“Idlewild” — just “Idlewild.” According to Big Boi, that’s the name of Outkast’s long-awaited film — and yes, it is very real.
“[Everyone's] been saying, ‘Does it exist? Does it not exist?’ Yeah, it exists,” Big said last week, while seated next to Killer Mike and a black-wig-clad Bubba Sparxxx (see “Outkast’s Manager Says Movie, LP Will Be Their ‘Purple Rain’ “ and “What’s Up With The Outkast Movie? The Director Spills It All” ). “It’s done. Universal [Pictures] just picked it up. I saw the first two rough cuts of it. It’s going major. It’s crazy.”
Besides the ‘Kast, the cast of “Idlewild” includes Terrence Howard, Malinda Williams, Ving Rhames, Cicely Tyson and Clifton Powell. It was directed and co-written by video ace Bryan Barber (“Hey Ya”).
“People been saying ‘musical,’ ” Big continued. “It’s not like [in the movie] I’m talking and then start singing; it’s a film with musical parts in it. It has brand-new Outkast songs, and it also has music from the Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below album incorporated into it as well. [The film] comes out anywhere between November and January.”
The next Outkast album will be the soundtrack to “Idlewild” and is due in December, with another LP called The Hard Ten to follow a year later.
“It’s basically going to be an Outkast album,” he said of the soundtrack. “Not a bunch of different groups [as had been publicized] — the only outside person we have now is Sleepy Brown. He has a song called ‘Sunday Morning.’ ”
The soundtrack’s first single is an Outkast track called “Idlewild Blues.” “It’s crazy,” Big said of the record. “It took me weeks to finish my part on the song. The track has been around for a minute. It used to be, like, a rock track — Dre flipped the track to make it more Dirty South.”
Big Boi and his production crews, the Beat Bullies and Boom Boom Room Productions, have been flipping tracks over the last few months, recording with artists from Big’s Purple Ribbon label, which is distributed by Virgin. You might remember artists such as Sleepy Brown and Killer Mike being signed to Outkast’s Aquemini Records, but with Dre’s interests laying elsewhere, Big has stepped out on his own. “He said, ‘It’s taking up too much of my time — I think I’mma do a little acting, you should take the label,’ ” Big said of the amicable decision for Dre to disassociate himself from the label.
Big says they settled on the name Purple Ribbon because he wanted “something with its own identity. I breed dogs, and when a canine is Purple Ribbon-bred and their pedigree is purple, you can count three generations of the dog and know where they come from,” he said of the imprint’s name.
The first official release from Purple Ribbon will be a compilation album, Big Boi Presents Got Purp Vol. 2, due in November. The musical family already had assembled for the mixtape Got Purp Vol. 1, which was actually put together earlier this year with DJ Drama. “We got response from [the mixtape] that was so good, we came back to Atlanta and said, ‘Hey, why don’t we do a compilation?’ ” Big said. “I called Jermaine [Dupri, artist/producer and head of black music at Virgin], and it was on.”
Got Purp Vol. 2‘s first single is “Kryptonite” and features Big Boi, Killer Mike, Blackowned, C-Bone and Rock D. New LPs from Bubba Sparxxx, Killer Mike and Sleepy Brown are due from the Purple Ribbon label within the next few months.