There's little doubting Atlanta duo Outkast's place in hip-hop history. The twosome of Andre 3000 and Big Boi practically invented the southern hip-hop sub-genre, developing a crazy style to call their own -- and something all their own, too. Even some 17 years after their 1994 full-length debut, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, few in the southern hip-hop world have been able to match their creativity.
And that's saying nothing of the Album of the Year Grammy that their album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below won in 2003.
But with the 2010 release of his first proper solo album, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, Big Boi has properly cemented his place in the genre as a solo artist, as well. With apologies to Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twist Fantasy, which was more a pop record than anything, Big Boi's solo debut was, almost unanimously crowned as the hip-hop record of the year. And deservedly so.
So, needless to say, just having him on the bill at this year's 35 Conferette was quite the treat. And, no surprise here, his show, the last outdoor one of the weekend, didn't disappoint. Not at all: It was the rowdiest of the weekend, and easily the most embraced by the Denton crowds.
And, right before his performance, we got quite the treat, too: Minutes before he took the stage, Big Boi was kind enough to allow us onto his tour bus to ask him a couple of questions. We talked about his motivations behind putting out a proper solo release, his preparations for his next solo album, his thoughts on the rapid release cycles so many artists are forced to endure these days, his thoughts on hip-hop as a whole, and, for a brief moment, the fact that he doesn't eat pork. Read our Q&A in full after the jump.
First off, what's the allure of playing a festival like this?
It's just good energy, man, with die-hard fans and everything. It's just about going out there and having a good time and trying to go out there and kill shit.
Is part of it about trying to further establish yourself further as a solo artist? People obviously know who you are by now, and, in many ways, Speakerboxxx was your first solo record. But how hard has it been trying to distinguish yourself from the Outkast stuff?
People just know me for the music. it's all about making jams. And now that I've put out a standalone album, and not just half of an Outkast album, they know it's about what time it is and know that nothing's changed. We're just killing music and doing what we do.
Why was it important to try to do a standalone record?
It wasn't really important. Dre just wasn't ready to do the next Outkast record. He wanted to do the solo thing, so I started doing the solo thing.
Did the success of Speakerboxxx make you want to do something like this more, though?
No, not really. I was trying to make an Outkast record! Really, just to tell you the truth. I wasn't even trying to think about making a solo album. Dre had just started the Benjamin Andre thing, so he suggested I do a solo record and I was like, 'Cool.'
I think I saw a tweet or something from you the other day with a picture in a recording studio. What're you working on?
Working on the new album Daddy Fat Sax. Working on that. It's going good.
Same team and everything? Same producers as Left Foot?
Ain't nothing changed, man, just the day.
Even Scott Storch? 'Cause, I gotta say, that "Shutterbug" record he produced took me from out of nowhere. I had no idea he still had that in him.
Yeah, man. You just got to spice it up, man. My whole motto is just that a jam is a jam. The fans are going to appreciate real music and real lyrics. And you've just got to give it to them. It's all about content. People these days, they just take so much in so quickly, so it's always got to be the right vibe. You can't just put something out and rush and rush and rush. You can't do that.
So, clearly, you think that's a problem in modern music.
Yeah, man! Motherfuckers just keep rushing! They just keep putting music out, you know what I'm saying? It's like, c'mon, who puts out an album every six months? If you've got the material, that's one thing. But if you're just doing it to meet a quota, that's not a thing to do.
This is a pretty quick turnaround for you, though, right after Left Foot to be putting out Daddy Fat Sax.
Nah, not really. because it's not going to come out until maybe... I don't know. It may not come out until the end of the year. But, me? I like to stay ahead of the game and soak and marinate on the music like a slab of baby back ribs or something. And I don't even eat beef, you feel me?
No? No cliched barbecue joint stops for you, then, while you're in Texas?
No, hell no. I don't eat pork! No beef or nothing. No barbecue.
I read an interesting quote you had the other day in the Denton Record-Chronicle where you went out of your way to say that you don't consider yourself a hip-hop artist...
No way, man. It's music. It's just music. You can't cage us in just one category. It's all music. It's world music. Sure, there are aspects of hip-hop, but also blues, rock, soul and jazz. It's all just pop and rock records to me.
Like the track "Follow Us" that you did with Vonnegut, maybe? Well, I guess they've got a little bit of hip-hop in them...
Yeah, just a little bit of flavor. You see, the goal is just to make the coldest music on the planet and to stay unfuckwitable. That is the goal. That's it.