Big Boi of OutKast overcomes hurdles with debut CD
Despite his success with the Grammy-winning, multiplatinum group OutKast, Big Boi felt artistically stifled when he tried to step out on his own as a solo rapper.
But after his recently released album, “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty,” debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200, the Atlanta-based rapper doesn’t think he’ll have that problem anymore.
Big Boi is best known as half of the groundbreaking rap duo OutKast. Along with Andre 3000, the Atlanta-based group won six Grammys churned out six platinum-plus albums, including their “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” which sold over 10 million copies.
But he and Jive Records â€” the label OutKast is signed under â€” couldn’t come to an agreement on the kind of solo project he wanted to put out, so they eventually parted ways and the 35-year-old ended up signing as a solo artist with Def Jam.
In an interview at a recent charity art event for his BigKidz Foundation, Big Boi talked about the breakthrough of his first solo album, his dispute with Jive Records and what people should expect from Andre 3000 and OutKast in the future. (A representative for Jive Records declined to comment on Big Boi’s claims).
The Associated Press: It took you four years to release your album. How did you feel when it finally came out?
Big Boi: It was a relief. I’ve been playing it for people for years. They kept asking me, “When is it coming out?” When it finally did, I was like, “Yes!”
AP: Why did it take so long?
Big Boi: (Jive Records) didn’t understand the complexity of the music. They wanted me to conform and make cookie-cutter music, which has been on the radio. I couldn’t do that. I stuck to my guns and waited. I could’ve had this done a year and a half ago. They did the only honorable thing and let me go so I could join L.A. Reid (Island Def Jam CEO/chairman, who originally signed OutKast to LaFace in 1992).
AP: Knowing you’ve had so much success with OutKast, why didn’t Jive allow you to do your own style of music?
Big Boi: They didn’t know us. They knew about us from the outside. But they didn’t know the history of our group. Because if they did, they would respect songs like “Shutterbugg” and “Fo Yo Sorrows.” They heard the records and were like, “I don’t know.”
AP: How did it all go down when you and Jive parted ways?
Big Boi: They came to me with an ultimatum. I was going to put out a song “Tangerine” with T.I. They were like, “We changed our mind, if you don’t want to put out the song with Andre 3000 first then you can take your album elsewhere.” I was like, “OK.” I called L.A. Reid and he said to come on home.
AP: I’m sure other artists can relate to your story. How do you feel after your situation?
Big Boi: Label politics is really messing music up. It’s not organically made anymore. Everything is so contrived and so planned. You got to let the music naturally happen.
AP: I know you hear about this all the time, but when should everyone expect an OutKast album?
Big Boi: I can’t give a complete date. I don’t want people to get mad. But soon as Dre finishes his album, then we’ll give an update and have a better idea of what’s going on. Right now, we’re putting beats together for the OutKast album. … When Dre finishes, we’ll commence and record.
AP: How does coming out with separate solo albums help you, Andre 3000 and OutKast?
Big Boi: I think the consumer will want an OutKast album more. They already saw where I’m coming from and what I can do. Once Dre comes out, then they’ll definitely will be waiting for it.