Big Boi is bouncing on the sidewalk. He is pumped.
The 34-year-old Atlanta rapper and half of the duo OutKast, has for the first time come to South by Southwest, the annual music conference and festival. In an interview on a downtown Austin street, he basks in the sun, enjoys a smoke and occasionally stops traffic as fans jump out of their cars for handshake or a cell phone photo.
At SXSW, the nearly 2,000 music acts are everywhere. While the many indie bands walk among the throngs, rappers are a more uncommon sight.
Big Boi (real name: Antwan Patton) makes no distinction among genres, though.
"I ain't in no category, because I can rock with whoever," said Big Boi. "Our music is everywhere. They can't put OutKast in a category; they can't put Big Boi in a category. Rock, funk, blues, soul, gospel — some of everything. All I need is a crowd and leave the rest up to my band."
On Thursday night, Big Boi planned to perform new material at SXSW. For the last two years, he's been working on his first solo album, to be titled "Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty."
"The longer the better to me," said Big Boi of the long process. "Let the music marinate, get time to soak up the vibe."
He's still tinkering with it in the studio but expects it to be out around June or July. Guests on the 16 tracks include Jamie Foxx, T.I., George Clinton, Lil' Jon and OutKast partner Andre 3000. Several singles have already been released, including the Obama-inspired "Sumthin's Gotta Give" and the new "Ringtone."
"I wanted to give people insight into who I was. A lot of people they don't know me and 3000 like that," said Big Boi, describing the album. "I guess to be more me. Here I am, speaking on different things in life — but definitely keeping it funky and having fun."
Andre 3000 is also prepping a solo album. Once he's finished, Big Boi said they'll get together on a new OutKast album. Their last album was 2006's "Idlewild" for their musical film.
But it was 2003's "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below," a two-disc release, that paved the way for their solo material. "Speakerboxxx" was more Big Boi's, while "The Love Below" was primarily driven by Andre 3000.
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