The real reason it took so long to release a Big Boi solo album

“This has nothing to do with record business economics or Def Jam’s bottom line. As long as I have a job, he’ll always have a record deal.” — LA Reid on Big Boi (Didn’t Jay-Z once say the same thing about Memphis Bleek. Just saying.)

Big Boi put out the best solo album he possibly could, and it sounds like the boring Big Boi parts from a few different OutKast albums all stitched together. The label didn’t want to put it out, because they knew it didn’t have very strong commercial prospects, and that’s why it’s taken this long to release. Never mind all that BS you heard about the album not being LCD enough, and the TIs trying to put Big Boi’s career on hold, because he left Jive Records for Def Jam. This is yet another case of an artist’s ego run amok. It’s hardly any different from what happened to Lauryn Hill’s career post-Miseducation.

The TIs at Jive were understandably concerned about the fact that it’s been upwards of half a decade since the last OutKast album, and even longer since an OutKast album that’s worth a shit. Idlewild barely went gold, back before there was an excuse for that sort of thing – this despite the fact that the OutKast album before it went diamond-plus. Even if you don’t count the sale of two-disc set as two albums sold, you’d be hard pressed to find an artist who fell off as hard commercially. Label mate R. Kelly has been caught doing all sorts of foul shit with underage girls on several different occasions, and his career never sunk so low.

You can see why Jive Records, where OutKast landed after Laface Records went out of business or whatever, would want to keep them on a short leash: no more experimental bullshit, at least until you come up with another album people actually like, or, preferably, never. I could see if Idlewild had been viewed by some as a great album, just over people’s heads, or ahead of its time, but fucking nobody liked that album. You’d think pride would prevent them from trying to pull some shit like that ever again.

Indeed I suspect that pride was behind Big Boi’s decision to follow up Idlewild with a Big Boi solo album, rather than a proper OutKast. He knew that even if he could talk Andre 3000 into doing another group album, it would be some ol’ bullshit. The guy obviously lost the plot immediately after they turned in Stankonia. Never mind that nifty trick he pulls where spits a reasonably well thought out verse on the remixes to the most LCD of rap songs. It’s not like he wrote those songs, and it’s not like his verses would be nearly as impressive, if the bar hadn’t already set so low. It’s the hip-hop equivalent of playing pickup basketball with retarded kids to boost one’s ego – which I’d try, if I weren’t afraid I might lose. Big Boi was pissed at Andre 3000 for succumbing to Baduism and hence ruining their career, and so he decided to seek revenge by releasing a solo album to rival the great OutKast albums, i.e. Stankonia and parts of Aquemini.

The label could of course give a rat’s ass about whether Big Boi felt adequate, and who was primarily responsible for the commercial and artistic success of OutKast. They just wanted something they could sell, as evidenced by the fact that they signed off on a Big Boi album in the first place, as opposed to what would have been the first legit OutKast album in 10 years now. (Yikes!) They must have realized that they’d be waiting forever for Andre 3000 to get with the program, and who’s got forever at a time like this? It’s not like the music business is getting any stronger. They’re gonna fuck around and run out of people who don’t realize that paying for music is merely an option. A new OutKast album in 2008 could have been their Carter III. Fuuuuck.

Then Big Boi turned in Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (seriously, fuck that title), and they realized they had a problem on their hands. Namely, the fact that it sounds like the boring Big Boi parts from a few different OutKast albums all stitched together. They agreed to release it only under the condition that the one song he did with Andre 3000 be released as the lead single, and he didn’t go for it, because he knew it all but confirmed the fact that he’s worthless (relatively speaking) without Andre 3000. It’s was like what’s gonna happen when Big Pooh tries to get a deal now that Little Brother is broken up, and they’re like, “Is there any way you could get Phonte on the phone.” Admittedly, I’d be embarrassed too, if my entire career was dependent on someone else’s genius (if I had a career). Then I’d go home and roll around for a few hours on a bed made of money and naked women, because I’m not conceited like that.

The dead giveaway is the fact that Big Boi didn’t want to release the song with Andre 3000, but then when it looked like his album might get pushed back like John Legend’s weird hairline, he went and did a song with Gucci Mane. It was never about releasing something that was his own singular creative vision, it was about beating Andre 3000. Leaving Jive Records for Def Jam wasn’t a matter of him taking his proverbial marbles and going home, it was a matter of them cutting their losses. They tried to release a Big Boi album that would sell, and they failed. LA Reid may have felt otherwise, but lest we forget, he was let go from Arista for spending too much money on older, delusional artists.

