The album earned rave reviews, and everything was great for OutKast until a friend of Andre’s filed suit claiming that he deserved a percentage of publishing credit for co-writing the interlude “God.” Some Dungeon Family members believe the lawsuit was karma. “[OutKast] were trying to keep as much of the publishing as they could,” says Big Rube, another longtime buddy of Wade’s, who was not credited for his spoken-word poetry on OutKast’s first album. “They were trying to do some Michael Jackson shit—want to buy all the publishing,” he says. “But Michael Jackson break you off till where you felt cool selling him your shit. Everybody deserve to get money. Niggas helped y’all get on. Without us y’all wouldn’t be OutKast. Rico made up the fucking name. I love them, and they talented as fuck, but niggas got to realize that y’all didn’t get there by yourself.”
By the time OutKast recorded Idlewild, some sources suggest Big and Dre were turning on each other. The song “Mighty O” was the last straw. “They were dissing each other on that,” says Nikki. Though Ray Murray, who helped produce the track, declines to comment, Big and Dre vehemently deny any rivalry.
“That is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever heard,” Dre says.
“My verse was intended for anybody filling out that application,” Big says dryly.
Nonetheless, after the unimpressive sales of Idlewild Dre begin hopping on all sorts of hot southern rap records, from Unk’s 2006 “Walk It Out” to Rich Boy’s 2007 “Throw Some D’s.” Rap bloggers called him untouchable, Jay-Z referred to him as a “genius,” and in VIBE’s 2009 Real Rap Issue Eminem called him “the best rapper.”
Meanwhile, Big Boi was feeling the pressure. “I really think Big Boi is a better rapper than I am,” Andre, who says people never compare him and Big in person, out of “respect,” claims. “Like, if I’m another rapper and I had to battle one of us, I would say, I don’t want Big Boi, let me do Dre first.”
Rico is less diplomatic. “Big and Dre stand side-by-side, but things like ‘Hey Ya!’ put Dre in a different category,” he says. “Big Boi didn’t market himself that way. Big understands that he got to work a little harder. It ain’t Dre’s fault.” In early 2010, Big Boi plans to release his first solo album, Sir Luscious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty, featuring collaborations with everyone from Mary J. Blige to Gucci Mane. “That’s really the only reason they’re doing solo albums,” Rico says. “So it won’t look like Big’s in Dre’s shadow.”