One half of pioneering rap duo OutKast, Big Boi explains how Atlanta hip-hop went from being booed off stages to being universally beloved.
Big Boi doesn’t know who coined the “player and poet” dichotomy that has been used to describe OutKast since its 1994 debut, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, when the duo became the first rap act signed to Babyface and L.A. Reid’s LaFace Records. But Big Boi has long opted out of that false binary — he helped found and nurture Atlanta’s modern hip-hop scene, and the Grammy-winning artist has written some of OutKast’s most enduring hooks. He also discovered two of the Dungeon Family collective’s most impactful second-generation descendants, Killer Mike and Janelle Monae. And as a solo artist, he remains one of Southern rap’s most joyful experimentalists, his work packed with funk signifiers and collaborators ranging from George Clinton to Kid Cudi. Big Boi continues to flaunt his range in his latest album Boomiverse, featuring the Top 40 hit “All Night”; he also appears in 2018’s Superfly remake, alongside Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell and Michael Kenneth Williams.