There aren’t enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe Outkast’s style of rap. Comprised of 2 great artists, there’s Big Boi also known as Sir Lucious Left Foot or Daddy Fat Sax and then last, but certainly not least, there’s Andre 3000, aka Possum Aloysuis Jenkins or the Funk Crusader. These two are one of the most, if not THE most unpredictable rap groups of all time when it comes to their music.
The duo made their presence known in the rap game after dropping their classic debut album Southernplayasticcadillacmuzik back in 1994. Since then, they have been known for Big Boi’s dirty southern rap and refreshing experimental style. Their following projects ATLiens and Aquemini, are considered classics in the rap game, making Stankonia their third classic due to its experimental sounds and flows that went beyond the standard southern rap album. Along with their experimental style, their sense of fashion to go with it was one that was daring and highly questionable during a time when fashion in rap was all about baggy jeans, jerseys, and chains.
Stankonia came out on October 31st, 2000, and since then has been met with critical acclaim. It was the highest rated rap album on Metacritic up until Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly released in March of 2015. In a time when East and West Coast rap dominated the scene, it was hard for rappers from the south to develop their own style and name. Outkast made southern rap not only known throughout the world, but respected.
The intro brings about a very atmospheric and seductive vibe to it due to its calm and echoing sounds. As it transitions into “Gasoline Dreams,” Andre and Big Boi go in on each verse with style, charisma, and a shit ton of personality. The fact that they both have 2 different styles of rapping is one of the many things that make them so special. Big Boi’s ability to keep it funky while sticking to his southern roots and fast flowing gangsta rap is nothing short of spectacular. Meanwhile, Andre’s ability to have what looks to be a funk and alternative hip-hop style about him is not only unpredictable but original. Combined, these two always appear to be on the same page, complimenting each other extremely well.
The singles on this album are nothing short of classic songs with “So Fresh, So Clean” and of course, “Ms. Jackson,” but B.O.B (Bombs Over Baghdad) takes the cake over both. Definitely the most explosive track on the album, Andre and Left Foot are bouncing off the walls with every bar they rap. One of the factors that make this album so special is its spontaneity and ability to flip its sound and subject matter on a dime. One minute they’re rapping about their infatuation with hoes, and another minute they’re singing and lamenting about a 14-year-old girl who killed herself because she got pregnant and didn’t want to tell her mother. The interludes on this LP also tie it together due to their wittiness and humor, particularly “Kim and Cookie,” an interlude where a woman is complaining to her friend about a one night stand that failed miserably due to every man’s worst nightmare, being a “Minute-man.”
In the end, “Stankonia (Stanklove)” just seems to put a bow on top of a beautiful, unorthodox, and sporadic album. What makes this album a classic isn’t the wordplay, or the humor, or even the singing. It’s how Andre and Big Boi choose to approach this album along with every other album they’ve had. How they approach subjects with the help of harmony, melodies, and beats across multiple genres stands to this day as iconic; making their influence on today’s generation of rappers and artists of other genres of music, undeniable.