Everyone knows Outkast was a triumph musically — how many other groups have five albums that incredible in a row? But sometimes their amazing commercial success is overlooked. They're one of the best-selling rap groups of all time, with 25 millions records sold worldwide, and each of their studio albums hitting platinum-plus heights, including their last triumph, the diamond-certified double-album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
When the group went on "hiatus" — they never called it a breakup — six years ago, however, they not only went in different directions artistically (Dre to acting, Big to a solo career), they also split with the man partly responsible for their chart-dominating 14-year run, manager Michael "Blue" Williams. But now, two-thirds of the original Outkast team are reuniting: Big Boi, in a BET.com exclusive, revealed that he's signed with Primary Violator, the joint-venture mega-management firm run by Blue and another rap-biz luminary, Chris Lighty.
"He’s a long time mentor as well as business parter," Big Boi told BET.com, referring to Blue. "We started the brand Outkast and built that. We just wanted to continue the legacy. It’s a certain brotherhood that we have. He’s definitely great at seeing the vision that we got and making sure it's put forth to the public in the right way."
BET.com also spoke with Blue Williams about the long-overdue reunion. "We’re like big brother, little brother," Blue said. "We left a very big brand called Outkast. I feel like Big Boi’s individual brand has a lot of room to grow. There's a lot of layers to Big Boi that the general public doesn't know."
Blue explained that he plans to approach this next phase in Boi's career using the growth of another one of his superstar clients as a blueprint: Cee Lo Green, whose fame has reached new, unforeseen heights via commercial endorsements, an incredible Grammy performance two years ago and his role as a judge on the hit show The Voice. "All we did was pull back the curtain and show people how cool Cee Lo is and how many layers that he has," Blue said. "We have a similar plan with Big."
Next up for Big Boi is his second solo album, but he says to expect much more after his new deal with Blue. "My main focus is the music," he says, "but the movie game has been calling like crazy. I'm trying to finish a couple albums first, but definitely look for me on the screen. We're pushing the ball forward."
Tune into BET.com for more from our interview with Big Boi and Blue, in which they also discuss the state of Outkast and Big's new album.
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(Photos from left: Family Tree Entertainment, Arnold Turner/WireImage)