Were the Stray Cats rocking 10 Lo shirts at a time and ripping one off after each period in school and stuff like that?
We had three Polos on at once, so you’d have three colors coming out your neck like a peacock. You’d have three polo colors showing at once. It was real stupid but it was fun as kids. And when I met Big Boi I had just started learning how to dye clothes. So I would buy red dye from the grocery store and Gap jeans and tear my Guess triangle off of my pants and sew it on my Gap jeans. I had orange Guess jeans and people at school were like ‘Man where’d you get those from?’ I used to lie and say ‘I got them from a special factory in Alabama.’ [laughs]
Even as a kid you were ahead of the curve.
It was all fun, man. And see that’s what it was was about; saying something and just being different. It was really about being different in Atlanta, really about being different.
When OutKast first came onto the scene you were rocking pretty traditional “hip-hop clothes” of the time period. Do you remember when you really made the decision to go left from what rappers were wearing?
Yeah, the year after our first album (Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik) came out, and I started to produce once I got money to buy my own beat machines and equipment. Our first album was completely produced by Organized Noize. On our second album I started to put in production and I started to look at album covers in a different way. I was a fan of bands like Parliament Funkadelic, Prince, Hendrix, and other older groups. They became my style icons at that age. So I just started trying to incorporate different things into my wardrobe. I felt comfortable doing it. I actually made a huge turnaround after our first album, and I became a vegan/vegetarian at 22-23. I’d gone so hard the years before that I had to do something.
I remember you saying that you quit smoking weed and drinking around that time.
At the same time cause I actually looked in the mirror and saw myself deteriorating.
Wow at such a young age, too.
I was like man we’re doing too much. Way too much.
It’ll really be an eye opener for a lot of young hip-hop fans when they read this.
Oh, and another thing I really want to get out. We just finished the Hendrix movie. In my research there’s an interview and Hendrix says ‘I used to think that I was made for acid,’ he said, ‘Now, I know that I was not and that I’ve done way too much acid.’
Wow and that was after he had become a star?
Yeah, this was like towards the end of his career but he knew it. I think a lot of kids look at Hendrix as ‘He’s the drug guy.’ Kids need to know this.
How was that whole experience of just getting into the Jimi Hendrix character?
I camped down in California. I didn’t speak to my friends really cause I had to change my voice and my accent. I have a thick Southern drawl, so I had to listen hours of Hendrix interviews and had to lose a lot of weight. But it was a great experience, and I cannot wait until everybody sees it. I haven’t seen even seen a bit of it yet.
You haven’t seen the movie you starred in?
No, I didn’t see the dailys either when we did the scenes. I never looked behind the camera to see what it looked like. I just kind of just did it.
Was that a conscious decision?
Yeah, because I’m just self-conscious and if I would have saw something that I hated it would messed my performance up for the rest of the day. Or if I saw something I loved I wouldn’t want to try and redo it. Hendrix was a style-man, like just researching him and you see how style was a big part of him. Like that’s all he was about he would say ‘I’m not really a guitar player, honestly. I’m just a style-man.’
That’s crazy and so many people have taken from that. Before we wrap up, I know everyone and their mother is hounding you about the next Kast album and your solo LP, but just let me know where you are musically.
The only thing I can really say is I write lyrics every day. I wouldn’t say that I write raps everyday but I’ll… at the end of the day they’re all just thoughts. You know and sometimes they turn into raps, they turn into melodic songs, or they just turn into song titles. But I haven’t said ‘Okay I’m putting this album out right now.’ I’m not at that place. I just have to find something that I’m super excited about and right now I’m just chasing that feeling, man. I got a figure out why I’m doing this.
I mean we get little pockets of your music. We hear you pop up on Jeezy’s album, you pop up on Rick Ross’ album and as fans just we want more!
Yeah, those joints just keep me alive. Those artists’ reach out to me.
Do you have to hear the song first before saying “yes”?
Oh yeah! It’s all about the song and even the T.I. record. Me and Tip been trying to do a record forever. Like even if Obama called me up like ‘Hey wanna do this song?' I’d say ‘Well I gotta hear it first.’ I can’t just say “yes” to anyone. And Obama follows rap I think [laughs].
Well, he mentions Jay-Z and Beyoncé a lot. I don’t know anybody else… he mentioned Weezy and Nicki before.
But you better believe them little girls ain’t sitting around the White House listening to Wayne, though [laughs].
Maybe, the edited version or something like that.
Nah, maybe Will Smith…