  • Sha

    I will catch heat for this too….. FLAME-THROWER 5.0….

    I have always felt that Big Boi was more than good enough to hold his own. But unfortunately, when you become wealthy, you succumb to Yes-Men and you listen less to the streets.

    I agree…. Big Boi knew this album was not up to speed. And the label knew it too (but who’s to say label heads know everything…they’re off target more than they are on).

    But the bigger thing that people aren’t talking about is…….(drum rolls please)

    ANDRE 3000!!!!!

    These dudes (Outkast) have been rumored to be breaking up for years. But I am truly starting to believe this.

    First….. If I’m crew….. and I know my production skills and musical ear is up to par…. Why would I allow my boy, my main man since entering the game, to put out sub-par material? That wouldn’t be good for our crew…. That would hurt the OutKast brand and I would truly be about making sure that I am my “BROTHER’S KEEPER”.

    Secondly…..

    Andre 3000 is a talented motherfucker! But be honest people…. He has been on some seriously retarded shit lately. He just released a Beatles song (are you kidding?!). Before that he did some shit with Fonsworth….
    Prior to all of that he did “The Love Below” and we gave him credit for artistically branching out. But why separate your album from your man’s? I knew some shit was up back then. What the fuck is Andre thinking?!
    And please…. Don’t use that lame-ass “artistic freedom” argument. Because we all saw what that got Lauryn Hill.

    Thirdly…..

    After selling millions of albums why would your label let you jump ship? If I’m Laface (and for the record… the label still exists on paper) why in the hell would I spend all of my time building you up to allow you to jump ship? Unless….. We know about some serious friction between the crew that will definitely take some time (many years) to heal.

    I truly believe…. OUTKAST IS DEAD…. I doubt there will be anything other than a mention of it from Big Boi (wishful thinking) because Andre 3000 is clearly on his Dave Chappelle grind (Throwing away millions and running back to Africa or Making cartoons or Beetles Songs).

    This would have been a good album if the crew were tight. But the crew is in disarray. Face facts. OutKast is dead. Sorry Big Boi.

    • http://facebook.com manny phresh

      you guys are crazy. as long as they’re both alive outkast is everlasting. you guys are talking like big boi cant rap for shit. every verse he’s on he murders. andre isnt the backbone of outkast it takes the both of them to make it work. andre spits the lyrical thought provoking shit and big boi can flow for days on end. they’re each the best at what they do and thats why it works. they go good together like salt-n-pepa kool-aid and sugar mustard and mayonnaise shoulda coulda and woulda(big boi line from idlewild but im sure you guys didnt give that album a second listening)

  • Sha

    I will catch heat for this too….. FLAME-THROWER 5.0….

    I have always felt that Big Boi was more than good enough to hold his own. But unfortunately, when you become wealthy, you succumb to Yes-Men and you listen less to the streets.

    I agree…. Big Boi knew this album was not up to speed. And the label knew it too (but who’s to say label heads know everything…they’re off target more than they are on).

    But the bigger thing that people aren’t talking about is…….(drum rolls please)

    ANDRE 3000!!!!!

    These dudes (Outkast) have been rumored to be breaking up for years. But I am truly starting to believe this.

    First….. If I’m crew….. and I know my production skills and musical ear is up to par…. Why would I allow my boy, my main man since entering the game, to put out sub-par material? That wouldn’t be good for our crew…. That would hurt the OutKast brand and I would truly be about making sure that I am my “BROTHER’S KEEPER”.

    Secondly…..

    Andre 3000 is a talented motherfucker! But be honest people…. He has been on some seriously retarded shit lately. He just released a Beatles song (are you kidding?!). Before that he did some shit with Fonsworth….
    Prior to all of that he did “The Love Below” and we gave him credit for artistically branching out. But why separate your album from your man’s? I knew some shit was up back then. What the fuck is Andre thinking?!
    And please…. Don’t use that lame-ass “artistic freedom” argument. Because we all saw what that got Lauryn Hill.

    Thirdly…..

    After selling millions of albums why would your label let you jump ship? If I’m Laface (and for the record… the label still exists on paper) why in the hell would I spend all of my time building you up to allow you to jump ship? Unless….. We know about some serious friction between the crew that will definitely take some time (many years) to heal.

