If you ask Big Boi to name his favorite albums of all time, he’ll include all of his own solo LPs. He’ll also throw in the Dungeon Family album, which he contributed to, and Janelle Monae’s The ArchAndroid, which he both appears on and executive produced. At least that’s what he did for a Complex feature in 2013, shortly after the release of his sophomore LP, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. Now that Big Boi’s released Boomiverse, his first solo album in five years, we’ve compiled a playlist featuring 25 tracks from those 25 favorite albums—21 of which actually don’t include him at all.
Though Big Boi showed preference towards his own work for the Complex list, he conspicuously failed to include any of OutKast’s albums. Perhaps that’s because the duo was still a year out from their eventual reunion at the time of publication. Still, Big Boi discussed how many of the albums he chose influenced him and Andre 3000 during various recording sessions. He claims Bootsy Collins’ Ahh…The Name Is Bootsy, Baby! and Funkadelic’s Cosmic Slop helped form the funk experimentation of Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. He also recalls the “mutual respect” OutKast had with Mobb Deep around the time the duos released ATLiens and The Infamous, respectively.
The rest of Big Boi’s favorite albums are—as to be expected of the innovative producer and rapper—eclectic. He claims Bob Marley and Kate Bush are “his favorite artists of all time,” citing two albums by the latter. He lists Tom Petty, Phoenix, and John Frusciante alongside A Tribe Called Quest, N.W.A., and the Boomerang soundtrack. His favorites span genres and eras, much like his own work (which is, of course, his true favorite).
The only album from Big Boi’s list that isn’t on Spotify—and thus not included here—is Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. In its place, I’ve included “Kill Jill,” the Killer Mike and Young Jeezy-assisted single from Boomiverse. If Big Boi were compiling this list today, I can only assume his new album would’ve knocked one of these off the list.