The brotherhood between Big Boi and Killer Mike
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The brotherhood between Big Boi and Killer Mike

Without Big Boi’s masterful ear, Killer Mike might never have received his first big break, and he’s never forgotten how much he owes to the Outkast founder.

However, their relationship hasn’t been straightforward by any stretch of the imagination. For some time, the pair weren’t even on speaking terms after they mixed business with pleasure, which was a grave mistake that almost ruined their friendship.

Their paths first crossed when Mike attended Atlanta’s Morehouse College in 1995, and he started associating in a similar circle. His musical career was going nowhere until he received a call from Big Boi asking him to appear on Outkast’s ‘Snappin & Trappin’ from Stankonia in 2000.

This track opened the doors for Mike, and soon enough, he had a Grammy under his belt for his 2001 collaboration with the duo on ‘The Whole World’ and featured on a record by Jay-Z.

Mike’s 2003 debut album, Monster, even infiltrated the top ten of the Billboard Hot 200. However, things slowed down from there, and he became tired of working under Outkast’s imprint, Purple Ribbon Records. He was supposed to release his second album, Ghetto Extraordinary, in 2005. Yet, disputes with the label forced Mike to excruciatingly sit on the record until eventually sharing it as a mixtape years later. 

Mike then left Purple Ribbon and independently released his sophomore album I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind in 2006. For two years, they stayed out of each other’s way until Big Boi reached out on Twitter to tell the Run The Jewels member he wanted him back in his life.

“It’s a brotherhood more than a friendship,” Mike told MTV in 2011. “My children love him, his children love me, so it’s kinda hard to stay an a**hole when my children are telling me, ‘Don’t be an a**hole, dad,’ and his kids was telling him that,” Mike explained.

Just two days after Boi’s olive branch, they were performing together on-stage in Atlanta and even hoped to record a collaborative album before life had other plans. The two remain extremely close, and in 2017, Big Boi said that discovering Killer Mike and Janelle Monae as rough diamonds is his greatest achievement outside of Outkast.

“Finding those artists and seeing that there are artists that can take the baton and run with it. They both knew what they wanted and I didn’t have to really babysit while they were doing it,” he said about the pair. “To see where they are right now, I’m like a proud big brother.”

Watch Killer Mike and Big Boi team up on ‘Kryptonite’ below.