S1 E2 | Big Boi
Antwan “Big Boi” Patton has lived a thousand lives. He’s been a Grammy-award winning rapper, a father, a record label owner, an investor, and even a grandfather (or “Papi san,” as he prefers to be called). On this week’s episode of “Love and Respect with Killer Mike,” Patton and Michael “Killer Mike” Render sit down and discuss Big Boi’s legacy, their brotherhood and why even after 25 years in the game, the star refuses to stop evolving.
Patton, most famously known as ½ of iconic Atlanta hip hip duo Outkast, has been making music since he was in high school. After the commercial success of the duo’s platinum debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik — widely regarded as having laid the foundation for many following southern rap acts — he and André 3000 spent the next decade creating classic albums that still resonate with listeners today.
To his credit, Patton isn’t interested in hanging up his microphone yet — even continuing to perform during the pandemic. “When it came time to come out and make people happy, in the midst of all this sadness and despair…we went out there and did it,” he shared. The artist further clarified that many of his performances the past year were virtual. “A lot of stuff we did was livestream from Stankonia (the Atlanta record studio the pair purchased together).” Patton even produced a three-day music festival in Atlanta’s Centennial Park, utilizing safety pods in the audience to ensure social distancing.
Besides performing, he continues to evolve his music, most recently releasing The Big Sleep is Over with mentor Sleepy Brown, and featuring long-time collaborators such as Cee-Lo Green and Render. He credits the latter for continuing to push him in his music, likening their verbal sparring to Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. “Who all y’all got on the album? Killer Mike. Who else? Killer Mike. We don’t need nobody else,” he said. Not content to rest on his tremendous legacy, Patton has no desire to step away from the studio, nor stop making music that’s way ahead of its time.
If he did want to retire his “Big Boi” persona, Patton would still have his business legacy to fall back on. Render notes, “You had business acumen young…I have always felt that you brought something…what did Savannah give you?” Patton credits his “Gula Geechee” background. “My grandmother on-down. We were straight hustlers, they got it every way they could get it…and I just soaked it up,” he said. This hustle is obvious in Patton’s diverse investments and businesses. He has a celebrity trailer business, Air BnBs, and a dog breeding business, among other investments. “I got in on Lyft and Ring real early,” the star admitted. He also preached financial literacy, something he wants to pass on to his children. He added, “The legacy is to ‘secure the bag;’ wealth accumulation and the accumulation of wealth.”
This is advice Patton has given Render countless times before, since the former serves as the latter’s mentor. It was Patton who discovered and signed Render to his first record deal. “You’ve changed my life,” Render confessed. “I wouldn’t be here had it not been [for] getting a record deal with you, and spending the last 19/20 years of my life in entertainment.” On how the two met over 20 years ago, Patton shared that his biological brother brought the Run The Jewels artist to his attention, which resulted in an informal audition in the recording studio. “One thing about you, you want it,” Patton said of Render. “You took the opportunity and you ran with it.” The pair have been running with it for almost two decades, working on countless albums and singles and gracing many stages together.
The Outkast star’s growth into family patriarch is just as much a part of his legacy as his music. A father of three and “Papi San” to one, Patton beamed as he discusses his children. “Having the kids around, and having weekend BBQs, even having bible study…it’s been cool, man,” he said. And when it comes to his long-time partner and brother Andre, “We go back to the tenth grade in high school…we made music, we did that already.” But that doesn’t mean their friendship is anywhere near over. In the age of social media, Patton acknowledges that it may seem different because the pair aren’t often photographed or “posted” together, but after nearly three decades growing up together, Outkast is still alive and well.
Render sums up the interview with an ask for advice for the younger generation. Patton said, “As far as your craft, you should always evolve. Always become a better version of yourself. Push yourself. Don’t be recycling your own lines.”
A family man, an artist, an entertainer, a mentor, a mentee, an Outkast, and much more, Patton has ticked off every box there is. So, what’s next for the Patron Saint of Atlanta hip hop? You’ll have to wait for his next evolution to find out.
Watch episode two of “Love & Respect with Killer Mike” now!