Saturday, July 26, 2014

Big Boi Breaks Down Outkast/Solo Catalogue

I always like hearing behind the scenes stories about albums. I decided to post this for those who missed out. This is a dope article I found on the Vibe's website, written by Keith Murphy. Big Boi breaks down his solo projects and Outkast' discography. Its from 2010, which is why  it stops at  the "Sir Lucious Left Foot" album. OutKast has one of the best discographys in Hip-Hop, so I definitely recommend reading this.

Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)

This was boot camp for myself and Dre. On our first record we were strictly MC’s. All we wanted to do was rap [laughs]. Organized Noize was responsible for all our production, so our whole aim mainly was to let everyone know that we were about lyricism. We just wanted to annihilate every track; destroy every song that was put in front of us. I don’t think we understood how good we were. We were so young. But we knew we had a raw camp and there were niggas who were dead serious about their art.
ATLiens (1996)

This is the album where Outkast started getting into the production side of things. There was a lot of experimenting with beats and of course we were still working with Organize Noize. We were on the road two years before ATLiens was released, so we didn’t have a lot of studio time. After the tour, we camped out at a hotel and then jumped back into the Dungeon studio to start work on the album. You could hear the natural progression.

We were serious about our craft and niggas were getting better with expressing themselves. We started to get a little respect from the East and the West Coast. But there was still that little stigma of, ‘Yeah, all those dudes from the south can’t rap, except for Outkast [laughs].’  ATLiens was a darker album. It was harder and represented more so myself and Dre’s style. I think the best moment on there is “Mainstream.” Khujo Goodie and T-Mo [from Goodie Mob] killed it. When I think about this album I always remember wintertime, which was our favorite season to record. We were in this little pod of a basement studio in Atlanta just being absorbed by the music.

Aquemini (1998)

Aquemini was the last album in which we were in the studio together, all the time. By then we had started mastering our own production. I would start doing things on my own and Dre would start doing things on his own, so we had more to bring to the table. That individuality became more [prominent] on the next album. But you know what was crazy? Shooting that “Rosa Parks” video. It was a family affair because we had everybody out there including Dre’s future father-in-law, pastor Hodo, who played the harmonica.

Then we had our dancers, The Crowd Pleasers, to come out and support. When you have high power music like that, it makes people want to move in different kinds of ways. Just to showcase different styles of Atlanta dancing, we were all about that. We used to do the talent shows at the high schools and dancing was a big part of the whole music culture in Atlanta from the Bankhead Bounce on out. That shit was crunk! To me that’s what hip-hop is all about: dancing, graffiti art, DJing and rhyming. At the same time, we wanted to make sure that our image matched the energy of the music. This is when Dre started experimenting with his clothes. His thing was ‘I want to look like the music.’ He was all about making his look more psychedelic and having fun with it. Style is all about personal preference. We didn’t give a fuck what people were saying about how we dressed.

Stankonia (2000)

Stankonia represented a wild time for us. We were coming into 1999 and we thought the world was going to end, so we were like, ‘Fuck it…we are going all out!’ You can hear that on “B.O.B.” The first time I heard that track, it made me feel a certain way. It’s unexplainable. The time changes in the song sent shivers through me; it made me feel invincible. "B.O.B.” is that shit that just recharges you; shocks the shit out of your ass. When that song comes on it’s like, ‘Clear!!!’

By Stankonia we had defined our individual styles. You can hear more of a melodic aspect on the songs. I’ve always been incorporating singing into my rhymes ever since “Elevators.” But Dre wanted to take it a step further. He wanted to experiment more with the melodies. It just added another element to the music to where people started saying Dre is singing more and Big is rhyming crazy. Verse wise, I just wanted to be devastating on the mic. When I picked up the microphone, I wanted niggas to know I was the boogeyman [laughs]. I’m a true MC at heart. And Dre? You can’t fuck with him on the mic.

Still, it was important to get other talented [voices] involved. The guys I was bringing in were the people I was cool with. We couldn’t listen to a whole album with just my voice and Dre’s voice. So, instead of going out and getting whoever was hot to jump on a song, we got some niggas who was right around the way that was busting. Niggas around my way can rhyme. That’s where the Killer Mike’s and Slim Calhoun’s come from. Outkast, Goodie Mob, Witchdoctor and Cool Breeze were not the only MC’s that had talent. To me, we were all a part of the whole southern movement. Just letting other regions know, ‘Okay, these boys’ lyrical ability is off the chart and they are serious about what they are rapping about.’

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)

The whole idea of making Speakerboxxx/The Love Below double solo albums came from a DJ by the name of Greg Street in Atlanta, who is our homeboy. We were sitting outside the studio and he was like, ‘Man, I’m telling you what y’all need to do. Two CD’s…one with Dre and one with you. Ain’t nobody ever did that before. Show these motherfuckers that y’all are a supergroup that happens to be two stand alone niggas.’ And we were like, shit, let’s do it! We were known for taking chances. But people had never heard a song like “Hey Ya” coming from a hip-hop group. And with “The Way You Move,” people had never heard that more mature side from us. If we were going to go into different musical realms to get to that ‘rock star’ status, those were going to be the two songs that did it for us. Both songs went no. 1.

But those records were not even supposed to be our first two singles. It was originally “She Lives In My Lap” and “Ghetto Musick.” But when we first put them out the label said, ‘Nobody is reacting to these songs. It’s not going the way we planned.’ I remember it like yesterday…we were shooting the cover for VIBE at the time and Dre was like, ‘Shit, let’s put out “Hey Ya” and “The Way You Move.’” Word came back to the label and they just told us, “We don’t think we can do no “Hey Ya.’” But Dre stood his ground like ‘Fuck that shit.’ He asked if I was backing him and I was like, ‘Hell yeah!’ We stuck to our guns and those two songs came out and blew the fuck up. The label never doubted us ever again.

