I was going through files on my old PC the other day, and what did I find but a bunch of old interviews I've done over the past five or so years that never made it to my website.
This was one of my most anticipated interviews, with Big Boi (Antwan Patton) from Outkast. The interview got pushed back 24 hours because he was busy in the studio, and the next day when we finally got connected, it was 4pm US time and he was just waking up. The first five minutes of the interview was basically Big Boi groaning as an answer to every question (it also explains his final statement to me), but once he actually was awake it was all good. The interview was eventually condensed into a small news piece in Urban Hitz magazine (RIP) and it was done around the time Got Purp Vol. 2 just went on sale.
Got Purp Vol. 2 has a nice mix of street and soul tracks, was that your aim or simply how the album naturally evolved?
We just wanted to keep it funky, you know. We wanted to show every different aspect to the label – not just hip-hop or crunk.
Are you happy with how the album has been received by both critics and the general public?
Oh yeah man, we’ve had excellent feedback from everybody who’s listened to the album.
Kryptonite was a surprise hit in Australia – a lot of Southern hip-hop isn’t well-received down here [NOTE: Probably should have clarified "in mainstream R&B clubs"] – so you should be happy about that.
Oh word? That’s good man. Gotta make it down there to check it out. Show you guys how to party.
Yeah, someone needs to show Australia how to get crunk. Some people in the clubs down here dance to crunk music like they’re 2-stepping to slow jams.
Hell naw! [laughs]
Can you explain what exactly "Kryptonite" is?
It’s whatever you want it to be – whatever floats your boat. Whatever gets your adrenalin going. Doesn’t have to be smoking, just whatever gets you feeling like you’re on top of the world, like you can run motherfuckers over.
Do you feel any pressure with Purple Ribbon to do Outkast numbers? It’s hard to go diamond every time...
We’re not really trying to do the Outkast thing. A lot of the guys on the label have been on Outkast albums, we’re just trying to give them a little shine for themselves.
Bubba Sparxxx and Killer Mike are two guys on Purple Ribbon who have had some success in the past, what’s needed for them to take the next step?
We just need to put our foot on the gas and go hard with their product. I really believe in it, so we just need to get it out there to the people. I give all my artists a lot of control but still try to help them get out the best quality product possible.
Some artists seem to not get into the behind the scenes side of the music business, but you seem to relish being in an executive position.
Yeah, it’s cool, I do enjoy that part of the business, but I’ve also got a dope team behind me. They help me get everything moving, but you know I’ve been producing, writing, everything like that for a long time, it was only natural to get into artist management.
The Black Eyed Peas have said they’re going to actively try and sign Australian hip-hop acts, would you ever look outside the States to start a worldwide empire?
Oh most definitely man. You don’t have to be from the States, or from Atlanta... it’s like a stew man, if there are some ingredients you don’t have, you need to scoop them up and add them. We’re looking for anyone with skills, with originality – we’re not afraid to take risks.
If you could sign any artist today, who would it be?
Michael Jackson. Hell yeah! [laughs]
Two of your biggest Outkast hits, Bombs Over Baghdad and Ghettomusick, are both ridiculously quick tracks, almost verging on an electro-style tempo. What’s your favourite of those two?
Bombs Over Baghdad. That one is just crazy and every time I heard that track I think of the video, which is one of my favourite Outkast videos.
Besides your own artists, what hip-hop are you listening to now?
A little Three 6 Mafia, also listen to a lot of old school soul music and old school hip-hop, artists like Too $hort, N.W.A., some Sade, Kate Bush, things like that.
What inspires you to create music?
God, of course.
Outside of music, what do you get up to?
I do a little bowling, I’ve got a nice little bowling game. I breed dogs... but music really consumes most of my time. I’ve got the label now so that takes up a lot of my time, I’m always producing, so there’s not a lot of time outside of that.
What about sports?
Oh yeah, big sports fan...
Do you follow the Atlanta Hawks or are they too sorry to support right now?
What you said [laughs]. I follow mostly football, I don’t really follow basketball too much, but I run with the Detroit Pistons.
You were on Australian TV screens recently, with your little cameo in an episode of Chappelle’s Show. How did that get hooked up?
Dave Chappelle called me and said he really wanted me to be on the show and I was like, “Hell yeah”. When I got there, he asked if before I performed, if I’d have time to do a little improv sketch, just going off the top of our heads, freestyling. So going back and forth with Dave Chappelle, that was real cool.
So those lines were all yours – "I’m playing tennis on the moon"?
Yeah, Dave was like, "Man, you good!" I was just having fun with it.
Will we ever see Big Boi in Australia?
[Very enthusiastically] Hell yeah, I can’t wait. Hopefully this year. If a lot of people read this interview, hopefully some motherfuckers can set up a trip and bring us all down there.
Cool, thanks for your time man.
Hey man, sorry about the tiredness and all, we’ll speak again, peace and blessings to you.