Outkast’s fourth record; Stankonia, was a definitive moment in the coming together of southern hip-hop with a more East coast influence. The Atlanta based pairing of Andre 3000 and Big Boi shook the music industry in 2000 with the release of their fourth album; their most cohesive to date.
The jittery vocals changed the whole hip-hop game when they first burst onto the scene, cementing 3000 and Big Boi as serious musicians who needed to be taken seriously. The hits came thick and fast as So Fresh, So Clean and Ms. Jackson still get dropped by any self respecting DJ. These also acted as the first introductions to Big Boi’s later 2007 incarnation as The Son of Chico Dusty. Such a long played out reinvention is further evidence of how ahead of their time Outkast were, introducing characters and narratives that even today feel fresher than most of their descendants.
At 24 tracks long, there are plenty of skippable moments throughout Stankonia, but it is the calibre of the ones to be stuck around for that help this album stand the test of time. Ms. Jackson is unarguably one of the greatest hip-hop tracks of all time, no one can resist the high-pitched chorus and late 90s beats that learnt a lot from Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg’s duets.
Outkast’s comeback in 2014 quickly set the world alight, their headline set at that year’s Coachella festival in California reminded many across the world just why the early 2000s were a golden age for hip-hop. The duo brought the reunion to Bestival in the UK that same year, ensuring the dreams of fans the world over were realised. I remember seeing that very set from a high vantage point, thinking I was watching history being made as I heard the songs I was just a little too young to initially understand were played out in front of my very eyes.