"This Is Slow Roasted": Big Boi Talks 'Boomiverse,' Fresh Sounds and Always Learning

"We start creating like we never made music before," the Atlanta vet says of his first solo album in five years. "It has to make the hairs stand up on your thighs when you got biker shorts on."
"This Is Slow Roasted": Big Boi Talks 'Boomiverse,' Fresh Sounds and Always Learning
Photo: Brian Ziff
"This album is 12 cuts, all killer, no filler," Big Boi tells Exclaim! assertively over the phone about new album Boomiverse — 12 cuts, 13 features and five years in the making, to be exact. Since the release of his solo debut, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, in 2010, and Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors in 2012, Big Boi has been diligently making music and earning praise for continuing to push his musical boundaries, even without fellow OutKast member André 3000.
 
Centered on the idea of the Big Bang Theory, a mathematical conception of how the universe began, Boomiverse (out June 16 on Epic) serves as Big Boi's reset button; something new, yet familiar.
 
"I say I got a musical addiction, so when I find new sounds or new flows, new rhyme patterns or bars or raps, it excites me," he professes. "Having done so much music, it's difficult not to replay what you've done before, you know what I'm saying? So I kinda have to forget everything I've done and start fresh on a blank piece of paper. And everything comes out fresh. I isolate myself from the outside world in my studio, in Stankonia [Studios], and we just start creating like we never made music before."
 
On the heels of this change come songs like "Chocolate" and "Kill Jill," an industrial and robotic single that mimics the excitement of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. "'Kill Jill' and 'Chocolate,' that's that new dope," he declares. "That's totally different from any OutKast record [or] any solo album that I've done. Those songs are the cornerstones for this album. I recorded 'Kill Jill' like four years ago, and I started building on top of that record. This set the bar — everything had to be this quality, this new, this refreshing, this shocking. It had to make the fucking hairs stand up on your forearms and your thighs when you got biker shorts on, and that's it."
 
Nevertheless, among the new sounds lay recognizable voices, like the late Pimp C on the Gucci Mane-featuring "In The South," which echoes the Texas producer's signature 808s and organs, and was co-produced by longtime collaborators Organized Noize, as well as UGK mainstay Cory Mo and 808 Mafia's TM88.
 
"That Pimp C came from Cory Mo, who is a good friend of mine and produced a lot of the UGK records — he has a lot of unreleased Pimp C stuff, know what I mean? I got a couple of songs with Pimp C in the vault that he did, that are fucking crazy," he reveals. "Ray [Murray] from Organized Noize moved into Stankonia Studios with me about five years ago, and a little before that, he worked on the Big Grams album with me, and he's been there ever since. He's like the Yoda — when we're in the dungeon, Ray is the one who taught me how to rap in the pocket. I'm still a Jedi in training. I consider myself still a student — and a master — and I'm always learning."
 
With plans to tour with Killer Mike and release their collaborative EP in the near future, as well as hitting up a few festival stages and maybe even dipping his toes into film, Big Boi is consistently cooking up something. But, as the ATL vet proclaims, patience is key. "I don't put out records every year or every six months, because this shit is slow roasted in the oven, this shit is not out the microwave."
 
Watch the video for "Kill Jill" in the player below.