For all of the accolades that OutKast and specifically the mercurial Andre 3000 have gotten throughout their career (as evidenced by the fact that “Hey Ya” is still getting airplay across many different formats of terrestrial radio over 10 years after its release), there’s a reasonable case to be made that the true genius behind OutKast was the more grounded Big Boi. And given his recent output, he’s making a strong argument in his own favor.
Born Atwan Andre Patton, better known as Big Boi, aka Daddy Fat Sacks, aka Sir Lucious Left Foot, aka Billy Ocean, formed OutKast in 1992 with Andre Benjamin at just 16 years old. Their debut of Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik in 1994 achieved some minor success aided by the single “Players Ball”. The follow up of ATLiens in 1996 showed even more of the potential that the group had before 1998’s critically acclaimed Aquemini.
But it was 2000’s Stankonia that remains a monolith, as perfect of a rap album that has ever been made, and was a commercial juggernaut on top of it. Big Boi and his occasional beard but always immaculately groomed no matter his facial hair configuration would basically start his solo career with Speakerboxxx/The Love Below with he and Andre going their seperate creative directions, Andre towards a more R&B influenced sound, and Big Boi remaining closer to their roots in rap.
After a long layoff, Big Boi finally released his first solo album in 2010 with Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, which displayed a continually evolving sound and an all-star list of collaborators, followed up by 2012’s Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors all while Andre remained idle other than filming Gilette commercials.
Of course, the two have reunited and are hitting the festival circuit this summer which has spawned speculation of them finally recording together again, but if Big Boi and his beard keep up this level of quality output, it should certainly be enough to tide most fans over.