Sir Lucious Left Foot, Your Knighted ATLien
If someone told you that a 23 year-old Canadian rapper and Big Boi from Outkast would make their solo debut in the same summer of 2010, would you believe him? I wouldn’t (or maybe I would be more bugged out about the whole Canadian rapper business, but that’s a discussion for a whole ‘nother day). The fact is Big Boi’s solo album Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty has been turning, for a few years now, into a perfectly padded snowball ready to hit that monotonous, nursery rhyme chanting, school bus of an industry. Splat! iTunes warned us with a single a week countdown that started with the pulsating “Shutterbug” and by the time you read this, Big Boi might be in some phone booth changing into Sir Lucious Left Foot himself, ready to fly to Egypt, the Philippines, Finland, and every other stop on his purple ribboned world tour.
OKP: So what’s up?
Big Boi: Just got done with a Rolling Stone spread with my dogs at my dog ranch. Just got done with a CNN interview and a bunch of international phoners to spread the word on that Left Foot.
OKP: That’s crazy. So when’s the Rolling Stone article coming out?
Big Boi: I think it might be next issue.
OKP: Did they have you dress up in some crazy shit?
Big Boi: I was out in the ranch in the field with one of my dogs. They had me out in the grass running around and shit looking like an animal lover.
OKP: Your ranch, huh? Who’s idea was that?
Big Boi: It was mine. They wanted to do something fun. Me holding them on a leash. Almost like the crocodile hunter. Taking him up holding him like a baby. Mind you the dog weighs like 80 pounds. My back hurt picking that motherfucker up like that.
OKP: Wow. Have you ever done a spread that you just didn’t like?
Big Boi: They tried to get me to do something I didn’t like. They tried to have me laying on the ground with my hands in my teeth and my legs in the air. That didn’t look too masculine, though. It wasn’t masculine at all. I had to shut that shit down.
OKP: (Laughs). So the album is out July 6th and technically it’s a solo debut album, but does it feel like a solo debut album?
Big Boi: Yeah, because I had to write all the songs.
OKP: You’re telling me you feel like how Drake felt with his first album?
Big Boi: Well, I don’t know how he felt but being in a group, I’m used to writing a verse, a verse and a half, maybe two verses, but here I had to write three verses, the hook, and co-produce the tracks all along. It was just writing everything.
OKP: So would you say having to write everything was the toughest part of the whole process? If not, what was?
Big Boi: Na, definitely writing was the toughest part of the process. I take pride in my rhymes. I never wanna sound the same on every song. I wanna sound different on every song and every verse gotta be better than the last verse that I bust. I push myself to outbust myself. I gotta go into it with different cadences, different patterns, different words, different vernacular. It’s challenging, but when you come with a rhyme, 16 bars or 28 bars in, shit, you can rejoice.
OKP: So then what’s the difference between this album and Speakerboxx? That was a solo album kinda. What’s the difference between that and this one?
Big Boi: Nothing. It’s the same process. Soundwise it’s different, but the same process. My music is very experimental. I just try to play with different grooves and different sounds. It’s about getting all your ideas and fitting them together to make that one cohesive body of work and it takes time.
OKP: So even though that was an Outkast release, you still wouldn’t consider that a solo debut?
Big Boi: No, because it wasn’t stand-alone. I would, but it didn’t say “Big Boi.” If you went on the computer and looked it up and decided to order it, it would say “Outkast.”
OKP: Well, are you nervous about the reception for Sir Lucious Left Foot?
Big Boi: Na, na, na. Actually, man, working on something for that long, and having been doing it for as long as I’ve been doing it, I feel good about it. I feel like it’s some of the best work I’ve done in my life. That’s where the whole Sir Lucious Left Foot concept comes in. Sir Lucious Left Foot is like Luke Skywalker when he became a Jedi. I’m a master at my craft and I know how to do it. The album kinda leaked earlier this week and the reception has been overwhelming and they love it and that’s what I care about. I’m glad they dig it.
OKP: So why did you wait so long to do a solo album in the first place?
Big Boi: It wasn’t my choice. It was up to ‘Dre, you know what I’m saying? When we finished Idlewild and he started his clothing with Benjamin Bixby, he thought it would a good idea if we did the solo albums first, then came back and did the Outkast record since the demand was still there. When we touched down, I was like cool let’s start next day. I started on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday 2007 and I mastered my album on Andre 3000’s birthday 5/27 this year.
OKP: Wow. You remember the exact dates?
