The year was 1998. Google was incorporated. Mark McGwire broke the single-season home run record. Viagra was approved by the FDA. And Outkast — two rappers named André 3000 and Big Boi from Atlanta, Georgia — dropped their incredible album Aquemini, featuring the iconically laid-back track, “SpottieOttieDopaliscious.”
“It’s about that fly female that you kind of really want to get with,” says Big Boi of the song’s title. Sitting in the same control room of Stankonia Recording Studios in Atlanta, Big Boi recalled the song’s recording process.
“I just remember being camped out for a long time with Dre, and him saying ‘no, run that back, no do it like this.’ He was very meticulous with it too. But it turned out perfect,” says Big Boi. Outkast’s label, LaFace Records, had directed the group not to use any samples in recording the album. And thus, the memorable horns, the frantic but controlled drums, and all the other sounds on the track were recorded live at Stankonia.
“Everything is organic as can be in that song, from scratch,” explains Big Boi. “No drum programming. Nothing hitting on the same one. It’s something different every couple of bars, it changes up.”
Once the instrumentals were laid down — stretching out a seven-minute-plus hip-hop song that never gets tired — the scene was set for the vocals: an ode to partying and romance, in what Big Boi describes as “smokin’ word.” Sleepy Brown, a long-time collaborator, provided the first verse. “When I listened to the track, [Dre] was like, ‘Yo, just talk about what you’re going through during that day.’ What goes on before you hit the club like I always did,” says Brown. “That vibe was just straight Atlanta. Friday night. You know what I’m saying, about three in the morning doing your thing.”
André 3000 provided the subsequent verses, and the rest was history.
“It’s just so vivid and there’s not even a rap spit on there. It’s straight talking that shit,” says Big Boi. “It’s a real pimp soliloquy. You know? Ghetto reporter. Love letter.”
Big Boi and Sleepy Brown recently released their joint album, The Big Sleepover.