On rapping for L.A. Reid’s before getting signed
L.A. Reid was a guru, almost like Yoda from Star Wars. A real music man. He knew about all aspects of music. We met him at the LaFace offices. Organized Noize was producing for TLC and they had a board meeting in the conference room. Rico Wade took us up there and L.A. was like, “Shit, ya’ll said ya’ll could rap, so rap.” So we just started bussing in the conference room with no music, back and forth. He dug it and set up a showcase after that. We was nervous, but hungry.
On recording Outkast’s first album
It was all about experimenting with the music. We never thought we were going off the deep end. As long as it felt good to us, we were willing to put it out. The first song we recorded was “Player’s Ball.” That was the song that got us our record deal.
On meeting his wife Sherlita Patton
I met my wife when I was 19 before everything really took off. I met her through Rico Wade. She came to our “Southernplayalistic” video and I begged her to be in a scene with me in the video and she said no. Then finally her friend talked her into it, and when I tried to talk to her, she was like, “You better get out my face.” I got her number from her friend, called and tried to get a date with her for a couple months. I finally got her to come out with me, we went to the movies to see The Inkwell and I laid my charm down on her. She wouldn’t give me none for a long time, and that’s how she won.
On the new generation of rappers
I like Trinidad [James]. I like Future because of his hustle, his movement. I’ve seen him since starting with the DTP days. hustling and selling his mixtapes at gas stations. For him to be where he is now, I applaud it.
On raising a daughter
I’m really proud that I’ve been there the whole time and she’s 17. She’s cool as hell and has all the game in the world from her daddy. The father’s gonna be the first man that your daughter falls in love with, so when you set that bar high, you don’t have to worry about a knucklehead disrespecting her or doing dumb shit. I treat her like a princess so she has high expectations. I’m glad that’s one of the things I chose to do as a man -- to be a father to my child.
On getting booed at the Source Awards
That was awkward because Dre really got mad. That’s why he said, “The South got something to say.” I like to call that the Civil Rights time of rap. The South wasn’t accepted or looked at as MCs. For us to break those boundaries and get respect and kick the door down was a great look in hindsight. So it was good that we kept doing what we did.
On getting kudos from Cicely Tyson for his acting
We did the scene with Cicely Tyson [in Idlewild], and she told me, “You need to pursue this. You’re good.” And my mom came down when I was shooting with Ving Rhames because he was my mentor in the movie and he said, “Boy, you got chops.” He said my timing was impeccable. But I was into music [at the time]. Now I think I’ma carve out some time to get back into films because I’ve been turning down roles for years.