Big Boi: I started Speakerboxx on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, so it’s been good luck basically.
OKP: That’s crazy.
Big Boi: Yeah man.
OKP: So when did you first consider doing anything solo? Was it before you guys met? Was it after the first album?
Big Boi: Our first solo efforts came on our first record when we recorded the song “West Savannah” that came out on one of the later records. “West Savannah” was supposed to be on Southernplayalistic and Dre had a solo song called “Bow Your Head.” So what ended up happening was “Bow Your Head” ended up being on Idlewild and “West Savannah” was on Aquemini. So we did solo records on our first album.
OKP: So when this album drops, what’s the ideal situation for the week? Are you looking at a certain number? Do you want to be a Twitter trending topic?
Big Boi: I just want people to get it and dig it. It’s not about a numbers thing. It ain’t about a race. The record is going sell itself. Outkast is a group together. Me and Andre, we’ve been making records for 15 years and we’ve never had a number one album, but we sold records. Our albums come out the first week and they don’t take a dramatic drop the next week. They either go up or they drop a little bit, but they stay consistently selling. That’s what’s it about. It’s about getting the music in the hands of the fans and getting out there and touring and rocking it live. That’s where we get our gratification from. From just looking and seeing people’s responses on Twitter alone now this week, they’re getting it. You’re getting a sense of everybody’s favorites and what they like. People are just loving the album and they’re loving it overseas. I feel good that they dig it.
OKP: I hear that. There have been five songs that have been released on iTunes before the album dropped. Is that correct?
Big Boi: Yes and every week was like an iTunes countdown. 95% of the songs could be a single, plus or minus one or two if you want to. That’s been the response. I have an album full of singles, and that was my goal to make an album full of layers and layers of fun music with aggressive lyricism, straight hip-hop. Let’s get the music back.
OKP: Would you say that the five that were released were the best five?
Big Boi: No, no, no. You don’t show your whole hand. They’re good but I had to leave some surprises on the album. Those five are really good but the meat of the album and the core of the album is on the record itself.
OKP: Now were you comfortable with releasing five singles? Was that your decision?
Big Boi: Na, it’s like a new business model, you know what I’m saying? iTunes heard the album and was like I got a album full of smashes and they wanted to release a song every week up to the album just for the consumer because nowadays they wanna know what you got on your album. So, you just keep hitting them with jam after jam and it becomes undeniable and then they get the album and the album is doper than five songs they heard and so they connect the dots.
OKP: I heard “Tangerine”, I heard “Follow Us.” I heard pretty much all of the singles. What on the album is crazier than the five that were already released?
Big Boi: Definitely. “Hustle Blind”, the one I did with Jamie Foxx. “Night Night” that’s the one I did with B.o.B. The one that Andre 3000 produced called “You Ain’t No DJ”. That’s really the shit. “Daddy Fat Sax”. “Turns Me On”. I could keep on going, you know what I’m saying? There’s a lot of juice on it.
OKP: I’m like real excited for it. When ‘Dre heard the album, what did he say about it?
Big Boi: He said, “You need to hurry up and put that shit out.” I was like, “What song do I put out first?” and he said, “You need to put 'Shutterbug' out as your first single. You need to put that shit out. That shit need come out right now.” And that’s my thing. As long as my partner give the green light, that’s the only person’s opinion that matters to me and I’m upholding the legacy of what we’re doing and he’s like, “That shit jams.”
OKP: You guys are just great together. On YouTube I heard a song y’all did called “Lookin’ For Ya.” Is that gonna be on the album?
Big Boi: No, that’s not gonna on the album. It’s supposed to be on the album but Jive would not let ‘Dre be on my record.
OKP: Why not?
Big Boi: That’s crazy, I know, but they didn’t want any Outkast songs coming up on any label except for Jive. To me, that’s the thing about the music industry because that’s like a fuck you to our fans, but they got the record anyway. It’s more to come from that, but you know everything will work itself out. The politrix and all the red tape. It’s all about the fans, they come first.
OKP: For real. Anything else?
Big Boi: To all the fans, appreciate it, enjoy this album. This is for y’all and www.bigboi.com will be releasing exclusive tracks periodically throughout the year so stay tuned and follow me on Twitter. We’re about to hit the road next week and kick this world tour. I got Egypt, Philippines, coming up, Finland, Norway, Australia, and it’s gonna be a fun experience, Let them know when I’m in town, they need to come and see a Big Boi show.