Monday, November 29

Outkast’s Top 20 Songs – Ranked! | Outkast


20. Liberation (1998)

The title seems to refer to Outkast’s refusal to be constrained by musical limits and expectations as much as to the social struggles detailed in its lyrics: Liberation more or less abandons rap altogether. Instead, there are voices, by Erykah Badu and Cee-Lo Green, among others, and a challenging message: “You have the choice to be who you want to be.”

19. Player Ball (1993)

In its early days, Outkast apparently used to rap while running to better refine his breath control. Certainly his rapping sounded amazing upon arrival. Musically straightforward compared to what was to come, her debut single, detailing how drug dealers and pimps spend Christmas Day, was a fiery display of her lyrical skills.

18. Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)

“The South has something to say,” André 3000 snapped when Outkast was booed at the 1995 Source Awards. In truth, they had already made their point. A defining moment in southern hip-hop history, the title track from their debut album transformed Dr Dre’s soulful west coast G-funk model into something breathtaking and geographically distinct. Often imitated, never equaled.

Outkast performing in London in 2001.
Outkast performing in London in 2001. Photograph: Brigitte Engl / Redferns

17. GhettoMusick (2003)

Big Boi’s album on the Speakerboxx / Love Below double set was overshadowed by André’s, home of Hey Ya! and Roses, but his reflections were dizzying. GhettoMusick’s fierce and distorted synths, frenetic rhythms, and soulful interludes proved that his partner didn’t have a monopoly on exciting experimentation.

16. Git Up, Git Out (1994)

A seven-and-a-half minute long, highly funky, mindful rhyming introduction to the Dungeon Family, or at least some of that expanding crew. The production is by Organized Noize, with guest appearances by Big Gipp and Goodie Mob’s Cee-Lo Green, the latter completely consuming the first third of the track.

15. Morris Brown (2006)

The soundtrack to an unloved movie, Idlewild was released to a decidedly mixed reception, but Morris Brown is an underrated delight. An explosion of fantastic melodic hooks and slick rap, with an early guest appearance from Janelle Monáe and powered by the aforementioned marching band in her chorus, should have been a huge hit.

Outkast at the 2004 Grammys, where they won three awards, including album of the year.
Outkast at the 2004 Grammys, where they won three awards, including album of the year. Photograph: Steve Granitz / WireImage

14. Return of the G (1998)

A bold statement of artistic intent in the face of criticism, Return of the G’s title is a double deception. André’s verse pokes fun at gangsta rap, which later resurfaces thanks to the platinum-selling cliché Master P, offering as an alternative “time travel, javelin rhyme, something that unravels the mind.”

13. Roses (2003)

In which Big Boi and André cleverly cordon off a beautiful but cash-obsessed woman: “One of those monsters who goes crazy when he sees an ATM receipt.” The way he turns the deeply unpromising phrase “roses really do smell like poop” into an unshakable worm and a worldwide hit single is, sorry, not to be smelled.

12. Two Dope Boyz (in a Cadillac) (1996)

A track that revels in Outkast’s outsider status within hip-hop: “Hello Earthlings!” – with the cool confidence of people who know they have the talent to back up the boast that they are not just different, but better. The Rhythm: Based on the 1967 hit of Five Stairsteps. Danger she’s a stranger – perfectly suits the melancholic mood.

11. Elevators (you and me) (1996)

Things quickly got weird in the world of Outkast. On the surface, Elevators is just a hymn to its initial success (André pierces the celebratory mood by suggesting it’s still broke), but the music is eerily strange: rare and scattered electronic bleeps, a chorus that sounds like something from a musical in which the entire cast is out of their heads.

10. Crumblin ‘Erb (1994)

There is a distinctive touch of musical satire about Crumblin ‘Erb. His intro sounds remarkably like the opening of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin ‘On, while the magnificent chorus reflects his message of confusion about “this crazy world” … at least until he announces that the answer is to put on his skin, an activity. which he praises as “just wonderful.”

9. Aquemini (1998)

Much of Outkast’s third album focused on the duo’s bond in a climate where André’s flamboyance had drawn criticism, while Big Boi’s seemingly simpler personality had not. Their darkly compelling title track goes so far as to present them as twins; the hook, meanwhile, carried Prince’s influence.

8. ATLiens (1996)

If André’s core theory of verse – that his abilities in the bedroom while procreating affects his son’s quality of life – doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, everything else about ATLiens is perfect, from the warped Chambers Brothers display to the quality of the swagger: “I’m cooler than a polar bear’s toenails!”

7. SpottieOttieDopaliscious (1998)

Outkast had referenced George Clinton before, but SpottieOttieDopaliscious was the point where the duo really pretended to be the heirs of P-Funk’s hip-hop, with all the quirk that implied: dubious echo and roots reggae-inspired horns. , samples of The Progressive Era Genesis Guitar Filigree, rhymes closer to the spoken word than to rap.

6. Mrs. Jackson (2000)

Behind Mrs. Jackson’s effortless chorus: “woooooh!” – lurks an intelligent and complicated meditation on the collapse of a relationship, directed not at the ex-partner, but at his mother. His brilliance lies in the range of emotions he conveys: he is sad, angry, and fatalistic; alternately turn on the charm and sigh in exasperation.

Sony's Outkast
Photography: PR / Sony

5. Hey yeah! (2003)

Of all the songs that have achieved wedding disco ubiquity, Hey Ya! it is emphatically the strangest. Inspired by the Smiths, about a relationship in crisis, consisting of the first four guitar chords that André learned repeated ad infinitum, it sounds both incomplete and completely irresistible, proof of a deformed pop genius that its author regrettably weird has recurred since then.

4. Da Art of Storytellin ‘(Part 1) (1998)

The different styles of Big Boi and André are strikingly juxtaposed: the former ingeniously recalls a one-night stand in a speeding parking lot, the latter suddenly changes the subject to a friend who dies of a heroin overdose while pregnant. That a verse by the great Slick Rick was removed from the album version without diminishing the track says a lot.

3. So Fresh, So Clean (2000)

The chorus for So Fresh, So Clean had prosaic beginnings: Rico Wade of producers Organized Noize began singing new lyrics to Joe Simon’s 1977 song soul. Before the night is over while showering. It works perfectly as a compliment to rhymes about sexual prowess, evoking a completely contagious and anticipatory mood.

2. Rosa Parks (1998)

A clue that spawned a court case from the civil rights titleholder heroin attorneys, if the 91-year-old knew about it remains a moot point, Rosa Parks is simply fantastic – a fun, murderous chorus, a nod to Sly Stone in the ad-libs, a lyric that alternately praises Outkast’s success and reflects on its long-term future.

1. BOB (Bombs Over Baghdad) (2000)

There were more obviously commercial songs on Stankonia than on their lead single, but BOB worked, in André’s words, “like a slap in the face.” It is not an anti-war track, although its agitated sound, influenced by listening to drum’n’bass while visiting the UK, seemed to capture a crisis mood; was intended to point out Outkast’s distance from the prevailing trends in hip-hop at the time (“too soft, too cool,” according to its author). It never stops, hitting the listener with frenetic rapping, massive vocals, and a Hendrix-inspired guitar solo in the name of what the lyrics call “mighty music.” You couldn’t imagine another hip-hop artist releasing it – the perfect encapsulation of Outkast’s uniqueness.

The ATLiens 25th Anniversary Deluxe and Expanded Edition launches August 27 at Legacy Recordings.


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