Alternative: Learning to love the whole of Outkast

2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - Weekend 2 - Day 1 It’s been a hell of a year so far. I actually convinced a living breathing woman to marry me and she did it voluntarily. Netflix kept it cracking with Archer, Orange is the new black and House of Cards. The films have been pretty dope, especially X-Men: Days of the Future Past. But the thing that really caught my eye this year was the fact that Prince and Outkast have been touring extensively. Now, I deliberately group Outkast with Prince because that is the level of reverence I hold them in. They are not only a dope hip hop group, but they could very well be the best hip-hop group of all time. Outkast are pretty much the black Beatles – they mean that much. So for the dynamic Atlanta duo to be touring isn’t something to be ignored and the fact that I have to miss them this year (flat ass broke) is heart breaking. … What I find frustrating about the way hip-hoppers discuss Outkast is how we are incapable of enjoying them as a whole. The discussion has to be devalued to who is the better of the two artists and it seems like the more elusive of the two members always comes out on top. Now don’t get me wrong, Andre 3000 is a fantastic, brilliant and innovative genius who deserves all the praise he gets, but it always leaves a bad taste when that praise comes at the expense of his partner in rhyme. I have always thought that the two are equals, they are both top notch MCs who present two different visions of the American black man. But as the years have gone by since Idlewild, the idea that Three-Stacks is the real star of the grouphas taken hold. But why? … I think it is because Andre’s otherworldliness is much more palatable and consumer friendly that Big Boi’s… well, normal persona. Andre 3000, despite his clear genius, is as safe to popular culture, especially in America, as Will Smith. But Big Boi, is much more dangerous. Big Boi doesn’t dress in wigs, or boiler suits, neither does he wear pom poms or leather trousers – Big Boi looks like most black men walking around in Central-London and I would guess Atlanta. He is also far more southern than Andre in his speech and his rhyme style, and this matters because for many years, southern rap has been ridiculed within hip-hop. With all of that said about Big Boi, he is as intelligent, as imaginative and as challenging as Andre 3000 on the mic and the world can’t justify this intelligence by saying he is weird and so a one off. Big Boi is a reminder to America that man black boys on the street could very well be as smart as the rapper if given the chance and not… you know, imprisoned. Big Boi’s last two solo efforts show that his music can be just as versatile as his best mate, especially the criminally slept on Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumours.  Just listen to Objectum Sexuality and Raspberries on his last cut. So what is the point of this piece? Well, I feel like we have to give Big Boi a lot more respect and credit for making Outkast what they are today. And frankly we (the hip-hop) have to learn to love this group with all of our heart. Let’s not celebrate their coming together just because Andre is showing his face again, let’s celebrate it because they are together once more. We won’t be getting another one of this quality every again.

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