The final track list for Big Boi’s long-delayed debut solo album Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty hit the internet. Conspicuously missing were any songs featuring André 3000, the other half of OutKast. Weird. Big Boi has played us four different incarnations of Sir Luscious since 2008, and collaborations with André were always part of the running order. That’s no longer the case, and it turns out it’s because of music industry tomfoolery: Big Boi was initially slated to release Sir Luscious via Jive Records, but none of the proposed singles would stick at radio, the album never came out, and eventually the label released Big Boi from his contract. He then went and signed a solo deal at Def Jam, who are releasing the album on July 6th, 2010. Yet OutKast, as a group, remains signed to Jive. In other words—it’s complicated. We got Big Boi on the horn from Atlanta to break down what’s going on. (Jive Records declined to comment.) —WILL WELCH
Well, basically it boils down to Jive Records. That’s how they do it. Jive Records told me my album is a piece of art, and they didn’t know what to do with it. So I moved it over to Def Jam. And now Jive is trying to block Dré from being on my record. We can’t be on songs together now.
So because OutKast as a group is signed to Jive, they’re able to legally block the two of you from working together?
Au contraire! They cannot block it. Au contraire. Either they’re going to do it the right way, or they’re going to do it my way. How you wanna do it? The fans thirst will be quenched. You know, I’m no stranger to that internet, baby. So you already know what time it is. The thirst of the fans will be quenched.
“Royal Flush” with Dré and Raekwon has been out since 2008, but you’re saying we will be hearing “Lookin For Ya” [with André] even though it’s not on the album?
I guarantee it.
UPDATE: Big Boi ft. André 3000 “Lookin For Ya” \ Can you speak a little bit about your frustration here? What you’re saying is that you and your friend from high school can’t rap on the same song and have it get an official release.
It’s plain stupidity. It’s stupid business and it’s stupid politics. I mean, Jive Records had [Big Boi’s current Def Jam single] “Shutterbug” for three years. And [new Sir Luscious leak] “General Patton” for three years. You see what I’m saying? They told me to go in and make my version of Lil’ Wayne’s “Lollipop”! I love that song. That was my favorite song when it came out. But how you gonna tell me to go bite another MCs style? How are you even going to open your mouth up to tell me to go and do that? That’s the highest form of disrespect ever. So that’s when I wanted to get off Jive. And the only honorable thing they’ve done is allow me to do that. So I’ve had nothing to do with them. Dré tried to have a talk with Jive and they said, “No, we can’t. That’s gonna make us look bad.”
Let’s talk about how the records you made with André for Sir Luscious came together.
We’re gonna keep one of them for the next OutKast record. “Royal Flush” was supposed to be on the album. That was a leak that got nominated for a Grammy. The other track we did, “Lookin For Ya” was produced by Boi Wonda and it’s me, Dré, and Sleepy Brown—the Dream Team going back to “Playa’s Ball” and “I Can’t Wait.” They want to keep that from the fans, man, and I can’t have it. I won’t stand for that shit.
How’d “Lookin For Ya” happen?
I was outside the studio just chillin’ and Erik Sermon from EPMD rolled by the studio and said, “Yo, I got some music for ya.” I was like, “Word.” So he came in and played a beat, and then he played the Boi Wonda beat. I was like, “What’s that?!” So he was like, “We’ll let you get that one, then.”
The whole time I was working, Dré would come in and out of the studio. Like, he heard “Royal Flush” and said, “I wanna get on that.” And he heard, “Lookin For Ya” and said, “I wanna get on that.” The following day, he jumped on it. Two verses apiece, just raw lyricism. OutKast to the fullest. It was slated for the album. We tried to get everything solidified but Jive said, “Naw. Y’all can’t rap together.” Then I was going to take Dré off and make my own version, but then I thought, “No. Fuck that. If he can’t be on it, then I’m not using it.”
Did Dré do his verses at Stankonia or at a home studio?
Stankonia. Came right back the very next day and killed that shit. Matter fact, he put both his verses on there before I even had a chance to put anything on there.
Last time I interviewed Dré, he made it clear that sometimes he feels like he’s got something to say, and sometimes he doesn’t.
How does that affect you?
When he says he wants to get on something, you better go ‘head and let him get on it. That’s how we do it. Whenever he says, “Hey man, I wanna get on that,” he can do it. That’s my partner. He can get on whatever the fuck he wants to get on. He could’ve got on every song on the album if he wanted to. So they can’t stop us, man. I been knowing Dré half my life. And for these people that we don’t even know—that haven’t even had a hand in our career at all—that’s fucking blasphemy. So stay tuned.