Classics Corner: American hip-hop duo reintroduces funkadelic style

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Christian Stephens

wcstephens@radford.edu

One of the most successful American hip-hop group, OutKast can be classified as the leading pioneers of the new era of hip-hop. Originally they called themselves OKB (The OutKast Brothers). Andre Lauren Benjamin better known by his stage name “Andre 3000” and Anwan “Big Boi” Patton infused dirty south, funk, soul, pop, electronic music, rock, spoken word, jazz, and blues elements to create an identity within the hip-hop industry. The two met while attending Tri-Cities High School, a visual and performing arts school. OutKast signed to LaFace Records in 1992, to become the label’s first hip-hop act. In 1993 their single “Player’s Ball” hit number-one on the Billboard’s Hot Rap Track chart. Since then they have released six studio albums including; Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik in 1994, Atliens in 1992, Aquemimi in 1998, Stankoni in 2000, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in  2003, and Idlewild inspired by the movie which shares the same name, in 2006.
Their fourth studio album Stankoni, expanded the southern style beyond its borders. Packed with 24 tracks, seven of those being interludes. Stankoni won OutKast two Grammys, one of those being Best Rap Album in 2001. This album can be credited as OutKast’s interchange to the pop charts because of the some of the radio singles. “So Fresh, So Clean”, “Ms. Jackson”, “B.O.B” are some of OutKast’s top tracks from this album, however this album is much more than those familiar radio hits.
For instance, “I’ll Call Before I Come” has a funkadelic, futuristic style to it. The premise for this track insinuates that you should call the person you are in a relationship with and let them know that you are coming incase your partner is with someone else. However, many have speculated that the hook serves as a double entendre for a sexual connotation.
The interludes on this album incorporates a comic relief to some of the high-energy tempos and drug related themes.
This album was the expansion OutKast needed to become a household name. Web magazine Pitchfork has named Stankonia the fourth greatest album released between 2000 and 2004.
As for future work, both Andre 3000 and Big Boi have been working on independent LP’s, but a joint album may not be in the the near future. “People want an OutKast album so bad they’ll stir up something but you can’t break that bond,” Big Boi stated in a recent interview with RapFix.