Big Boi Wants to Shift Hip-Hop Into Something New With ‘Boomiverse’ Album
Big Boi is one of the OGs of hip-hop and he's still reinventing himself more than two decades after entering the game. His accomplishments are what most rappers dream of. In his 20-plus-year career, the Atlanta native has done it all and seen it all, yet in 2017, he's still looking to bring something new to the hip-hop table.
Five years ago he dropped Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, his second studio album. Then he collaborated with Phantogram in 2015 to release Big Grams. Now the OutKast member is gearing up to release his forthcoming album, Boomiverse, which is slated to be released June 16 via Epic Records. Big Boi recently debuted his first single, “Mic Jack," from the project, which features Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine. He also performed the single on The Tonight Show earlier this week. But there's more where that came from. He's even got another song coming called “Kill Jill,” which features both Killer Mike and Jeezy.
Earlier this week (April 24), Big Boi held a private listening session at Electric Lady Studios in New York and XXL learned a lot about what the project sounds like and how it was created. But before he left New York City, the lauded rapper stopped by XXL to talk about the inspiration behind Boomiverse, working with Organized Noize and why he and André 3000 should be in your top five MCs list.
XXL: Boomiverse is going to be a double album?
Big Boi: Yes.
You’ve done a double album in the past for OutKast but do you feel rap fans’ attention spans now are capable to listen to it?
Oh, it’s not coming out at the same time. It’s coming in two waves. They have to work for that second part. I’m going to give them 12 songs then probably this time next year or it depends how I’m flowing this summer into Christmas, fans may get an early Christmas gift.
How did you land the Pimp C hook on the album?
My man Cory Mo, he produced for UGK. He had the record and he told me, "You got to get this record. Me and TM88 put something together." [Cory Mo] told us, "I got an original Pimp C hook." There’s another record that we did…Cory Mo has a lot of unreleased Pimp C stuff because they cut so many songs together. So I said, "Let me check it out," and I came in and it was jamming. We had Gucci Mane come and laid his verse and we just finished it.
I got another record with Pimp C and Killer Mike it’s crazy. But that’s why I’m saying the album will be two parts. That shit hard as fuck, and it’s all original. It’s just carrying on the legacy. Pimp C was one of my idols and with the blessings from his wife and his kids and Bun B.
What is the meaning behind the title Boomiverse?
Boomiverse is basically the big boom, like the Big Bang Theory, the beginning of something new. It's just to really promote new sounds, expanding the thought process, melodies and really to reset music, just really start it over. When albums used to come out, it shifted everything a little bit. What music is right now, it’s cool but we’re trying to forge a new territory.
When [Dr. Dre's] The Chronic came out, music changed. When [Snoop Dogg's] Doggystyle came out, music changed, when Wu-Tang came out, music changed. This is one of those big booms where we start it off and just switched to something else and hopefully everyone else will follow suit and just reach for something else than everybody’s song sounding exactly the same. All the patterns, the cadences, the beats; you can do more.
Organized Noize are all over this album. How were those recording sessions for this project?
It was like Ray [Murray] actually moved into Stankonia with me. We’ve been in there since, before, after I did Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, Ray moved into Stankonia. So he was a part of the Big Grams as well. He executive produced that. Me and Ray actually executive producing Boomiverse. So I’m sitting with a guy who does literally 50 beats a day. Like the “Overthunk” beat, he actually was skipping over that in the studio until I had to tell him, "Wait a minute." He started putting these weird sounds and I took it that night and started rapping over it.
So working with him is great, just someone who has the same work ethic as I do and who always looking for that new-new. Ray is the guy who taught me how to hit pockets in rap. He was one of the guys that made me and ‘Dre jog around the block reciting our lyrics to Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. That’s why we call him Yoda. That’s why everything is sharp man; you can’t go in there bullshitting. He pushed me and I loved it. They got the EP coming out and I got a jam on there with CeeLo. He got like four EPs worth of music. We got so much music we’re just going to start layering it and layering it and just killing it.
Killer Mike is one of the best MCs alive. You and him work so well together. Would y’all ever put like a collaboration project out?
Absolutely, like I said, it’s like 40 records so I’m only going to let them get a sneak peek. In between Run The Jewels, Big Gram and Big Boi, we have just been kind of stockpiling our stuff on the side so we got plenty. Killer Mike, I’m so proud of him and Run The Jewels and everything he’s done. Him and Janelle Monáe are two of my proudest accomplishments outside of OutKast and music. To see the vision they had and to help them get to where they are, they are holding up their side of the bargain by being great. We’re like the Music Avengers, we’re like the Rap Avengers, we all come together and with CeeLo, we’re like the Super Friends. We’re about to crack this up.
For a listener, what are the things you want them to get from part one of Boomiverse?
Definitely I want it to be a music treat, sonically. And lyrically, just know that I ain’t never been one to fuck with. I don’t know what your top five look like but if it a 1A. and a 1B. and it don’t say Andre 3000 and Big Boi then that shit all wrong 'cause we are unfuckwitable. I don’t throw my tail much but I wish a muthafucka would, you know what I’m saying? We’re just having fun, it just gets better with time and we’ve done a lot.
Everybody just keep doing what they doing and to all the young cats, I appreciate what they doing by kind of pushing it but let’s take it further. Don’t get in that safe space because you won doing a certain type of style and a certain type of music, evolve. If a young artist come out, people may say they may sound like so and so but when they evolve into their real self that’s when they got it and that’s staying power.
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