It's Outkast that pulls out the big guns on its newest release, the impressive "Stankonia," making targets of cliche hip hop and hitting its own high marks.
Many have said the album not only is a growth in Outkast's musical career, but is the next chapter in hip hop and perhaps music everywhere. This is more than a tall order to fill, but in my opinion, "Stankonia" fills it to the brim.
With nods to Parliament Funkadelic, Jimi Hendrix and Pac-man among countless other influences, Outkast emerges from a stagnant hip hop scene. It's a scene drowning in lyrics about people's gold-plated watches, teeth, Cadillac grills and Chihuahua's. Outkast's lyrics instead are fresh, or "So Fresh, So Clean" to be exact.
That song, and all the others on "Stankonia," take the listener to another realm musically, a realm that bears the album's name, as coined by Andre 3000 and Big Boi of Outkast.
The pair, known as the poet and the player, astound not only in the musical content but in the lyrical one as well. Though throughout the album examples abound, my favorite track on "Stankonia," "B.O.B.," is bursting with impressive examples of lyrics. "Get a life now they on sale," Andre 3000 insists, in this song all about taking the helm, setting a fitting target and making the best of what you have. At least, that is my interpretation. Many of the songs are open to interpretation, with an obvious meaning and a double one, and are open to interpretation because of the untraditional and exciting meanings Outkast assigns to its lyrics.
"I'll Call Before I Come" is one such example, with its gentlemanly chorus that admits "I won't just pop an Over out the blue/ No, after you." Despite the courteous lyrics, many fans have not given courteous reviews to Stankonia, and these individuals miss the point entirely. The band is named Outkast for a reason. They are the trailblazers, the visionaries that are inevitably outcast from the redundant jocks who own the school. It's these Outkasts that should be feared, for they are quickly changing the landscape you've become so drowsily comfortable within. "Stankonia" in my mind successfully changes the hip hop landscape to resemble the other-world that is Stankonia.
"Stankonia" should be visited often, if not made a permanent residence.
Catherine Galioto is a Staff Writer. Contact her at msmatildarockzone.com.
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