UNIVERSAL CITY, California — Don't read too much into Outkast's decision to temporarily go separate ways for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
There's no feuding between Andre and Big Boi, and talk of the two having different recording routines was quickly squashed during a recent interview on the set of their first videos (see "Outkast's Big Boi Shoots 'Artsy Fartsy' Clip With Magical Hottie Mechanics").
"I mean, you got different processes you go through to get where you need to be, but it ain't that much different," Dre said.
"Well, I like to f--- in the sound booth and he likes to f--- in the control room. Basically, that's about it," Big Boi joked.
In fact, the reason for releasing solo albums, something the duo first considered while recording Stankonia, was partly because recording together had become too easy. "This was a challenge," Big Boi said. "And, you know, just something exciting."
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, due September 23, will still find Outkast working together, only sparingly. The track list for Andre 3000's album has not been finalized, but Big Boi's will feature his partner rapping on two songs, "Knowing" and "Rats & Roaches," and producing two others, "Last Call" and "Ghetto Music," a favorite Big Boi calls "vintage Outkast."
Other guests on Speakerboxxx include Dungeon Family members Cee-Lo, Khujo, Sleepy Brown, Backbone and Slimm Calhoun, along with Bubba Sparxxx, Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz, Jazze Pha, Bun B, Killer Mike and Jay-Z.
The latter two appear on a track called "Flip Flop," which reunites the trio for a sequel of sorts to "Poppin' Tags," which appeared on The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse.
"It's basically like verbal gymnastics, just straight rhymin'," Big Boi said. "We take these lyrics real serious and it's just like showin' em what you made of, showin' your ass."
Big Boi produced much of the music on Speakerboxxx, although Organized Noize (Ludacris), Mr. DJ (Outkast) and Carl Mo (Pastor Troy) also contributed tracks.
As for The Love Below, tracks confirmed so far include the single "Hey Ya!," Dre's favorite, "Happy Valentine's Day" ("It's just a jam!" he said), and "She Lives in My Lap," which features Rosario Dawson, who will star in an upcoming Outkast movie for HBO (see "Outkast Solo Albums Being Turned Into Movie Musical").
"I needed a female artist on the song and I was looking for somebody in music, but I couldn't find nobody to fit the right thing that I needed for the song," Dre explained. "So [video director Bryan Barber] was like, 'Hey, why don't you just get Rosario to come on in?' And I was like, 'Cool, that'll be a good thing.' "
As strange as it is to feature Dawson, an actress, she might not be the most unusual guest on Dre's album. He also recorded with Norah Jones (see "Outkast's Andre 3000 Gets Down With Norah Jones, Big Boi Takes Us To 'Church' ").
"We did a little cut together called 'Take Off Your Cool,' " he said. "It's not really a song, I would call it, just like a little moment. It's just me playing the guitar and both of us singing, it's not even a whole song, it's just like a little break, but we had a good time doing it."
Speakerboxxx track list, according to Arista Records:
- "Bowtie" (featuring Jazze Pha and Sleepy Brown)
- "Oh No" (featuring Bubba Sparxxx and BackBone)
- "Church" (featuring Sleepy Brown)
- "The Way You Move" (featuring Sleepy Brown)
- "Do Dirty" (featuring Killer Mike)
- "Reset" (featuring Khujo and Cee-Lo)
- "Ghetto Music"
- "Last Call" (featuring Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz and Slimm Calhoun)
- "The Rooster"
- "Knowing" (featuring Andre)
- "Flip Flop" (featuring Jay-Z and Killer Mike)
- "Rats & Roaches" (featuring Andre)
- "808" (featuring Bun B)