know. That's my partner so his judgment is one I really really appreciate.
A: How did your relationship evolve within the years?
B: It's been the same, mayne. I've known Andre since I was in 10 th grade. I slept on his bedroom floor my last two years of high school. We're like family. Before the music, it was me and Dre. Music is something that we dreamed. We wanted it to happen, we wanted to create the group OutKast and make the best music we could make possible. We're still living that dream, mayne.
A: Are you still amazed by the long way you travelled?
B: Yeah, yeah! It's good, definitely. The best feeling is when people receive and accept and love the music. It gives the motivation to go back and then make some more.
A: Some early album songs that leaked – namely, 'Royal Flush' and 'Sumthin's gotta give' with Mary J Blidge' – are not on the final album. Was it a heartbreak for you, not to include them?
B: No no no, because I recorded maybe 40 records and I wanted to cut it down to, like, fourteen songs for the regular version. But 'Royal Flush' will be on the Deluxe version of the album. I'ma have five or six videos as well as maybe one or two more songs. So everything's gonna be put to use.
A: Why did it take so long for you to get a release date for your solo album?
B: What took long was creative difference with the label that I was on. OutKast got acquired by Jive Records. We weren't seeing eye to eye and… I just wasn't happy over there. I wasn't able to have that creative freedom. That's what took the album to come out so long, because Jive didn't understand my music. So a couple of months, we came to an agreement that they would let me go and I'd go pursue my career in Def Jam with L.A. Reid. LA started OutKast's career, he understands our music and gives us creative freedom.
A: What did Jive want you to do? I mean, you're Big Boi from OutKast !
B: I know! They want cookie-cutter, radio, commercial music. But that's not what we do. Then I got one phone call from L.A. , I was like "Hey, this is what's going on", and he was like "Come on home".
A: Is there a downside of being on the most successful rap group of all-time?
B: Naw… The only downside is… being on Jive Records! [laughs] But it's cool… I mean, I'm on Def Jam!
A: When "Speakerboxxx / The Love Below" dropped, there was this huge 'Hey ya' craze and it felt like, somehow, "Speakerboxxx" became the overlooked album of the two. How do you feel about that?
B: I don't know. I think everybody got it. It was a double disc. 'The way you move' and 'Hey ya' battled for the number one spot at the top of the charts. I think people received both of them. This is what Andre 3000 does, this is what Big Boi does. They appreciated it. When this album comes out, there won't be no mistakes about it. No doubt about it.
A: Cee-Lo and Andre took different paths in their career : Cee-Lo is now a full-fledged singer and Andre remains that strange guy that the hip-hop audience sometimes has trouble to follow. But you're still the one who raps. You never got bored with the genre?
B: Nah man, I love being an MC. It's fun and very challenging to write songs, especially to the type of music that we make because there's no set way to write to those songs. We take pride in discovering new cadences, new rhyme patterns, things like that and just talking about different stuffs. And just really having fun. I mean, the goal is just to murder the track. And I like that, it excites me. I like killin' shit.
A: Is there an artist that's challenging you right now?
B: No, there's no competition. It's about doing what you love to do. When you deliver and sets the bar high, it don't matter what everybody else do. They only can accept what you're doing and make it that much stronger. I don't look at it as competition because I have nothing to prove.
A: Are the brass bands part of your musical DNA?
B: Definitely. I've always loved the horns, man. The horns add a sort of fullness to the music – especially when you got the Hornz Unlimited who we've been using since 'Spottie Ottie' in "Aquemini". They've been around for years, they're a part of my band on tour, so it's power music and horns are very powerful. You gotta stay on that brass.
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