OutKast’s Big Boi is no stranger to surprising collaborations — in 2015, for instance, he teamed with electronic rock/trip-hop duo Phantogram for an entire album under name Big Grams. But — speaking to Yahoo Entertainment/SiriusXM Volume about his forthcoming, long-time-a-coming The Big Sleepover album with frequent collaborator Sleepy Brown — the Atlanta hip-hop legend hints that he will finally get to record with his favorite artist of all time: elusive, reclusive British chanteuse Kate Bush.
Did you know @BigBoi is a MASSIVE @KateBushMusic fan? Hear him tell #VolumeWest's @lyndseyparker about finally getting to meet her and how that meeting could soon turn into a collaboration...— SiriusXM VOLUME (@siriusxmvolume) July 23, 2020
Check out the full interview via @SIRIUSXM on-demand here -> https://t.co/8SWIlge1nl pic.twitter.com/Q7LFXG2MoE
“I love Kate Bush. That's my people, man,” Big Boi says. “My uncle turned me on to her since I was like in 8th grade. And this is like my mom's brother, like the weirdo brother. He turned me on to Kate and Fleetwood Mac and Sting and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and he just listened to everything. So I grew up listening to Bob Marley too, and my top two artists of all time is 1A and 1B, Bob Marley and Kate Bush. And then No. 2 would be N.W.A.”
Big Boil has long been vocal about his obsession with the avant-garde artist. According to the 2004 book Hey Ya! The Unauthorized Biography of OutKast, after his “favorite uncle” Russell introduced him to the Kate catalog, he became so enthralled that he’d “sit and think and play her records for hours.” His first major documented mention of his Bush fandom occurred in a March 2001 interview with Spin, when he said, “Kate Bush — I go deep into her music.” Not long after that, an article in Britain’s the Observer Music Monthly reported that his ringtone was Bush’s 1980 hit “Babooshka.”
About a decade ago, Big Boi started to regularly express his desire to work with Bush, a mysterious artist who rarely performs live, does interviews, or makes public appearances. “I’ve been trying for some years now. She’s like a kinda recluse. She lives somewhere in a castle around here and plays some sort of oversized piano like the Phantom of the Opera! You can hear music come out the windows! I’m looking for her, know what I’m saying? That’s my dream collaboration for sure,” he told British GQ in July 2010. That same month, he told British magazine Flavour, “I’ve been trying to get Kate Bush for the last seven years and now I’m come over here to camp out for a month just to find her.” The following year, after gushing to Rolling Stone about the “raw emotion” of Bush’s 2011 album 50 Words for Snow, he declared, “I want her to co-produce something with me. We’d produce a song and write it from scratch. I’d rather get in a room and not have a plan and just let it come organically.”
Now it seems Big Boi’s dream might be coming true. He finally got to meet Bush in 2014, when he traveled to London to see her historic Before the Dawn residency at the Hammersmith Odeon, the singer’s first live concerts since 1979. “Oh, it was wonderful, Before the Dawn. It was super-dope to go in and just to see all the songs play out onstage and the theatrical everything,” he tells Yahoo/SiriusXM. “And at the end of the show, she invited me and my wife back to the dressing room to have a glass of wine.”
Three years later, Bush and Big Boi met up again for dinner. “Just me and her had a sit-down for like a couple hours and just talked about our kids. And she introduced me to Armangac, I don't know, just this almond cognac or something,” Boi recalls, smiling broadly. “But we threw some back and we had a good old time, man. She's a sweet lady.” That evening, Big Boi tweeted his excitement, posting a photo of his Before the Dawn live CD with Bush’s autograph that read, “So great to see you.”
Big Boi laughs and says, “Stay tuned, stay tuned. Just stay tuned. … I can't even talk about it right now!” when asked if The Big Sleepover will feature a Kate Bush collaboration, but he ensures that the “all killer, no filler” album will have “surprises. We can't let it out the bag.” As for when the 12-song album, which Big Boi and Sleepy Brown first started teasing in 2019, will finally come out, Big Boi says they’d rather wait until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, “Because we like to get out the campaign when it's time to kind of move around and shake hands and kiss babies and really get out there and perform the music. Because that's one of the best parts of doing it: creating in the studio for a year and a half, and then being able to see the reaction on people's faces.”
Considering that Big Boi has been dreaming since 8th grade of working with his idol, it seems the record will be worth the wait.
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The above interview is taken from a portion of Big Boi and Sleepy Brown’s appearance on the SiriusXM show “Volume West.” Full audio of this conversation is available on demand via the SiriusXM app.