By Alan Cho

Most of those in hip hop seem content photocopying the sounds of P-Funk and firmly entrenching themselves in their gangsta cliches, as if afraid of stepping out and being incinerated by the brilliance of Outkast. In what could be seen as a marketing move, Big Boi and Andre 3000 released their solo projects as a double album under the Outkast banner. What we get is a tour de force, startling in its ambition, scope and ability to transcend genres.

Big Boi presents us a more conventional album, Speakerboxxx, riding on beats of 808s powered by exploding suns. It is Andre 3000 who takes us on an eccentrically brilliant sonic journey. The Love Below madly fuses and deconstructs genres in an operatic story of a man’s struggle to find love, with lyrics tinged with cynicism juxtaposed against music of exuberant energy.

Together, though, Outkast have brought us an album that may become the defining album of a generation.


Aesop Rock–Bazooka Tooth

Bubba Sparxxx–Deliverance