Outkast Sideman Offers the Skinny

Outkast certainly has every reason to feel triumphant these days. The Atlanta hip-hop troupe's fourth and latest album, Stankonia, is a triple-platinum smash that reached No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and was listed on every significant year-end best-of poll for 2000 — most recently, the respected Village Voice Pazz & Jop survey. And the single "Ms. Jackson" topped the Billboard Hot 100.

But now, Slimm "Cutta" Calhoun, a member of Outkast's extended posse, is ready to take his turn. On April 10, Calhoun — who's heard on Outkast songs such as "High Schoolin'," from the film Light It Up, and "Gangsta Shit," from Stankonia — will release The Skinny, the first entry on Outkast's own Aquemini Records label.

"I don't really feel any pressure," Calhoun, 24, says of being first out of the Outkast box. "I've got confidence. All I can do is do what I'm going to do; it's up to The Man to decide what happens to it."

Calhoun describes The Skinny — which features Outkast principal Andre "3000" Benjamin on the album's first single, "It's OK" — as "a little bit of everything. The Skinny means the information, the school, the word on what's going on. It's about life and what's going on down here in the world. It's got some stuff on there for the ladies, some stuff you can party to, some stuff for the street boys and the hustlas. I do it all, man."

While he waits for The Skinny to come out, Calhoun is all too happy to be on tour with Outkast, hawking not just the music but also the group's official sponsors — Pelle Pelle clothing and FootAction athletic shoes. He expects his own tour to follow the album's release.

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