Before Kanye trooped a parade of ballerina's around for performances of "Runaway", Big Boi created a show with the Atlanta Ballet that they called big!. In April 2008, while his label was neglecting the collection of songs that were finally shared as a full length this spring, Antwan Patton was working with choreographer Lauri Stallings. They wanted to give Atlanta an opportunity to sit with 5,000 of their own and have a visceral experience together. Stallings thought she could call the project a success if people left knowing that everyone shows up on earth to try and have experiences and left a little more prepared to forget who was a girl and a boy or black or white for a second and just live their blessed lives a little more fresh and mindfully. We can share this shit straight from the program because we flew eight hours round trip to go home for about 30 hours and see big! on opening night with our whole family and protect and serve the "dogwoods and red clay" of our dirty dirty heart/mind. This video for one of Sir Lucious Left Foot's standouts begins with a monologue that Big Rube performed mid show. Onstage, he sat on a stool while one ballerina fluttered around him before he finished and she flew into his throw-up tackle arms. The show wasn't perfect. Its weird cross between medleys of greatest hits and singles that hadn't yet found a home and came across unsure of the context they would eventually exist in in the world and Twan's canon made us feel like we didn't have a real hold on anything. As if responding directly to us (a feeling we get a couple times a year) Big Boi dropped a new set in front of the light up speakerbox and scrim wall that had backed the ballet so far for the finale. It was a purple awning entrance to a muddy brick strip club facade, emblazoned with the word "NOW". Here's how we drew it from our seat:
In front of that, he ended the show with "The Train Pt. 2". We looked at our parents and brothers and the people of Atlanta and felt totally relieved and energy blown at the same time, like our body had become hard packed with helium and a little better able to believe and make good on what Big Rube taught us in 1994, that the plain "reality of it is you do control your own destiny and future." Glad the performance is getting a little spit shine a couple years on. Thanks Rico Wade, for everything.