None OutClass like Outkast

By Keanen Williams

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Rap duo Andre 3000 and Big Boi better known as OutKast, released their fourth album ‘Stankonia‘ in October 2000. The album was released on La Face records, but much recording was done in the duo’s own recording studio which coincidently carries the name ‘Stankonia Studios’, purchasing the studio proved to be beneficial in that the process of creating the album in the year 1999 meant that the band weren’t limited to any deadlines which would have had to be met if they hired a studio, it also allowed the group to focus more on experimenting with different genres of music such as gospel, salsa, funk, psychedelia, drum and bass as well as rock, this added a new aesthetic form of vibrant music to Southern Hip Hop culture.

 After the debut of the album ‘Stankonia’ was mounted at number 2 on the U.S BillBoard 200 charts, it also released three singles “Ms Jackson”, “So Fresh, So Clean” and “B.O.B“. Much of the work on the album was done through various “vibe sessions” that were held by the two rappers, who wanted to expand on their creativity with the music they produced. Big Boi spent much of his time working in the studio while Andre 3000 worked mostly on his music at home, where he seldom scribbled lyrics on the walls of his house in which he developed one part of these lyrics to further complete the song “Gasoline Dreams.”

The album has received some positive reviews as it is ranked as one of the most influential hip hop albums of all time, as it has sold over 530,000 copies in its first week and has been rated 95 out of 100 on Metacritic. ‘Stankonia’ was awarded Best Rap Album at the 2002 Grammy Awards and the single “Ms Jackson” also won Best Rap performance by a duo or group. The album also managed to grab number 359 on Rolling Stone’s magazine of the 500 greatest albums of all time in 2003.

 The lyrical content of ‘Stankonia’ remains as hip hop wants it to remain, as they consistently make use of lyrics which refer to ghetto life, or the status of women in society which as how the lyrics have been described as having ” reimagine ’round the way girls, not only as just more than one-dimensional accessories, but as objects of affection with lives and concerns that are worth exploring” , as they always seem to refer to the words ‘stank’ or ‘smell’ to hint at the social problems aligned with being unprivileged. The single “Ms Jackson” tells of Andre 3000’s relationship trouble with Erykah Badu as he apologises to her mother for the pain that he has caused her by impregnating her. The album features a number of songs which are regarded as great tracks which is why OutKast has been hailed one of the most prestigious rap groups in the industry.

 

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