Big Boi has been putting out music since 1994, when Outkast released their debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, and 25 years later he continues to remain a major name in Atlanta hip-hop as a solo act.
Big Boi has released three solo albums since 2010, most recently Boomiverse in 2017, as well as the collaboration EP Big Grams with Phantogram in 2015, and has been a staple of the music festival circuit in recent years. The hip-hop legend has also found himself building his acting portfolio along with his musical catalogue, beginning with ATL and Idlewild and most recently including a recurring role on BET’s The Quad and being cast in the upcoming remake of Superfly.
Outside of his career, Big Boi has also found himself as the father of a football recruit as his son Cross Patton, a running back at Woodward Academy in Atlanta, recently received his first major college offer from USC. That experience gives him a unique perspective when it comes to his role as Lenny Jenkins, the father of a star recruit, on The Quad. Ahead of Tuesday night’s episode, airing at 10 p.m. ET on BET, we spoke with Big Boi about what he’s learned about the recruiting process, the things his son has taught him about self-promotion, using LaVar Ball as something of a case study for his role, his dream acting role and more.
UPROXX: First, congrats to Cross on the USC offer. What was the vibe like in the house when that letter came?
Big Boi: It was actually a call. It was dope. I was so happy to… He’d been working so hard. He got his first offer when he was in the 10th grade, he’s a junior now, in high school. But, he got his first offer from Eastern Virginia University, last year. Then I just told him to keep working hard and you’re going to get to where you need to be. So, he also wants to be an architect, so he was looking at Georgia Tech, and Georgia Tech has been looking at him and stuff. So when the USC offer came in, man, he was just so proud of himself, and I was so proud of him, too. You know, he’s been working hard. It’s the first of more to come, I mean, the second of more to come.
What’s something that you’ve learned from the recruiting process and all that, that kind of surprised you coming into this for the first time as a parent?
Nothing really surprised me, I kind of knew about it ’cause I got friends that have gone through it and some of my godchildren play college football as well, so through my homeboys, they’ve been kind of telling me about this for years. My son’s been playing football since he’s been five years old, so, he’s had a chance to see some of his cousins go to Ole Miss and things like that. So, we talk as a family and they just let us know it’s real out here, you know? I just told him to keep praying, and working hard, you’ll get to where you want to be.
Now, especially, with the internet, all the recruiting sites, and Hudl highlight films, there’s a lot of self promotion that goes into recruiting. Were you able to give him some advice? Because it seems like in music you’ve got to do the same kinds of things to get discovered. Were you able to give him some advice on best practices there and kind of how to promote himself?