Big Boi (from OutKast)
You have to possess real star power to leave the group you got famous with and remain wildly successful. Big Boi, one half of hip-hop powerhouse Outkast, met Andre 3000 when they were both teenagers in Atlanta, Georgia. Their six albums are diverse, funky, and inventive, and together they put out some of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. Their ’90s efforts in particular—in collaboration with Organized Noize and other members of the Dungeon Family—set the standard for Southern hip-hop and put Atlanta on the map as the beating heart of the genre. The double album Speakerboxx/The Love Below was, in essence, a solo project from each artist packaged as one, and Big Boi’s half Speakerboxx produced the slinky, sexy megahit ‘The Way You Move,’ featuring Sleepy Brown. He has since released three additional solo efforts—Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (2010), Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors (2012), and Boomiverse (2017)—to critical acclaim. Though he hasn’t released new music in a couple of years he’s been pursuing his varied interests, including acting and multidisciplinary collaborations, such as the one he did with the Atlanta Ballet in 2008. Plus, he’s still considered one of the cleverest and funkiest lyricists (and owl owners) of all time. Don’t miss the GOAT.
Michigan native Matthew Shafer kicked off his music career in 1994 when his friend, the then-unknown Kid Rock, asked him to play turntables for his then-band, Twisted Brown Trucker. At the time, Shafer, whose stage name comes from a nickname given to him by Kid Rock, didn’t know the first thing about playing the turntables, but he agreed to the role and set about teaching himself to use the decks. A vocalist, rapper, and songwriter himself, Uncle Kracker put out his first solo album Double Wide in 2000, which included the single ‘Follow Me.’ The album went double platinum. Uncle Kracker’s music is a motley mix of rock, rap, country, and forays into catchy, sentimental pop sounds, like 2009’s ‘Drift Away,’ a Dobie Gray cover that was all but inescapable in the year of its release. This year, he released his first new single in many years, titled ‘Sweet 16.’ Besides his stop at the Taste of Minnesota, he is joining America’s sweethearts Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ TOP for their Sharp Dressed Man Tour.