    I truly believe…. OUTKAST IS DEAD…. I doubt there will be anything other than a mention of it from Big Boi (wishful thinking) because Andre 3000 is clearly on his Dave Chappelle grind (Throwing away millions and running back to Africa or Making cartoons or Beetles Songs).

    This would have been a good album if the crew were tight. But the crew is in disarray. Face facts. OutKast is dead. Sorry Big Boi..

  • Sha

    I will catch heat for this too….. FLAME-THROWER 5.0….

    I have always felt that Big Boi was more than good enough to hold his own. But unfortunately, when you become wealthy, you succumb to Yes-Men and you listen less to the streets.

    I agree…. Big Boi knew this album was not up to speed. And the label knew it too (but who’s to say label heads know everything…they’re off target more than they are on).

    But the bigger thing that people aren’t talking about is…….(drum rolls please)

    ANDRE 3000!!!!!

    These dudes (Outkast) have been rumored to be breaking up for years. But I am truly starting to believe this.

    First….. If I’m crew….. and I know my production skills and musical ear is up to par…. Why would I allow my boy, my main man since entering the game, to put out sub-par material? That wouldn’t be good for our crew…. That would hurt the OutKast brand and I would truly be about making sure that I am my “BROTHER’S KEEPER”.

    Secondly…..

    Andre 3000 is a talented motherfucker! But be honest people…. He has been on some seriously retarded shit lately. He just released a Beatles song (are you kidding?!). Before that he did some shit with Fonsworth….
    Prior to all of that he did “The Love Below” and we gave him credit for artistically branching out. But why separate your album from your man’s? I knew some shit was up back then. What the fuck is Andre thinking?!
    And please…. Don’t use that lame-ass “artistic freedom” argument. Because we all saw what that got Lauryn Hill.

    Thirdly…..

    After selling millions of albums why would your label let you jump ship? If I’m Laface (and for the record… the label still exists on paper) why in the hell would I spend all of my time building you up to allow you to jump ship? Unless….. We know about some serious friction between the crew that will definitely take some time (many years) to heal.

    I truly believe…. OUTKAST IS DEAD…. I doubt there will be anything other than a mention of it from Big Boi (wishful thinking) because Andre 3000 is clearly on his Dave Chappelle grind (Throwing away millions and running back to Africa or Making cartoons or Beetles Songs).

    This would have been a good album if the crew were tight. But the crew is in disarray. Face facts. OutKast is dead. Sorry Big Boi…

  • ri067953

    Wow, what is up with that comment above being posted three times?

    Anyway, I think the Big Boi album is on point. It hasn’t even seen a proper release and people are already dismissing it. I admit that joint he did with Mary J. Blige a couple of years back was pretty lame but I think Big Boi represents his half of Outkast better than Andre. He is the one in the streets keeping the name out there and is holding it down with this album. I have heard the album on his myspace and there is plenty of fire. Andre hasn’t rapped since the Stankonia album so to say that he is better than Big Boi is lame because since 2003 we have only heard one or two verses on other peoples albums.

  • sealsaa

    nigga’s writing XXL term papers and shit.

    And yeah, this album’s title>>>the definition of CORN.

  • TOOHIGH

    aGREE with Sha i mean andre is nowhere at all…those freestyles over r&b joints aint cutting it..

  • Q461

    Outkast just waited wayyyyyyyy too long to put out a follow up to the Love Below/Speakerbox record. I do think Big Boi is nice and can hold his own ( The way you move was almost as big a hit as Hey ya back then) but all the attention always fell on Andre cause he dressed crazy, was more experimental, and lets face it, lyrically better. I mean, there are cats that put 3 stacks on their top 5 and he rapped like maybe one guest appearance or two a year max, since the last album dropped. We’ve seen this happen before when one group member gets the spotlight more than the others ( Leaders of the New School with Busta Rhymes, anyone??) It’s gotta be tough, especially since they were just a duo. I’m still checkin for 3 stacks solo joint if it ever drops, then they say will be a proper Outkast follow up, but lets see.

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  • Malik

    Big Boi isn’t a bad rapper, just that he’s pretty normal. How many southern pimp rappers are there? How many other “out there” rappers like Andre are there? Cee-Lo and that’s probably it for those within the same class as him. Big Boi is dope, he just happens to be in a duo with the someone who’s far more unique than him.

  • Worley

    “Then I’d go home and roll around for a few hours on a bed made of money and naked women.”

