After ample time to gon’ and marinate on it, and the release of two blazing joints already cemented in the heavy rotation of purists, heads, backpackers and poseurs alike, Outkast now seems like they’re bigger than hip hop. But it’s not like they crossed over or stopped taking chances. On the record’s opener, the incendiary guitar-laced banger “Gasoline Dreams,” Big Boi serves up a lil’ reality check: “A couple of months ago they gave Outkast the key to the city/but I still gotta pay my taxes and they give us no pity.” So shit hasn’t changed, but the next installment of the revolution has arrived. Stankonia, the latest and most genre-smashing offering from Andre and Big Boi, Atlanta’s resident prophets, is all the blood, sweat, beats and poetry we’ve come to expect.
Maybe a generation of b-boys and girls finally has its Hendrix? After all, on Stankonia, Kast and their extraterrestrial production team, Organized Noize, serve up a Southern hip-hop stew for the soul made from ingredients of funk, psychedelia, gospel, rock, techno and even a dash of country-blues (peep “Call Before I Come,” their ode to female gratification). And they still find as much time to get crunk as they do to wax philosophical. On the aptly titled “Gangsta Shit,” the ATLiens show off a style many EmpTV VJs would just as soon forget, and they showcase youngblood Slim “Cutta” Calhoun, the newest member of the Dungeon Family.
On “Humble Mumble,” rap’s new Leaders of the New rock over an organic rainforest sound track that gets flipped into the nicest old school-ish break. By the time Erykah drops her featured Baduizm over the profound soulful hook, most will be already lifted: “Humble like a mumble/in the jungle of shouts and screams/That’s the way the cracker crumbles/So I guess I’ve got to re-route my dreams.”
The truth never sounded so good, so fresh or so clean.
Campau Rock writes about music for Metro Times. E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org.