It's been years since we've seen them in the same video and there are no plans for them to perform together in the near or distant future, yet the members of Outkast maintain that they have not broken up. Andre 3000 phoned in to MTV News on Tuesday night to clear up the rumors.
"Yesterday I got a phone call from Big Boi and he said that on some hip-hop Web sites that the headlines were reading something to the effect of, 'It's Official: Outkast Is Broken Up,' or something like that," Andre said. "And man, we're looking at it like, where is this sh-- coming from? I was on 'TRL' today to release a new video, and I meant to say something [about the situation] on the air. But the way they had the questions set up, I didn't have a chance to do it."
Andre says that the rumors are not just on the Internet, but very much in the streets.
"N---as hit me in the street like, 'Yeah man, I heard the bad news. Sorry to hear about that,' " Andre continued. "I'm like 'Man, what are you talking about?' Everything is still tight, most definitely."
Fueling the rumors of the 'Kast's separation have been the fact that both Dre and Big are appearing in separate videos for two solo songs — "Idlewild Blue (Don'tchu Worry 'Bout Me)" and "Morris Brown," respectively — to promote their upcoming film and video instead of releasing visuals for the cut "Mighty O," which features both of their raps (see "Missing Outkast? They've Already Lined Up Three 'Idlewild' Singles"). Dre blames that on not being able to find the right way to present "Mighty O" in a timely fashion.
"Really, we were supposed to shoot the 'Mighty O' video, but we were shuffling around with too many treatments and it got too late," 3000 explained. "The record company and film company felt that it was probably better off to help sell the movie to go with these songs ["Idlewild Blue" and "Morris Brown."]. But originally we were supposed to come out with just one single."
In addition to the hailstorm of Internet rumors, there was a May feature story in Entertainment Weekly that painted the twosome going in separate directions musically and personally. More recently, some radio shows and news outlets started to report that Outkast had turned down an invitation to be on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" because the group could not match up schedules.
"Really man, this album, it's been a whole bunch of crazy rumors. [One said] we turned Oprah down and all this type of stuff which was totally not true," Dre added, audibly registering his disappointment in the falsehoods that have been spread.
"We went to Oprah because we were pumping this 'Idlewild' film and soundtrack. They sent her a copy of the movie. But the [film's] release dates kept being pushed back and Oprah's show is dormant during the summertime, so there was no chance for us to do it. Next thing we see on the Internet is, 'Outkast turns down Oprah.' They make it seem like we're jumping on the bandwagon with 50 Cent and Ludacris and some people boycotting, which is totally not the case' " (see "Oprah Says She Doesn't Have Beef With Hip-Hop ").
Despite Mr. 3000's public affirmation that he remains a part of the legendary duo, he says there are still no plans for Outkast to tour or even perform one song together live.
"But that's not even new news," he said of his lack of interest in performing live. All that has been going on for years. ... Big Boi knows I'm in no position to be thinking about hitting the stage. ... I'm just more focused on producing and writing like I been doing and staying in the studio."
So what is Dre coming up with in the studio? Could it be material for a traditional studio album from Outkast?
"We're holding it under wraps," is all he would say. "We want to keep it on the low so expectations won't be a certain way. But we're still doing music."
Dre and Big are trying to decide what the next single from the "Idlewild" soundtrack will be, but they are leaning toward a song called "Hollywood Divorce" which features Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne. Dre says if they do choose that track, you'll see him along with Big in the video.