Video Vision: The San Francisco Music Portal

Outkast : Big Boi (MC) & Dre (MC)
September 24th, 1998

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VV: You guys got a new album comin' out..?

Outkast (OK): (Big Boi): Aquemini, comes out September 29 (Dre): It's out actually, it's out., I'm tellin' you, it crept up on you!

VV: What's the first single?

OK: D: The first single's Rosa Parks. Then we have an underground type jam called Skew It On The Bar-B featuring Raekwon from the Wu-Tang. Know what I'm saying, that beat on it, that beat, that beat, that beat.

VV: You guys do a lot of writing on this particular record, more so than in the past.

OK: D: Well actually, from the first album, we did all of our own writing, and Organized Noize did the first album as far as production. The second album we stepped it up and did like half the production on the album. This time we did like 8 cuts on the album with our DJ, the third member of Earthtone, then Organized Noize - they did cuts on this album too so it's still dungeon orientated.

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VV: I wanna start with the first album, that went platinum for you guys. And you guys were teenagers. You were still in high school or just out?

OK: D: Actually we were out. BB: Fresh out.

VV: You got a platinum album, how did that affect where you were and where you were gonna go?

OK: BB: What it did was enable us to know that we were career artsits, this is what we wanted to do. This was our "job." It's like we love music so coming in to it, when we hooked up with Organized Noize back before the first album, we were just MC's rhymin and we used to just make complete songs. So by the time we finished the first album everybody was really feeling the music and it was like a shot from the South, so now we came with ATliens after that and hit'm in the mouth again.

VV: You guys met in high school right?

OK: D: Right, tenth grade.

VV: Did you guys always kinda run together or were you battling at first or....?

OK: D: Nah.. We were rhymin at his [Big Boi] Aunt's crib and we were both MC's before we met each other. Then in the 10th grade we just put it down and got serious about it. Felt like we were ready and really wanted to do it, that's when we got with Organized Noize Productions.

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VV: What about the glamour vs. reality of what you're doing? You know, a lot of people see the videos, the shows and all the fun and smiling and partying and stuff... but what about when it comes to really..?

OK: D: That's all the hype though, you know. The hype is usually what's selling those records. But I mean it's fun when you perform and doing videos and whatever and making the music is the fun part. The behind the scenes - the politics part is really what's a hum dinga.

VV: Yeah, the business side of it.

OK: D: The titty licka. BB: Yeah, we just like to stay artists and have Big Blue from Flavor Unit handle the business, but at the same time we find ourselves on the day to day basis having to step in and get involved and make decisions and stuff like that. But that helps you grow to make your career stronger but you got to take the good with the bad.

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VV: That also probably helps makes you feel more confident about your projects and where they're at.

OK: D: Oh right, cause we have a lot of creative control and we have to attend A&R meetings and things like that, so that's good.

VV: What are some of the things that have stuck out in your mind on the way here (where you are at in your career now) to this 3rd album?

OK: D: Seeing how people accept your music. When we were first coming out we were like new from the South. As far as Hip-Hop music people looked at you crazy like "them boys ain't really doin' nothin." Then I guess the 2nd album we kept it consistent, we kept droppin it and then this album is like Outkast extreme. So we're doing whatever we wanted to ever do, so this album is out there.

VV: Is it all new material or is some of it stuff that lingered from the other two?

OK: D: Oh yeah. 14 new cuts and then we got one jam that actually didn't go on the 1st album that we recorded for the 1st album a song called West Savannah. So that's like a treat, a lot of people who got snippet tapes from the 1st album heard that. BB: From the foundation of Outkast fans - they gonna love that and that was a treat for them.

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VV: What are the issues you are trying to address through your music?

OK: D: Everything we see on the street, everything we see in the world. We talk about anything that affects our lives and our children's lives. Anything. So like in one song you might get like 10 subjects. BB: For sure. I mean the whole basis of our group is just to let people know that even though two individuals may be different or whoever you come into contact on a day to day basis may be not the same as you, you can still vibe with that person and just be cool. You just gotta accept people for who they are. D: There you go. BB: Face value, like that. We don't discriminate against the music or no group of people or nothing, it's like we're just here to make quality music.

VV: I hear you guys have a really wide background of what you listen to.

