After a rowdy, hit-filled SXSW performance at Austin Music Hall, Rolling Stone caught up with Big Boi to talk about the status of his long-awaited solo debut and the future of his group, OutKast.
Big Boi says his album, Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty, is finished, save some "additives and preservatives" currently being added by the rapper and producers Organized Noize befor a summer release. Stylistically, Big Boi says the album's 16 tracks will cover "electro, funk, blues, some of everything. It's all over the place. When we make a record, expect the unexpected."
So, what's been taking it so long to come out? "Jive Records, man," says Big Boi, whose contract was adopted by Jive after Arista dissolved its roster in 2004. "You know what goes with Jive? Shuckin' and jivin'. And the fans have been thinking it's me and Dre. You can't work on music for two-plus years and just give it to a label and they just fuck it up."
In turn, Big Boi has been doing album promotion, leaking the track "Royal Flush" himself in early 2008, and pushing out "Ringtone" last month. "I've been doing it myself," says Big Boi. "It's like I'm indie right now, but they won't let us out the contract. The Clipse said it best [on 'Mr. Me Too'] when they said 'they weren't playing fair at Jive.' They don't want to spend the money, but the music's gonna make its own way."
Big Boi is currently focusing on his solo record and his Purple Ribbon roster currently breaking sci-fi R&B star Janelle Monae, rappers Konkrete and funk-rock band Vonnegutt. But OutKast fans need not worry about the rumors of the group's dissolution: Big Boi says he was in the studio with partner Andre 3000 as recently as two weeks ago, working on follow-up material to 2006's Idlewild soundtrack. "As soon as Dre finishes his solo record, we'll get the 'Kast cranking," says Big Boi. "Since we've both been working with Organized Noize on our solo projects, we hear different records and be like, 'Well, we're gonna keep this one for the 'Kast album.' We're cooking up tracks, all right. Never stop. That's an everyday thing."