The most eye-catching modification on Antwan “Big Boi” Patton’s sleek 2007 Buick Lucerne is the luxurious suede interior, all juiced up with purple suede inserts and headliner, setting off custom headrests emblazoned with the skull-and-crossbones logo of Purple Ribbon Records.
This isn’t your usual inside job; it is as individual as Big Boi (half of the outrageous, world-famous hip-hop duo OutKast) himself, and the unpredictable music that’s made him a household name. “That’s what OutKast is all about, individualism…who you want to be to the world.”
“Purple Ribbon is bad to the bone,” continues Big, decked out in skulls-and-crossbones rain boots. “I breed pit bulls, and when dogs are purple ribbon-bred, you can count at least three generations on their pedigree. My artists have at least three generations working with me, working with the Dungeon Family.” This thoroughbred Buick is just the ride for this man on a mission.
“I’ve always been down with Buick,” said Big. “I had that 1961 Buick Electra that was featured in an earlier issue of DUB. I ended up giving it to my uncle as a gift. It hurt to part with it, but he has had his eye on it for quite some time.”
Yes, the honorable and authentic ambassador of Atlanta sound and style is definitely rolling to his own tune, and making himself—and others—heard. Purple Ribbon produces a “small boutique of up-and-coming artists,” mostly from Atlanta, who you can hear on their website or Big Boi Presents Got Purp? Vol II. New voices like Janelle Monáe and Konkrete help represent the ATL, but the label is also producing Big Boi’s upcoming solo album and, yes, another OutKast record “probably” due out next year.
It’s not all business, however. Big Boi’s Big Kidz Foundation is aimed at supporting the schools. “My thing is education to the youth. It’s time for our kids to be known for more than sports and entertainment. It is time for them to be known for expressing profound thought,” he explains. “Next year I’m going into inner cities with underprivileged kids and building computer labs where parents can come and watch their kids playing, and actually communicate and socialize with them.”