Ears to the street and eyes to the sky

As half of hip-hop super-duo Outkast, Big Boi established himself as one the dopest emcees in history.

Teaming up with childhood homey Andre 3000, the pair pioneered an eccentric Dirty South-meets-G-Funk style that earned them massive critical and commercial success throughout the '90s and early 2000s.

But with the sometimes-overshadowing Andre taking a musical sabbatical the last few years to focus on acting and other projects, Big Boi set out on his own this summer, releasing a phenomenal solo debut that should lay to rest any concerns that Andre was the creative spark in their collaborations. Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty is a masterpiece of infinitely innovative rhymes anchored by catchy choruses and booty-shaking ‘80s-synth-funk beats that somehow manages to sound both comfortingly familiar and disarmingly futuristic.

Big Boi tells Xpress the success of the album feels especially sweet after his former label, Jive Records, delayed its release for years over commercial concerns that proved to be unfounded (it debuted at number three on the US Billboard chart).

"It feels great; this album has been finished for some time now and I really just wanted to get it out there and have people listen to it. So I am thrilled of the great responses it has been getting," he says, adding that he's already completed a followup. "I feel like I am always growing as an artist, putting out a solo disc and going on my first solo tour has been a learning experience. I see myself, musically, just keep making music and keep making records. I already have my next solo album done."

The Atlanta rapper has embarked on a massive U.S. and European tour in support of the disc and says he's having fun getting back out on the road after laying low for a few years. In addition to performing crunk new party anthems like "Daddy Fat Sax" "Shutterbugg" and "Tangerine," he reveals that fans can also expect to hear renditions of old-school Outkast bangers like "Rosa Parks," "Miss Jackson" and "Bombs over Baghdad."

"The live shows are great – I love getting out there and performing for my fans – it's been awhile since I have gotten out there to perform," he says, noting that he'll be coming to Asheville armed with a DJ over a live band. "I usually perform with a DJ — not a band — and I do a lot of old stuff along with the new. I like both: I like the band because it gives it a different feel and it’s all live creating the music right there, but I also like the DJ because it gives off the similar sound that I achieved on the record."

He also reveals a special place in his heart for Halloween. After his Friday night slot at Moogfest, Big Boi will head back down to his beloved ATL for an annual Halloween benefit party for his Big Kidz Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to developing socially conscious youth.

"I like Halloween, I have kids too and they are into it. Halloween is always a fun holiday to participate in as a kid – I mean, you get to dress up and be whatever you want that day and not look crazy – how fun is that," he says.

One of the goals of Moogfest is to honor Bob Moog's legacy as a sonic pioneer and the inventor of instruments and tools such as the the Minimoog Voyager, the Little Phatty, the Etherwave Theremin and Moogerfoogers. How has Moog's legacy and inventions contributed to and/or inspired your music?
Big Boi: He helped to create that electronic sound and I definitely incorporate that in a lot of my music.

Who would win in a fight: Freddy Kruger, Mike Myers, a gremlin, the Blair Witch, Freddie Mercury, or you?
Freddy Krueger – I am not trying to mess with that.

Who's your favorite monster (and why)?
Cookie Monster – because he eats mad cookies all day.

If you could ask Bob Moog one question, what would it be?
How long did it take you to come up with the Moog synthesizer?

Do you have any special Halloween hijinks planned for the Moogfest performance?
I haven’t planned that far ahead… but now you have me thinking…

What was your craziest or most memorable Halloween night?
Last benefit for the Big Kidz Foundation when I got behind the bar and starting mixing up the drinks.

Describe your best Halloween costume.
Last year's Halloween party I was “Dick Fury” (a spin off of DF/Dungeon Family).

Have you ever seen a ghost, or had any other paranormal experience?
No paranormal activity over here.

What would you rather be: a zombie or a robot?
Zombie.

What's your favorite candy (and why)?
Snickers bars; they fill you up.

Ever been to Asheville before? Any memories of, or thoughts about, the town?
I’ve never been but I am looking forward to it.

— Jake Frankel can be reached at 251-1333, ext. 115, or at jfrankel@mountainx.com.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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