Mic Check: Big Boi shares how he’s spending downtime during coronavirus (and yes, ‘Tiger King’ is involved)

Big Boi fronted the Dungeon Family Reunion Tour at the Fox Theatre on Saturday, April 20, 2019. Photo: Robb Cohen Photography & Video /RobbsPhotos.com

Big Boi fronted the Dungeon Family Reunion Tour at the Fox Theatre on Saturday, April 20, 2019. Photo: Robb Cohen Photography & Video /RobbsPhotos.com

Editor's note: With live music and concert reviews on hold due to COVID-19, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is focusing on how Georgia musicians are spending their time in our new feature, Mic Check.

“I’m super-fantastic,” Big Boi says by way of greeting.

The Atlanta rapper-producer - renowned as half of Outkast as well as his solo work, collaborations and occasional acting stints – is sitting in his car for our conversation, his version of social distancing for a little bit, and by his account, he is good.

“I’ve gotta lot of time on my hands,” Big Boi says with a laugh. “I’ve been sitting on the diving board, looking at the trees, waiting for it to get warmer so I can lay out and get a tan. It’s been kind of refreshing to be around, listening to gospel music.”

The man born Antwon Patton possesses a legendary capacity for work and travel (his son Cross plays for the Oregon Ducks at the University of Oregon and dad is a big supporter), so having some downtime from his usual hectic lifestyle is embraced.

But there is still always work on the horizon, as Big Boi chatted about his Kryptonite music festival – now moved to 2021 – the status of his upcoming album with Sleepy Brown and, yes, the insights he gleaned from "Tiger King."

How are you spending time these days?

I enjoy my family at home. I'm organizing, listening to music, watching a lot of Amazon Prime and Netflix and "Tiger King."

That seems to be the go-to show for a lot of people. What did you think of it?

I was about to get a tiger, too. I always wanted a tiger, but I didn’t know a tiger didn’t know how to use a litter box and I’m not gonna go around cleaning up tiger (excrement) in a 10,000 square foot house! “Tiger King” didn’t change my mind, but I would hate to have to get rid of them after a few months when they’d take your head off, because I’d be attached to them. I’ve got owls, cats, dogs. A tiger would fit in, but for only a few months. I’ve got a ranch, but I wouldn’t want to keep one tied up.

What else are you watching?

“All American” on Netflix about a football player in Compton and went to Beverly Hills. My son turned me on to it. I’m watching a whole bunch of “First and Last,” which is based out of the Gwinnett County jail.

Big Boi fronted the Dungeon Family Reunion Tour at the Fox Theatre on Saturday, April 20, 2019. Photo: Robb Cohen Photography & Video /RobbsPhotos.com

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What do you miss the most right now?

Traveling. But it’s nice to have my kids around. Both my sons are home and my daughter is in Alabama. I’ve been sitting in the sauna every day. I told my wife this was the best Christmas present she ever bought me. I’m training about six days a week and then get in the sauna and sweat it out. I don’t do a whole lot of going out, so I don’t give a (expletive) about not going to the club or any of that. I might go to dinner with my wife and catch a movie, but that’s OK, it can wait. I’ve been experimenting with my pots and cooking. I’m just thankful that everyone is healthy.

What music have you been listening to? 

A lot of Clark Sisters; I saw the (Lifetime) movie the other night. A lot of Donnie McClurkin. My favorite new gospel song is “Way Maker” by Sinach. I saw videos of people parking their cars and praying for doctors and nurses in Cartersville and it used the song. These videos show the best part of the humanity, of us trying to get close to the Creator.

How bummed were you about having to cancel your first-ever Kryptonite Festival (it was scheduled for Chastain April 18). Do you think it will be back next year?

I wasn’t really bummed because what else could you do? I had dates and was supposed to go on tour in June, but safety first. We’re absolutely (bringing Kryptonite back). Same thing next year. The beauty of being in the game so long and to have the type of catalog I have, I make music for recreation. I don’t have to do anything, but I would get bored. I’m just trying to stay in a creative space.

What’s the status of “The Big Sleepover” (Big Boi’s upcoming album with Sleepy Brown and other guests)? 

Everything is finished, but we’re waiting on a lighter time to release it. That album is more recreational party vibe and right now the time is so serious. The CeeLo song (“Intentions,” released last fall) was the appetizer; that was the shrimp scampi. But everybody is still recording and doing pre-production work. We closed down (Atlanta studio) Stankonia (in March) to the public. Only me or Killer Mike or Ray (Murray) from Organized Noize have been in. You gotta be safe. After they said no more than 10 people can be anywhere, I had the interns give (the studio) a bleach bath.

You have your Big Kidz Foundation. Have you thought about ways to get involved now?

We’ve been trying to see what’s going on with Celebrity Trailers (the luxury RV company Big Boi co-owns) to see who to get in contact with to donate trailers to hospital folks. We want nurses and doctors to have a place to stay, a quarantine space for them.

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