Big Boi isn’t just a rapper or a hip-hop star, he’s one of the greatest musical minds of our generation. Whoa, that’s a pretty bold claim to make, especially coming from a food site, right? Well, in the 21st-Century, few music artists have managed to draw from such a wide variety of styles — while using hip-hop as a base — to turn out a mix of rap, pop, soul and rock that is often sublime and never cheesy.
As one half of OutKast, he’s already cemented legendary status, and while music fans clamor for more from Big Boi and his wayward pal Andre 3000, Big Boi keeps pushing boundaries, as on his latest, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. The album features an almost insane array of guests, from his fellow Atlanta pals Sleepy Brown, B.o.B. and Ludacris to unlikely collaborators like Little Dragon and Wavves. Kelly Rowland duets tantalizingly on the space-age pop single “Mama Told Me,” and A$AP Rocky and Phantogram guest on “Lines.” It’s the rare album that earns praise from both XXL and Pitchfork, but this one has something for everyone — especially the adventurous listener.
It also spawned a video for the song “Apple Of My Eye” that features a funny opening scene with the extreme foodies behind Epic Meal Time, with a slew of lewd dick joke double-entendres in what has to be rap’s first food truck cameo. As Big Boi prepped for his “Shoes For Running” tour, a two-month trek across a large swath of the United States that starts April 18 (check out the dates here), he took a break to talk food and drink with us.
Let’s start with the video: How’d you decide to use a food truck, and why’d you get Epic Meal Time?
The food truck idea came from the director, my boy Trevor Kane. And Epic Meal Time, my kids are big fans of their show, so you see them in there, Harley (Morenstein) and them acting crazy.
You’re about to go on a huge tour. What’s your tour rider like?
Food trays. I like turkey sausage. I haven’t eaten beef or pork for like 20 years so that’s important to say when you talk about food. Also my favorite meal I like to have is jerk chicken with peas on rice and collard greens, and macaroni and cheese. There are assorted spirits and liquors on there, as well as champagne. Riesling on there — do that just to wind down. Peanut butter and jelly. Ginger snaps. Smartfood popcorn. You want to make it be something that’s not too unhealthy, because the bus is full of cookies and cakes and shit like that.
And for drinks?
A nice little Riesling. Of course, cognac. My DJ drinks Patrón and vodka. I don’t fuck with beer because my uncles would give us beers when were like five or six, which made me hate beer.
Do you ever get to eat out on the road? Any favorite stops?
In Europe, I love Nando’s fire-grilled chicken. I wish they had them here. They maybe have one location in DC. But it’s the best shit ever.
Do you cook?
I don’t really know how to cook that well but I can reheat food and remix real good with leftovers. I’m a master of putting some oil in a pan and sautéing some noodles and chicken.
Do you have a personal chef?
Yes, actually there’s a couple of them. (Besides my wife, who cooks.) I have the guy who caters all my events. And I have this one cook named Jambalaya. She’s named Jambalaya because she cooked jambalaya for six months straight on the Stank Love tour that we went on.
How do you stay in shape?
I usually start the day out with an omelet and turkey sausage, something like that, and some orange juice. I try to jog at least two miles every other day. Besides that, just some push-ups. No weights or nothing like that. It’s really cardio.
And when you’re touring? How do you stay in shape on the road?
If you’re on stage every night for like an hour and a half or more, that’s like two hours worth of cardio in itself. You couple that with a two-mile run, it pretty much keeps you fit. That and lots of sex. Lots and lots and lots of sex. [Laughs]
What about feeding your kids, the Epic Meal Time fans? How do you get them to eat healthier?
They can’t eat what you don’t buy. That’s the name of the game. Try to keep as much junk food out of the house as possible. Diabetes is caused by sugar and sugary drinks itself. Try to buy organic, as natural as you can. No genetically modified foods ever — you don’t want that. Keep it organic. I want to grow my own vegetables.
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