Big Boi has a new album, The Big Sleepover, with long time Atlanta mate Sleepy Brown due August 27. To commemorate the occasion, the Outkast member will be co-headlining, with Kaytranada, the MLS (Major League Soccer) All-Star week concert, August 24, at the Los Angeles Torch at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
Tickets are only $15 and will benefit World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that gets meals to communities and families that need them. It’s a perfect album release show for Big Boi, who just played shows in Houston and Dallas for frontline workers.
I spoke with Big Boi about his longtime music and sports connection, supporting the ATL, being a cool dad and the new album, among other things.
Steve Baltin: You’ll be seeing us in L.A. soon. Are you looking forward to the visit?
Big Boi: Hell yeah, I can’t wait. I love California. Even better we’re doing the MLS All-Star concert, about to kill it.
Baltin: Tell me about how you hooked up with MLS.
Big Boi: They called actually a couple of weeks ago. “We need somebody to come in to destroy something for us.” And I was like, “What?” They said the all-star soccer game concert. I said, “S**t, you got the right number. This is the special forces of hip hop.” So we’re going in there to lay ’em down and give ’em good positive vibrations, give ’em hit after hit after mother f**king hit.
Baltin: Do you play soccer as well or just a fan?
Big Boi: No, my kids play soccer. I played the other football.
Baltin: How many cool points does it give you with the kids that you are playing the MLS All-Star game?
Big Boi: They love it, I am my kids’ hero. That’s what a father’s supposed to be. And everything from me performing at the Atlanta Hawks halftime to Braves performance at the game, to see their dad out there on different formats and fields they love it, man.
Baltin: Who is the one player they’d be most excited to see at the game?
Big Boi: I could meet anybody. Is [Josef] Martinez out there?
Baltin: I am not going to lie, I am not that knowledgeable about soccer. But what was the last show you did?
Big Boi: Dallas, a couple of months ago. I did Dallas and Houston, some private concerts for some healthcare workers. Yeah, I did that just as a treat for the healthcare frontline workers. I did two shows down there and I also did a big concert in Atlanta, Big Night Out, at Centennial Park, at the height of what was going on, without incident. So we pulled off a lot of things, a lot of live stream shows with Microsoft, Carvana, so I’ve been kind of active.
Baltin: I did check this out by the way for my own information. And I do see Miles Robinson from Atlanta made the game. So I am not sure if you are a fan?
Big Boi: I am now. Good, I’m cheering for Miles. “Let’s go, Miles.”
Baltin: You have gotten the opportunity to do shows, where a lot of other people are just coming out of lock down. So for a lot of people the MLS All-Star concert will be their first big event. So does that make it extra special for you?
Big Boi: Oh yeah, absolutely, man. One of the best parts of getting back to it was when I did the show for the frontline workers everybody didn’t have on a mask and you could see their faces and the smiles, the teeth, so that real human engagement and the transfer of energy was in the room. And that’s what it’s all about, man. The music is supposed to uplift.
Baltin: The album, Big Sleepover, comes out that week. Will you be busting out new material?
Big Boi: Oh man, I’m gonna at least give them two or three songs off the new album. But we have, go from Southernplayalistic, ATLiens, all the way to Stankonia, we’re gonna put together a nice strong, solid set. Gonna be super high-impact, nothing but full of energy. The people, we’re gonna wear ’em out.
Baltin: What are the songs you have been missing playing live?
Big Boi: Always songs like “Shutterbug,” “Miss Jackson,” “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Rosa Parks,” “All Night,” “Kryptonite.” I can keep going. You have a catalog like that you can mix and match. “Fo Yo Sorrows,” so you just take them on a journey. You lift them up, bring them down and lift them back up again before you just blow them off the stage. It’s great to be able to pick and choose according to how you feel and whatever that crowd is going to be.
Baltin: What about off the new album?
Big Boi: Oh yeah, absolutely. “Lower Case (No Cap),” got a song called “Animals,” the title track, “Big Sleepover,” got a song called “Sucker Free,” “Recreation,” all of it, man. It’s coming.
Baltin: As a sports fan what does it mean to you to be playing one of the major sports’ all-star games?
Big Boi: It’s always been the bigger the crowd the better the influence, so I’ve done the NBA All-Star game, the Super Bowl, I’m going into soccer right now. I might be doing the Olympics, the closing ceremony, you never know.