OK: BB: Oh yeah D: Some of everything BB: I just bought that Marilyn Manson the other day. D: Yeah. We all stars now - In the dope show BB: For real. It's like growing up, your grandparents and your momma and your poppa they listen to Bob Marley. You might get a little bit of the Whispers, your uncle might have a little bit of LL Cool J old school tape, Too $hort or something like that. What it comes down to is... we never really were segregated from music, all different types of music. So it's like we never felt that we were inside a certain boundary, like we had to do a certain type of music. It's like we do what we feel, and it just comes out dope, you know what I'm sayin? And the chemistry - Organized Noize, Outkast, Goodie Mob, DJ Witchdoctor and the entire Dungeon Family - we here not only to represent the South, but represent music.

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VV: How did you guys hook up with Organized Noize?

OK: D: On the street. We was on the sidewalk and Big Boi lived up the street from where Rico worked in a beauty supply store where they sell perms and hair rollers and hair dryers and stuff like that. And this girl knew that they were making beats and she knew that we were doing rhymes and she was like why don't you guys get together? We were looking like how can we get on? And they had all the equipment at East Point, so we was like OK, let's go on down to the dungeon and the first day we went over there we heard music we really loved or whatever and we bust for them. They was like 'word' ...and they loved.. And we bust for like 20 minutes on one song, you know!! BB: Yeah. Start rapping for them. For real. D: No hooks, no nothing, just rhymin. Big Gip was there from the Goodie Mob and was like let's go over to the dungeon. So after then it was on and we stayed with them for about two years just on the grind. In the dungeon, this little basement, this lonely little basement, with little rats and all kinds of dirt, dirt all on the beat machine and everything. But it was lovely man, I miss those times, I wish we could go back in time and go back to those times and do that... again.

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VV: You're still working with all the same people, and probably even more. Who are some of the people who worked on this album with you?

OK: D: P-Funk BB: Sleepy Brown from Sleepy's Theme, a member of Organized Noize. Organized Noize produced 4 cuts, Mr. DJ the third member of our production team Earthtone Ideas did 3 cuts, and we did like 8 cuts. We got featured on the album George Clinton, Erykah Badu, Goodie Mob, RaeKwon from the Wu-Tang, the whole Dungeon Family. 14 cuts, brand new material.

VV: How's radio treating you guys?

OK: D: Well, we really never been a radio group. But sometimes we fall on in there sometimes, they'll throw it in the mix sometimes like that. We don't get added too much, but it's cool though. BB: They always come to the party later on the record, after it's been played for 6 months then they'll start playin' it and wearing it out or somethin like that. So we always rely on the streets, we always take it back to the streets, the streets been our foundation from the first album.

VV: Cuz you guys have a big following.

Oh yeah, you know what I'm saying. I mean it's like we got like 2 platinum albums. And this one right here is almost platinum already. So what we doing man, we just trying to do good music.

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VV: I got a couple question from the Internet. Somebody wanted to know if you ever considered a lyrical battle with Gangstarr.

OK: D: A lyrical battle? [grimace] BB: [a confused look] All: a good quick laugh. D: Well personally, I don't even do no battle rap. I don't get down like that. That don't float my boat really. I'm a 'writer folk', you know what I mean BB: We're architects D: You feel me? BB: Lyrical architects D: Some people are just MC's who just know how to do battle rap, and that's their thing. And I love it when they do it, that's their craft. BB: It's like building a house. You wouldn't just tell one person to "Build a house." D: Just throw one together, let me see what it looks like. BB: I mean it'd be weak, right? D: My material's too valuable to do that. When I get on the mic I got something to say so I ain't bout to waste your time and babble. BB: You gotta put the blueprint down. D: And tell you where I'm from and tell you how the dopest MC I am so... hey, that ain't my thang. BB: Only on occasion.. when we... you gotta be super high, loaded, drunk or something like that man. Just playing at the house man, we'll just be at the studio. D: Just for fun man BB: Then we'll... for fun! But all that battling man, I mean people be getting in my face and I'll slap somebody man.

VV: What can we expect to see on the Aquemini record, the different tracks?

OK: D: Outkast extreme. Like if you was uh, whatever you thought Outkast would do. You gonna hear some beats, you gonna hear some live cuts BB: Spoken word D: Guest artists, yeah you gonna hear some Iceberg Slim tight spoken word. You gonna hear some soulful singing, some hardcore rhymes, some hardcore beat. You gonna hear some storytellin. You gonna hear some good vibrations.

Interviewer: Lee Evans

Camera: Lee Evans

Photos & Transcription: Lee Evans

Editor: Catherine Lee

© 1999, 2000 Evans Media Group, Inc.