A young Antwan Patton planned to enter the psychology field before one pesky development derailed his ambition midway through high school: a chart-topping album.
Patton, better known as Big Boi of Outkast, revealed that he was on his way to becoming known as Dr. Patton before the teen duo’s 1994 debut, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, became a speaker-thumping rap classic. However, even on the brink of changing the hip-hop game with his and Andre 3000’s inventive swagger, Big Boi didn’t ditch his high school degree. When MTV News caught up with the ATL lyricist at the Get Schooled Youth Summit at Chicago’s Collins Academy High School, he urged others not to give up on education either.
“Before I started doing music, I was actually planning on going to school to study child psychology, but when I was in the 11th grade, we went platinum. I still finished and graduated with honors just to basically have that,” he said. “You at least need to get your high school education if you don’t go into a separate field where you have to go specialize [and] go to some type of university or something like that to kinda hone in on your craft. So, yeah, you need that.”
Like Big Boi, Keri Hilson, who also attended the Collins event alongside MTV VJ Tim Kash, was up to a lot in high school. An avid sports head, Hilson also dabbled in — not surprisingly — creative arts such as singing and drama. The Grammy-nominated songstress said that beyond picking up on the subjects outlined in the classroom, her overall high school experience taught her how to multi-task — a skill that has appeared to serve her well in her career as a hitmaking songwriter and singer.
“I juggled a lot in high school. I was two-year co-captain of the basketball team, two years ’best offensive,’ senior-year MVP, and I was in the theater. … I was in this black history program, and I was singing the national anthem,” Hilson recalled. “I was doing so much, but I had to learn balance. I had to learn priority, prioritizing my time. I think that is the key to making it through high school and life in general — knowing what’s important, attacking that and executing everything.”
Stay tuned to MTV News for more information about how you can get the president to speak at your commencement celebration at the end of this school year. Get Schooled is a national program aimed at increasing high school and college graduation rates and promoting the importance of education, developed by Viacom in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.