    Thanks for the suggestion. I just added that to my bucket list.

  • LukeCage

    “the TIs at Jive…”

    Don’t you mean the crackers at Jive, Bol?

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    I’m glad somebody had the nerve to write this. first, Big Boi is not a good person. He has a stink attitude and is two faceded aka fake. That ego was prob behind the initial push back. his first orginal single with john legend was wack. these singles aren’t that better. I think big is a great complement to dre BUT i couldn’t listen to him throughout an entire album.

    Ps

    i respect any artist who can walk away from the game like dave, lauren, jim brown and etc.

  • BIGNAT

    “Admittedly, I’d be embarrassed too, if my entire career was dependent on someone else’s genius (if I had a career). Then I’d go home and roll around for a few hours on a bed made of money and naked women, because I’m not conceited like that.”
    the bottom line is big boi wants to makez music to get your feet tapping get your day moving. 3stacks wants to make music to change the world. i don’t think it’s that they wanna break up. it’s kinda hard finding a middle ground to make the music. also idlewild was a very good album if you didn’t fuck with it stankonia fucked your mind up. that album has alot of hits on it but it’s the weakest outkast album overall. the speakerboxx love below joint to me was two solo albums not one cohesive outkast album.

  • http://jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    “It’s the hip-hop equivalent of playing pickup basketball with retarded kids to boost one’s ego – which I’d try, if I weren’t afraid I might lose.” – BC

    ^Eminem’s lane now?

    I got faith in Outkast. It’s just a case of “back to the drawing board” to regroup and refocus. They said they’ll drop another album and I believe it.

  • RR

    The elephant in the room to this entire thread is the fact that this BIG BOI ALBUM IS REALLY FREAKING GOOD!

    Have any of you actually listened to the album?

    Go to the wiki page for it and look at the reviews it’s getting…Many critics – and many of my friends – are calling this the album of the year.

    Don’t know why that’s getting left out of this discussion…

  • yoprince

    strangely enough, Big Boi’s album is actually good.. i mean great.

    this coming from someone who NEVER wanted to hear a big boi solo album and pretty much despised the B-side to The Love Below.

    but i just DL’ed and listened to it, didn’t smoke or anything, shit is just bangin. Big Boi has always been decent, but he is a better rapper than he was like 10 years ago. he relaxed his flow, and has learned to rap within tracks instead of on top of them, and this album is dope b/c of it. plus the songs are just well-crafted throughout. none of that corny crap like that song he did with mary j.

    i encourage doubters to listen.

  • nicholasdelorejo

    I think Big boi himself is a little jelous and upset at Andre for the fact that Andre practically had the world in the palm of his hand after “Speakerbox/ Love Below”. Andre was given a cartoon (which turned into a play), acting gigs, and popularity soley on him and not on Outkast as a duo. And he ended up turning his back on it which isn’t a bad thing but Big Boi is probably upset with the fact that not only was his efforts ignored in being apart of their success but his partner who is given the main attention is throwing away all of the oppertunities he or the duo could’ve recieved. That’s probably why his solo debut (which is one of the best rap albums of the year thus far) is reminiscent of the music Outkast is known for. He’s trying to show that HE was an important contributor of Outkast’s success and not just Andre. Shit not only that but Big Boi managed to sign Janelle Monae who many consider the female version of what Andre 3K COULD BE. If Andre doesn’t release music anytime soon, The fans will follow suit with the labels and give up on a Outkast reunion and just accept Big Boi as its replacement.

  • HU

    This post is pointless because the album is actually quite good. It knocks hard and has various types of songs so I don’t see at all how it’s boring. You must be referring to Thank Me Later. Shutterbug is a certified banger.

    • what

      Bosko boi!

  • Anonymous

    your a hack

  • betrott

    all that industry insight from St. Louis…you must keep your ears to the streets…

  • wtff

    Whattt. This album is better than anything i’ve heard this year. Give big boi some credit

  • http://hotasballs.wordpress.com steezolini

    bol, you don’t even really like hip hop anymore, so your opinion on music is worthless.
    what do you get out of killing peoples album sales, by shit talking before anyone’s even heard it?.
    “for your sorrows” was dope.
    andre gets the praise, but dont act like big boi isnt worth listening too.
    hate the game, bol.oh, you already do.

  • Penny

    no clue why you are acting the way you are, bol. Did he not pass a J to you or something once?

