Antwan André Patton, better known as Big Boi, is a rapper, songwriter, actor, and record producer. While he may be best known for being one-half of the rap duo Outkast, Big Boi is also a solo artist and collaborator who’s been featured on tracks by Run the Jewels’ Killer Mike, Missy Elliot, Janelle Monáe, and Goodie Mob. Today, he’ll join Maroon 5 and Travis Scott for the Super Bowl LIII halftime show which should hit screens around 8 p.m. EST (depending on gameplay).
Patton was born and raised in Savannah, Ga. before moving to Atlanta with his aunt to pursue his interest in music while attending a visual and performing arts Magnet school. He met André 3000, né André Lauren Benjamin, while the two were still in high school, and thus, Outkast was born. The group released its first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, in 1994 via LaFace Records, which was eventually certified Platinum in the U.S.
Here’s a rundown of Big Boi’s songs and career in music.
Starting in the mid-90s and cruising through the early aughts, Big Boi received critical acclaim and mainstream success with his group Outkast. Their Southern hip-hop was infused with funk, psychedelia, jazz, and techno, creating a distinctly flavorful cocktail that was both current and an homage to the styles that came before them.
The group released six studio albums plus one greatest hits collection, winning six Grammy Awards throughout their career and selling over 25 million albums worldwide. While their first two records helped catapult them onto the scene, their third and fourth records, Aquemini (1998) and Stankonia (2000), were critically praised by publications like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, and helped define the hip-hop and rap-pop sounds of the era.
Stankonia produced the most recognizable of the group’s singles, such as “B.o.B.,” “Ms. Jackson,” and “So Fresh, So Clean,” but 1996’s “ATLiens” proved to be the true bridge between early-90s beats and the style that would help shape Outkast in its Stankonian prime. And don’t discredit the controversial “Rosa Parks,” one of the group’s biggest tracks from their earlier material. The real-life Rosa Parks sued the group, alleging that the song misappropriated Parks’ name.
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, released in 2003, helped the duo soar into the mainstream stratosphere. The double album is arranged somewhat like two solo records mashed together. Big Boi’s half, Speakerboxxx, is straight up Southern hip-hop with plenty of “P-Funk-tinged boogies,” while André 3000’s The Love Below features psychedelic, pop, funk, electro, and jazz influences. The release’s André-led single “Hey Ya” was virtually inescapable that year, winning Best Album/Urban Performance at the Grammys. The album as a whole would win Album of the Year and Best Rap Album.
To date, Big Boi has three solo albums, not including a collaboration album with Phantogram under the name Big Grams. In 2010, he dropped his first record, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, to massive critical acclaim. Vibe called it one of the Top 10 best albums of the year, while Paste called it “a massive, ambitious album shot through with knee-knocking beats and deft lyrical touches from Outkast’s swagger champion…both a trove of pop jams and a profound piece of artistic experimentation.” Lead single “Shutterbug” is a banger that fuses Big Boi’s southern roots with infectious electronic hooks and bouncy synths.
Two years later, Big Boi followed up Sir Lucious with Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors which was just as well received, thanks in part to its single “Mama Told Me” featuring Kelly Rowland. The rapper continued staying true to his roots while pressing forward on 2017’s Boomiverse. “Walking a thin line between pretty much every musical genre known to mankind, don’t be surprised when on Boomiverse one minute you’re breaking your neck on a bed of 808s, electro drum patterns and screaming synths and the next you’re kicking back to a selection of funky rhythms, sax solos, and acoustic guitars,” wrote Will Lavin of Clash Music.
Big Boi as a Featured Arist
Big Boi’s music features tons of guest rappers like Killer Mike, El-P, Jeezy, Cutty, Gucci Mane, and more. Patton frequently returns the favor by delivering slick verses on other artists’ tracks like Goodie Mob’s “Get Rich to This,” Missy Elliot’s “All N My Grill,” and Janelle Monáe’s “Tightrope.”
In 2017, he rapped on “Chase Me,” a Danger Mouse production (also featuring Run the Jewels) for the movie Baby Driver.