Big Boi, ‘Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors': OutKast Rapper Shares Biggest Lessons From His Mama
To say Big Boi has already made his stamp in music history would be an understatement. As one half of the legendary duo OutKast, he has sold millions of albums over the span of his career, and won six Grammys, including the coveted album of the year award, only given to two hip-hop acts.
Despite his many accolades, the diminutive rapper, born Antwan Patton, is a family man at heart. The title of his second album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, which hit shelves yesterday (Dec. 11), comes directly from his grandmother.
"It was going to be the title of my grandmother's book. But she didn't want to put the book out because she said she was going to fuck up everybody in our family household, because she was going to tell all the family secrets," Big Boi tells The BoomBox.
His family similarly made the final call on the album's cover, which features his face in splashes of colorful paint.
"The colors represent emotion," Big Boi reveals. "We was looking at football and we had cousins there, and I had like three family members passing it around, taking a vote. All the kids wanted this, and all these people wanted this one, but all three concepts of what was supposed to be the cover actually are incorporated in the artwork of each record. Each song has its own stand alone piece of art."
The album's title, meanwhile, is solely inspired by the information age. "People just can't take things at face value on social networks and just run with it. Feed your brain," he says, vehemently.
Big Boi worked with some unexpected artists on the album, including Joshua Carter and Sarah Barthel from the indie pop group Phantogram on "Lines," and s Little Dragon on several songs.
"With Little Dragon and Phantogram, we were in the studio for like seven days at a time and it was like a party, man. It was fun, a lot of fun, and when it's fun it shows in the music," he says. "The whole goal of this is to make something that's really going to be banging, that they can bang ten years from now, and keep on banging everything else we've been doing. I'm happy."
Originally his single, "Mama Told Me" featured Little Dragon, yet due to a business agreement that couldn't be made in time for the release, Kelly Rowland added her vocals to the hook, which Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano wrote.
On the playful, funk-inspired track Big Boi lists his mother's various pearls of wisdom. The BoomBox sat down Big Boi to further discuss the subject, and you may be surprised at some of the things he had to say...
No Grades, No Music
"One major thing my mama told me was that if I didn't get good grades, that she was not going to sign off on my recording contract. I was 16, and that was one of the hardest things mama told me. I ended up with a 3.6 GPA for real. Dre [Andre3000] had dropped out of school and he was going to open campus. I was still going everyday because if I didn't get no good grades, I couldn't rap. So that was one of the coldest things my mama ever told me. It was always about education. We didn't have a lot."
No Sibling Rivalry
"Another thing mama told me, you and your brothers and sisters must stick together. I lived in a Motel 6 with my mom and my younger siblings for like months ... six, seven, eight months at a time and this is like a kid being in like 6th grade in a Motel 6, actually eating lunch meat out of a cooler with ice in it. So to be able to take care of my mom and retire her from work, that's what it's all about. She taught us unity. Me, my brothers, and sisters had a real close-knit family from that, so when people see it now, it might look a different way, but they have no idea where I came from. It's a beautiful thing now."
Don't Burn Off Your Sister's Hair
"My mama didn't really tell me a whole bunch of shit because she had to work all the time. She was working and going to school. I guess she told us don't put candles in your sisters hair. My sister had a jheri curl. Me and my brother almost burned her hair up one time. My mom was at work and we got our asses whooped for that."
Leave Stray Cats Alone
"One time my mama told me 'Stop fucking with them cats!' We had cats in the neighborhood and we fuckin' locked my brother in my closet. This [was] because we ain't had shit to do. Locked my brother in the closet with a cat. That's the most craziest shit ever. I swear this is a true story. My brother had to be like five or six, and the cat would be tearing his ass up. He'd be screaming, going crazy, with a stray cat off the street. I'm a put this shit in a movie. I got some real stories. This is for real."
"She's just like 'Keep doing what you doing. Have fun and live your life. And also put God first period, done deal.'"
Big Boi's Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors is in stores now.