The Dirty South has inspired some of my most innovative disses. There is one group, though, that (loosely) falls into this sub-genre for whom I have a lot of respect. Outkast, the Atlanta-based duo of Dre & Big Boi, embodies the concepts of creativity and innovation.
Not all hip-hop heads can stomach Outkast’s work. True, they work on levels some people can’t comprehend, but you don’t have to be some sort of elitist to enjoy their stuff. You just have to be open-minded.
Some 2.5 million fans copped their last disc, “Aquemini,” because of the lawsuit-inspiring “Rosa Parks.” But these cats have been around since 1994 and their ’96 single “Elevators” made them stars-in-waiting.
Bold, mature and diverse the new album (“Stankonia”) is the fruition of the labor they put into their first four releases. “B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)” is a breakneck anthem that mirrors the chaos of war) and, as Dre points out, “life in general.” “Ms. Jackson” is the proverbial “ghetto-Waterfalls” a thinly veiled answer to a stanza from TLC a few years back.
Give the disc a big thumbs-up for what it tries to do: broaden minds. But a word of warning. Don’t go in thinking it’s gonna be some Top 40 lovefest.