Our hip-hop heroes achieve immortality through two things: music and photos. Legendary photographer Chi Modu has documented many of these all-time great moments, but we think one random Instagram from last year deserves equal billing in the rap history books: Outkast members Big Boi and André 3000 posing for a selfie with Kanye West at Southern late-night circus act, Waffle House.
“There was something going on in the city and we went to a club,” says Big Boi. “I think [André 3000] was like, ‘Kanye and 2 Chainz are trying to link up.’ 2 Chainz has a studio that’s not far from my studio, Stankonia. Waffle House is a midway point, [so] we ended up meeting there.”
Pose. Click. Upload. History was born.
“Then we went back towards the studio where 2 Chainz worked,” Big Boi continues, and everyone gave sneak peaks of their latest tracks. Dré and 2 Chainz played some of their material, as did Kanye—which Big Boi thinks ended up appearing on The Life of Pablo. “I also played one of the things off my new record with me, Killer Mike, and Young Jeezy. It was fun.” Who knew Waffle House had the power to assemble rap’s illuminati?
We figured if Big Boi considers the breakfast institution a home away from home, then he’d most likely have a few pointers for us about late-night haunts in the ATL—especially when it comes to its notorious strip-club scene. Considered the backbone of the city’s nightlife for many a rapper, places like Magic City (241 Forsyth St SW, 404-584-5847) serbe dual purposes as both an entertainment venue, and a proving ground for up-and-coming artists. But they also provide a third service, which has tempted many patrons to stay put the entire night.
“Strip clubs have got some of the best food,” Big Boi says. “Magic City or The Cheetah might have the best kitchens. [But all of them usually] serve everything from lobster to steak. You know what I’m saying?” It’s an all-inclusive trip.
But Big Boi knows anyone going out for a night on the town needs to take a breather from the club once in a while, whether it’s to hit the studio, or cop some waffles. From a Dave Chappelle-approved strip club, to the all-night bender grub spot co-signed by Jermaine Dupri, here is Big Boi’s after-hours guide to Atlanta.
There’s only one place to start the night: the strip club.
Big Boi says:
I actually took Dave Chappelle there about six or seven months ago when he had a show here. I wanted to show him the real Atlanta and take him to the hood club where me and André 3000 was going when we were young and fresh out of high school. At these clubs you’ve got security out there holding AR-15s and AK47s—one of them types. Dave wanted to see that real. He brought a tour bus with 20 or 30 people on it. When we got there he was like, ‘Holy shit.’ He had never seen nothing like that in his life. [By the time we left] he was like, ‘You’re the realest motherfucker I’ve ever met.'”
Don’t be afraid to mix and match your club options.
Big Boi says:
Catch a strip-club breather at a hometown favorite.
Big Boi says:
Make sure you have a car-ordering service on your phone.
— Big Boi (@BigBoi) November 14, 2015
Big Boi says: “Before we had Lyft or Uber, we just drove. But now that we have both, [we can just] jump from spot to spot. They are there within two to three minutes. We don’t have to worry about the inevitable DUI charge. That way you stay out of jail and enjoy your night. The next day the only thing you’re worried about is how much money you spent, and not how much money it’s gonna take to get you out of jail.”
Every late night ends at Spondivits.
Big Boi says:
But every all-night bender ends at R. Thomas.
Big Boi says: “If you want food super-super late—like 6, 7 in the morning—and don’t want Waffle House, there’s a place called R. Thomas (1812 Peachtree St NE, 404-881-0246). The menu has everything from quesadillas to French toast, and it’s all organic. A lot of vegans go there. You might even catch [noted hip-hop vegan] Jermaine Dupri. He definitely knows about R. Thomas.” (Photo: Yelp/Arianna S.)