Outkast's Big Boi Promises Duo's New Album In 2009, Duets With Mary J. Blige On Next Solo LP

Idlewild follow-up set to drop early next year, after duo's solo albums.

ATLANTA — "Outkast are stronger than ever," Big Boi said with one of his trademark smirks last week, taking a break from talking about his partnership with Atlanta Ballet. He's still having the last laugh after all those rumors a few years ago about how he and Andre 3000 had broken up. Well, after three sterling Outkast collaborations in a row — on UGK's "Int'l Players Anthem," their own "Da Art of Storytellin', Pt. 4" and Big's recent "Royal Flush" -- Big asked, "Where is all that talk now?"

The iconic musicians say they are and have always been in each other's good graces, and their next album will be coming in 2009.

"We got a few songs we already picked out," Big explained. "We pick the beats first. I drop my [solo album] in July, Dre puts his out [later this year], and we drop that Outkast record at the top of [next] year."

Andre echoed similar plans when he spoke to MTV News in February, while promoting "Semi-Pro."

"My solo album should be out this fall. Big Boi's album should be out this summer. So look forward to a new Outkast album after that," Andre said. "We don't even have a date. We just know we have commitments and [we] just try and get in there and do it."

It seems like a stretch that we're going to get an Oukast album so close to the duo's solo ventures, but with them you never know. In the meantime, fans can marinate in Big's "Royal Flush." The track features Andre and Raekwon the Chef, and it's the first single off his second album, Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. The song is named after Big's production group.

"I said I wanted to bring that hip-hop back," Big said. "My album is about lyricism and about the craft. I saw Raekwon and he jumped on it. Actually, me and Raekwon recorded three songs. We were gonna finish it with just me and him. When Dre came back from Japan, he heard it and said, 'I wanna be on that.' I gave him the beat. He came back in a couple of months and was like, 'Let's do it.' "

Daddy Fat Sacks' album is just about done, but Big said he will be recording until the very last minute.

"Thirteen cuts. Everything is brand new," he promised. "I got a duet with Mary J. Blige that will probably be the second single, called 'The World Is Too Big.' It's definitely monumental. I needed somebody that could sing with that emotion and power. Like an old-school soul singer. That Motown throat! I always wanted to work with her."

That record in particular deals with the subjects of the election, poverty, crime and the war — or as Big put it, "everything that's going on right now." Big co-produced every song on the album with help from Organized Noize, Mr. DJ and Royal Flush. Khujo Goodie and T.I. will also probably appear on the album as guest collaborators.

OK. That title probably piqued your curiosity. Well, if you look through the 'Kast files, you'll see that Sir Luscious is one of Big's aliases, and Dusty Chico is his real-life father, a military man who gained the nickname as a fighter pilot.