After Big Boi released his experimental new album Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors last December, the legendary Atlanta MC will hit the road this spring for his first U.S. tour in more than two years. The Outkast rapper's Shoes for Running tour kicks off on April 18th in his native Georgia, and will hit 45 cities before wrapping on June 19th in Boston. Learning he was keeping it local at the tour's outset was music to Big Boi's ears.
"We starting it off in my own backyard . . . that's right up the street," he tells Rolling Stone. "They'll show me love before we get out there in the midst of the world."
Since releasing Vicious Lies, Big Boi has hit the late-night circuit, performing a Little Dragon-assisted rendition of "Mama Told Me" on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, a supremely funky take on "Apple of My Eye" on Letterman and a Phantogram-aided version of "CPU" on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Still, the rapper insists that even after nearly two decades in the game, rehearsing before a tour is a must. "You gotta stay on your craft. Sharpen up," he explains. "We've been doing one-offs, a couple shows a month just to keep the dust off ya ass." Big Boi says he likes to refer to these one-off gigs as "live dress rehearsals," but he admits that he still conducts more formal practice with a DJ and his touring band.
The MC says his set list will include new tracks, most notably "CPU" and "Apple of My Eye." His 90-minute set will also include classic Outkast jams and cuts from his 2010 solo LP Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, including "Fo Yo Sorrows," "Shutterbug" and "Shine Blockas." "It's just nonstop action," he says.
One of the most intriguing elements of the rapper's newest effort was its wealth of guest stars, from Wavves' Nathan Williams ("Shoes for Running") to T.I. ("In the A") and Kid Cudi ("She Hates Me"). There's a possibility, he says, that they'll pop up onstage this tour. "Oh, definitely!" Big Boi says. "Depending on who's in the vicinity."
He's particularly amped, he says, to have fellow Atlanta rapper Killer Mike opening for him. Killer Mike appeared on the Vicious Lies cut "Thom Pettie," and he'll join Big Boi during the main set each night. "It'll be a nice block of Killer Mike and Big just killing shit," Big Boi says. "We're gonna do just about all the records that me and him recorded together."
Details aside, Big Boi is just ready to hit the road and reconnect with his audience. "To play your music in front of the fans that love it, it's like the best feeling in the world," he says. "Just jamming out with all walks of life."
Check out the tour dates below:
4/18 Athens, GA – Georgia Theater
4/19 Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
4/20 Charlottesville, VA – University of Virginia
4/21 Baltimore, MD – Sound Stage
4/23 Providence, RI – Lupo's
4/24 Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Bowl
4/25 Williamsburg, VA – College of William & Mary
4/26 University Park, PA – Penn State University
4/27 Philadelphia, PA – TLA
4/30 Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue
5/1 Chicago, IL – Vic Theater
5/2 San Francisco, CA – San Francisco State University
5/3 Milwaukee, WI – The Rave
5/4 Memphis, TN – Beale Street
5/5 Lawrence, KS – Granada Theater
5/7 Denver, CO – Cervantis
5/8 Fort Collins, CO – Aggie Theater
5/9 Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
5/13 Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
5/15 Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst
5/15 San Francisco, CA – Mezzanine
5/18 Los Angeles, CA – House of Blues
5/19 Albuquerque, NM – Observatory
5/23 Houston, TX – Bayour Music Hall
5/24 Austin, TX – The Backyard
5/25 Dallas, TX – Palladium Ballroom
5/26 Chillicothe, IL – Summer Camp Fest
5/30 Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works
5/31 Chattanooga, TN – Track 29
6/1 Mobile, AL – Soul Kitchen
6/2 Birmingham, AL – Avondale Brewing Co.
6/4 Orlando, FL – The Plaza Live
6/5 Fort Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
6/6 Jacksonville, FL – Brewsters Megaplex
6/7 Altanta, GA – Masquerade
6/8 Charleston, SC – Music Farm
6/9 Wilmington, NC – Brooklyn Arts Center
6/11 Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theater
6/12 Charlotte, NC – Amos
6/14 Washington D.C. – Howard's Theatre
6/15 Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
6/16 Toronto, Ontario – North By Northeast
6/19 Boston, MA – Paradise