“Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors,” the second stand-alone solo album from Big Boi, may raise a few questions about a certain Southern musician. No, we’re not talking about his erstwhile OutKast collaborator Andre 3000, but Tom Petty. The first lines of a track with the title spelled out “Thom Pettie” feature an impossibly deep voice chanting, “Thom Pettie that hoe/Free Falling, we out all night.” We had to get to the bottom of the meaning before any real vicious lies or dangerous rumors spread.
What does it mean to Tom Petty?
If you’re going out for the wild night and you never know where the night is going to take you, we call it free falling. That’s called Tom Pettying! If you Tom Petty for the night, you don’t know where you’re going to end up at in the morning.
Is this maybe something you’re doing to create a dialogue with him? Would you ever collaborate with him?
Hell yeah! If it was time to do it, then yeah. I’ll work with anybody as long as it’s fun.
Who else are you trying to work with?
I really just want to work with Kate Bush. That’s the only person that I haven’t worked with that I want to work with.
How did the collaboration with the bands Phantogram and Little Dragon work? Did either of you come into the studio with ideas you wanted to use?
Not really. It really all starts with the music. We started recording and it was like an experimental process. We started with sound, from scratch, and let the song just build from there.
I was looking at the liner notes, and there is so much going on within these tracks. I was surprised to see that there’s only one sample on the whole album.
Yeah, everything’s all original. We don’t really use samples like that, unless it’s something that we blatantly use or it’s something we really want to rhyme over. We keep it all original music, because those are the best, freshest grooves. You can’t find a new groove using an old song.
This album is lyrically heavier than we’re used to hearing from you. There’s quite a bit of introspection in a song like “She Hates Me” — and then in the song “Tremendous Damage,” you’re dealing a lot with the loss of your dad, who was a Vietnam vet.
I guess it just comes with age and maturity. And you’ve just got to be honest in the music, so people can feel what you’re coming through. As far as the songs about my dad, I’m still in a period of mourning and it’s therapy for me to write songs like that. To give that type of insight and to really let the listener into your soul, and into your mind like that, you have to make yourself vulnerable. “Tremendous Damage” is [about] something when you take a hit like that in life, whether it be in a relationship or losing a loved one, it’s something that’s so traumatic, people sometimes don’t come back from it, from a point of mourning to come back to a regular sane mind and I’ve been battling through it, and through the man upstairs, I’ve made it through.
What is the most vicious lie or dangerous rumor that you’ve heard about yourself?
I guess the main thing is the division of OutKast. It’s a vicious lie and a dangerous rumor, and people have been saying it for years, and there’s never been a problem with me and my partner.
It’s hard to believe that “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” came out 10 years ago. Does it feel like 10 years?
Not at all.