That whole period was just surreal. We had just got finished performing on the Grammy’s. We had 25 members of my family and 25 members of Dre’s family there to support. We flew them all out…I’m talking about cousins, aunties, uncles, and grandmothers. We are coming off two songs that have been going at no. 1 for a minute and they called our name [for Album of the Year]. When they said ‘the winner is Outkast’ we were like, what the fuck??? It was like a dream and our whole family was there to celebrate with us. That was the most beautiful moment of our career.

Big Boi Presents: Got Purp? Vol. 2—Purple Ribbon All-Stars (2005)

Once you get to a certain point and people have a certain perception about you, you have to go all the way down and build yourself back up again. That’s what we did with “Kryptonite.” I am “Southernplayalistic” and “The Way You Move.” But, I am also “Kyrptonite.” I can just spin the wheel and nigga stop it wherever you want to stop it and we’ll jam on any level. So to go back and build it from the street level up again is what you have to do. Because if you don’t have the streets, you don’t have nobody.

Idlewild (2006)

 I think some of the criticism that came with Idewild was kind of shallow. Some people just don’t want to see you expand artistically. But what a lot of people don’t seem to understand is that the movie was a period piece, which for one is hard to do. And it was an Outkast album, but they were trying to dub it as a soundtrack. If you go back and listen to that record and if you are an Outkast fan or a true music lover, you are going to love it. We still came out with gems like “Hollywood Divorce” and “Call The Law” with Janelle Monae, which was one of her early introductions.

I remember when I first heard Janelle. She used to sing background for this guy I had signed to the label named Scar. She would be around the studio; just a cute little girl.  For one, her voice was just so angelic. When she sang, she gave me the chills. I’m sitting down with Janelle and her whole crew The Wondaland Arts Society and they are pitching me the whole Arch Android and Cindy Mayweather vision and concept. The whole idea struck me like they knew what they were doing. They were not trying to do what everyone else was doing. I love originality. When I see what Janelle is doing today I’m like a proud big brother. It just lets me know that we have some strong ears over here.

Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (2010)

Let’s just be clear. The whole idea of recording this solo album came from Dre. It did not come from Big Boi. If it were me we would have done another Outkast record [laughs]. But Dre had just started doing movies and his clothing line and he wanted to focus on that. So he was like, ‘If we do the solo albums, it will make the Outkast albums mean that much more to the fans.’ And I was cool with that. I started Sir Lucious on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in 2007. I was camped out in the studio with Khujo  and Backbone. I wanted to bring the essence of how we made Southernplayalistic back at the Dungeon. It was all of us in one house. We asked Big Rube to come down there and fuck with us and he did what he had to do like it was yesterday. I finished mastering this record on May 27 of this year, which just happens to be Dre’s birthday.

I could have been done with Sir Lucious two years ago. The same songs “Fo Yo Sorrows,” “Shutterbugg,” “Turns Me On,” and “Back Up Plan”…all that shit is two years old plus. But Jive was sitting on this album, telling me, We don’t get it; can you go back in and make songs like Lil Wayne? It was crazy. Now that I look back on it, it seems like they were just trying to stall me out to get Dre to get in the studio. They wanted another Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. But at the end of the day, they didn’t understand the music and I didn’t want my music coming out without it being released on a proper platform. I just kept cutting records. Every now and then I would ask Jive for my release. I never thought it was going to happen, but it finally played out this year when Peter Thea from Jive was like, ‘You put out the song with Andre 3000 or you can take your album and go elsewhere.’ So I called L.A. Reid and he said, Come on home, son.

I’m proud of this album. Organized Noize brought me the song “Fo Yo Sorrows” and I was like, ‘Damn, this shit is jamming like hell.’ Sam Chris had already added the hook on it, but I was like, ‘Cool, but what else can I do to it?’ I added more music like synth keyboards and guitars and the shit was becoming a funk extravaganza. I knew I needed to piss on it some more, so I called Uncle George (George Clinton) and told him I had a jam. I emailed it to him and two days later he sent it back and there was so much great stuff he was saying on it that we had to format it. I wrote another part that I thought would be perfect for Short Dog (Too Short). I wanted him to spit that shit. So I came out to California, we hooked up at the studio, and he did that shit in five minutes! It’s things like that that make a song special.

Andre would stop by the studio and I’d play him some stuff and he’d be like, ‘Hey man, I want to get on that.’ So I let him get on “Royal Flush.” He’s come back again and like, ‘I want to get on that one, too.’ [laughs]. Weeks past by and I’m still trying to close the album out. I meet up with Dre again and he’s like, ‘You still need one more hard song.’ He pressed play on some of [the newer stuff] he was working on and I was like, ‘That’s the one!’ We recorded “Lookin For Ya,” which featured two verses from each of us. Yelawolf was around and I asked him to put a hook on it. But his regular verse was crazier than the hook, so I decided to keep that instead. I also have my new group Vonnegutt on the album. They are on my new single “Follow Us.” We have a whole album done on them and they are jamming. I just want to keep good music going.

People have been telling me that the [positive] reviews I’ve been receiving [for Sir Lucious] is unheard of. I have one of the highest rated albums of all time on Metacritic. Just to have that acclaim at this stage in my career is great, man. People have to understand who they are dealing with. There are two of us and we love making music. It’s Outkast for life.

No comments :

Post a Comment