    His album is straight fire!

  • Dub

    TBH, I think Andre 3000 wants Outkast to die, whenever I see Big Boi on cam, he’s got the ATLiens shirt or the Outkast shirt, he’s reppin the name way harder than Andre. I ain’t hatin, but I think Andre don’t wanna do the Outkast thing anymore. I don’t think he fuck wit any of the Dungeon niggas anymore come to think of it

  • Gemz

    To all the doubters I have two words. Binary Code. Both members of OutKast have an on of switch. They can turn it on or off at will. I’m suprised with the lack of sophistication of some of these comments. 0010010 Binary Code.

  • swype-matic

    I expected to read some article that has no justifiable reason to even be written, and that’s what we all got. Big Boi’s album is jammin’, point blank period. So it negates any and everything said in the article. Another lame post by Bol, that never disappoints.

  • http://rapgenius.com these posts are racist

    Now normally I don’t do this, but I’m an editor at rapgenius.com, we translated this entire album there. Peep it…

  • latino heat

    what’s up my people? haven’t stopped by here in a minute (computer problems).

    if anybody read the Vibe interview with the entire D.F. that ran a few months back then you know that Andre said that if Big Boi wasn’t still reppin’ the Outkast name then it would be dead.

    it dosen’t mean they have beef though. if any of you haven’t heard that, Lookin For Ya, track that they did with Sleepy Brown that was intended for Big’s album then i encourage you to do so, NOW. i was bangin that song all July 4th weekend. sadly the TI’s at Jive said that Andre couldn’t be on Big’s solo album so he was forced to leak what would have been the best track on his album. same reason Royal Flush didn’t end up on the album and that was a banger too.

  • http://www.emcdl.com EmCDL

    “They agreed to release it only under the condition that the one song he did with Andre 3000 be released as the lead single, and he didn’t go for it, because he knew it all but confirmed the fact that he’s worthless (relatively speaking) without Andre 3000. It’s was like what’s gonna happen when Big Pooh tries to get a deal now that Little Brother is broken up, and they’re like, “Is there any way you could get Phonte on the phone.” ”

    Dayum Bol that shit had me cracking up!

    I haven’t heard the album yet but I did hear the Shutterbug single and that ish knocks. Ate some hate much Bol?

  • oskamadison

    I’ll admit 3 things: One, I’ve never been a “cop their joint the day it drops” fan of Outkast but I have mad respect for them and what they’ve done for Hip-Hop. Two, 3 Stacks or Big Boi, whose joint would I cop first if they dropped the same time? 3 Stacks, no question. Finally, Sir Luscious…, was I checking for this when I first heard about dude workin’ on it? Nope.

    That being said, I actually listened to Shutterbug in its entirety a the other day and lyrically, it shits on most of what’s on the radio right now. Why did his album get pushed back? In 2010, Jive is anti Hip-Hop as hell. If Justin Timberlake and Pink and the like are paying your bills, would you give a damn about some rap group you inherited through a merger, regardless of the fact that their last joint went diamond (and, might I add, was the ONLY album that really got any shine in ’03 when 50 had the game in a choke hold?) Also, wasn’t this the same label that gave The Clipse the red tape treatment for 4 years when they were tryin’ to drop Hell Hath No Fury?

    When it comes to 3 Stacks, we know what it is. Big Boi, however, is far from a slouch with those bars. I’m starvin’ for something dope to listen to so I might give this Chico Dusty joint a try. All I can say is at least it ain’t Gucci Mane.

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  • http://merc80.com Merc80

    First off Bol, how do you know all this? Is this confirmed fact from any source?
    Secondly. Big Boi himself, just today, told folks that one of the songs that was leaked (which seemingly he leaked on the net) Lookin for Ya with Andre was after HustleBlood. Now if he were an egomaniac or jealous, why would he do that?
    Thirdly, lets say he didn’t want his track with Dre to be the lead single, and wanted it to be a 2nd single. What’s wrong with that? ShutterBugg is hot! Then when he didn’t comply and moved to Def Jam, then Jive is gonna block that Andre song from comin out? It sounds to me like Jive also had an ego problem.
    If Jive was so worried about how to market/Big Boi’s album was wack, then they shouldn’t have given him a fuckin record deal. Big Boi and Andre have never complied with any sort of set format, and you can tell that by their track record.
    Stop saying what “really” happened cause I don’t even see one piece of evidence to support what you’re saying.