Words by DeWayne Rogers
Images by Michael Melendy for Steed Media Service
The offices of Purple Ribbon Entertainment. More than just a musical namesake for the business dealings of OutKast member and resident funk master Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, the building represents a limitless energy, which mirrors that of its owner. On this particular day, Mr. Patton welcomed rolling out to his plush office, which is discreetly tucked in the heart of Atlanta to discuss his new film, his new attitude, and his new way of life. His candidness wa s remarkable in an interview that we won’t soon forget.
ro: Your new film, Who’s Your Caddy? is set to hit theaters soon. How is the preparation for a film role different from your preparation for the release of an OutKast album?
Big Boi: It’s a little different. The process is a lot quicker. When you’re preparing for an album, you have to go from city to city to hit every radio and TV station making sure that you are promoting it the right way. When it’s time to promote the movie though, the studio will set up junkets where you will have 15-20 interviews all in one room with radio and television [reporters] so you can just take care of it all at one time.
ro: You have a lot going on. Do you see yourself slowing down anytime soon?
Big Boi: I can’t slow down. I’m too young, too pretty, too fast, and too in demand to slow down right now.
ro: Where else are people being demanding your time, talent and services?
Big Boi: All over the place. We have the new OutKast album coming. We have the new Big Boi solo album that is coming. Fans have been dying for some more music, so I’ve been working on that and it will be out at the top of 2008. I have a restaurant down in Miami, Ocean 10, that has been one of the sexiest nightlife spots down in Miami for the past few years now. Then we have the dog kennel, Pitfall Kennel, which has still been going strong. T.I. just came through and bought three dogs a couple of weeks ago, so things are going well. And, of course, we have the label Purple Ribbon, where we are still doing our thing and banging it out.
ro: With you being such an avid dog lover, and a representative of Atlanta, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask you about the dog fighting controversy with Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.
Big Boi: Well you know, I don’t really have anything to do with that. As far as me, I’ve been breeding championship dogs for over 10 years now, and I have never had one problem. Not once. We have satisfied customers all over the world.
ro: You’ve been successful in so many different areas of your life. You are living a hole-in-one type of lifestyle. How have you been able to constantly come out on top whenever you step out to do a new venture?
Big Boi: For me, I guess the key to success is that you have to go hard at it. You have to take steps in order to reach that goal. You can’t be half-hearted with what you are trying to do. When I am passionate about something, I’m going all the way with it. As far as the music goes, we’ve been able to accomplish all after 15 years in the industry from album sales to Grammys. But it’s not about the accolades. It’s about doing my best and giving something great to the people that want it. So whether it’s movies, or dogs, or music, it’s going to be something that’s quality, and that represents me as a person.
ro: You have a connection to two kinds of streets now. You remain relative to the ‘hood, but you also make noise on Wall Street as a viable financial generator. How are you able to excel in both worlds?
Big Boi: As far as coming from the streets and knowing that, it’s just experience. That’s where I grew up. I stayed in the projects, but a lot of these n-s are out here lying saying that they did this and did that, but I actually lived it. I never rapped about selling dope in my life but I did that too. So what I learned from the streets is the hustle, and I just translate that to my other business dealings. That’s why I’m able to handle myself on Wall Street, and invest in things like Apple stock, and Home Depot stock so that I can have something to leave my kids one day.
ro: Speaking of your children, we know that you have three. What have you learned about fatherhood that you didn’t know before you had your first child?
Big Boi: That’s one thing that will make you grow up quick. I had my daughter when I was 19 years old, and once you have that first kid, it’s not [just] you anymore. You have to think about that life. You feel a special connection, and a certain responsibility to be there for them. Once you have that kid, it’s like you no longer put yourself first – the kids have to come first. Well, they come first after God. And after Him, my main focus is making sure that their lives are one or two steps better than mine was. It takes a lot of determination to make that happen, but that’s what you have to do if you want to be a good parent.
ro: You got married as well. Talk about that decision.
Big Boi: Well yes, I got married like five years ago. That’s actually my daughter’s mom, so we’ve been together for a long time now.
ro: Was it a change for you? I mean you guys have been dealing with each other for such a long time. Did the relationship change at all by getting married?
Big Boi: It was a change in that, it gives the woman a whole lot more say-so – for real. I wouldn’t even play with y’all on that one. As the man, you are definitely going to give up some rights. But if you’ve got the right partner, and you’ve got the right understanding, then it’s a beautiful thing.
ro: So what kind of partnership does it take to raise children together?
Big Boi: You just have to communicate and share the load. Your kids can’t just have the mom in the picture, it has to be both parents present in their lives. And you also have to be supportive of what your kids want to do with their lives. I allow my kids to be who they want to be, just like I was allowed to be who I wanted to be. But most of all, you just have to be there to support them. Like honestly, on most days when I am up here at the office, my kids are here with me. I want to be around them, and for them to see that I am a big part of their lives. I’ve learned that by having a bond with your kids, it makes things easier, because they will understand you better, and respect who you are in their life. Like for me, I talk to my kids like they are adults. Not in the sense, that I say inappropriate things to them, but I tell them what needs to be done in a matter-of-fact way that can be understood. And when the time comes for them to be disciplined, I do that as well.
Big Boi may in fact discipline his kids to reinforce life’s hard lessons. Such an approach comes from having to learn many of his own lessons in life, love, music, business, and now movies, the hard way. But it has never been in his nature to shy away from imparting wisdom to others, so that they may be able to avoid the pitfalls of life, and many of the trials and tribulations that come along with being great. So as he shares with his children, so too, has he shared with the rolling out family. So much so, that we couldn’t possibly print all of the valuable nuggets of wisdom that he imparted to us. To watch the complete rolling out interview with Big Boi, please visit www.rollingout.com. You won’t be disappointed.