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Friday, July 16, 2010 03:47 pm

Outkast and the eternal glory of

Big Boi formerly of the hip-hop Beatles, actually known as Outkast, just released his stupendous solo album, “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty.” It’s really good, and it lends even more credence to the rumors of an Outkast reunion. Which is the greatest thing ever. I’m not the world’s biggest Outkast fan. When they were huge, I mostly listened to (ugh) Blink-182 and thought that rap and hip hop weren’t really genres to take notice of. They churned out albums and singles that topped the charts and I kept listening to “All the Small Things” and wishing I could skateboard with midgets. But I was wasting my time. Outkast was busy revolutionizing the way pop music was bought and sold. They made hip hop more accessible than it had ever been, but still delivered anthem after anthem devoted solely to hypnotic dance grooves and managed to sell it just as well to club kids as they did to soccer moms. That in and of itself is deserving of high praise. However, Outkast didn’t really reach the peaks of their mainstream crossover until they combusted on “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” and that was with a little ditty called “Hey Ya!” And that was when the whole world took notice. I will say now that “Hey Ya! is the best song that human beings have ever recorded. It’s not my favorite song, but if a particularly cruel genie forced me to live the rest of my life listening to one song and one song only, it would be “Hey Ya!” Granted, “Hey Ya!” is all Andre 3000’s playground. It combines his pet obsessions with ‘60s and ‘70s funk with jingly acoustic guitars and shot-a-long choruses. Andre 3000 was always the one to integrate pop into Outkast’s sound, but “Hey Ya!” made that combination the focus of the song instead of an inspiration. “Hey Ya!” is the defining statement of a band that went out long before its time. Although other groups would try to work hip-hop magic into mainstream crossover success (I’m looking at you, partially successful Gnarls Barkley), Outkast did it first and did it best and I can’t wait to see if they maybe-possibly-hopefully come together again. If so, I will surely bust out my Polaroid camera, take several snap shots, and shake it in order to speed up the development process.


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