Despite his success with the Grammy-winning group OutKast, Big Boi (born Antwan André Pattonelt) artistically stifled when he tried to step out on his own. He and Jive Records, the label OutKast is signed with, couldn't agree on what kind of solo project he should do, so he went with Def Jam instead. (A representative for Jive Records declined to comment on the dispute.)
It took you four years to release your album. How did you feel when it finally came out?
It was a relief. I've been playing it for people for years. They kept asking me, "When is it coming out?" When it finally did, I was like, "Yes!"
Why did it take so long? [Jive Records] didn't understand the complexity of the music. They wanted me to conform and make cookie-cutter music, which has been on the radio. I couldn't do that. I stuck to my guns and waited. I could've had this done a year and a half ago. They did the only honorable thing and let me go so I could join L.A. Reid [Island Def Jam CEO-chairman, who originally signed OutKast to LaFace in 1992].
I'm sure other artists can relate to your story. How do you feel after your situation?
Label politics is really messing music up. It's not organically made anymore. Everything is so contrived and so planned. You got to let the music naturally happen.
I know you hear about this all the time, but when should everyone expect an OutKast album?
I can't give a complete date. I don't want people to get mad. ... Right now, we're putting beats together for the OutKast album.