All year OutKast has been jet-setting across the globe from festival to festival allowing people of all ages – including those young enough to not fully appreciate the moment – to see arguably Hip-Hop’s finest tag team together once more. In reality, however, the only show that matter happen next month when Big Boi and Dre perform in front of their hometown fans in Atlanta. And I’ll be there.
There’s no preferred set list,* as Big and Dre will likely power through every hit and fan favorite their expansive catalog has to offer. For one night, the questions of “What happened?,” “Are they still cool?” and “Will they ever make another album?” are tossed out the window. It’s OutKast. Live and in the flesh. Bucket list item accomplished.
Yet, for all the nostalgia also presents the group’s documented and, at times, mysterious history.
Take, for instance, this Driven clip discussing a pivotal point in the duo’s career. ATLiens pinpointed the era when Big and Three Stacks began to venture down different paths, personality, wardrobe and lifestyle-wise.
“He didn’t wanna be a pimp. He didn’t wanna be a playa,” Cee-Lo said. “So that’s when he went through the transition of really, really trying to find himself.”
Mutual friends – including his late mother – discuss the change in Dre’s persona, beliefs, eating habits and sexual activity around the time their classic sophomore set dropped. Erykah Badu’s role in Andre’s transformation is also played up.
“Erykah [Badu] was a soul singer that had just burst on to the music scene,” the clip said. “Erykah was Bohemian. She was intelligent. She was…different and daring. And those were the aspects that were starting to come out in Dre. Erykah and Dre grew really close and the next thing you know…WAM, Erykah’s pregnant.”
Notice the slight hesitation after praising her intelligence? “Different and daring” could very well be code for “the Badu Box is so real it altered the course or rap history,” a topic Common referred to as basically an out-of-body experience and one Ms. Badu credits to a healthy dosage of raw cranberries.
The clip trails off ominously hinting at Big and Dre’s ever-evolving and contrasting personalities. If one never knew better, they’d likely hypothesize the two careened towards a nasty split after ATLiens leaving years and years of questions surrounding what could’ve been. Technically, that still happened – the questions, not the nasty split part – but ‘Kast thrived under their separate, but equal personas and delivered three more classics the their unrivaled catalog in Aquemini, Stankonia and Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
The same catalog which I plan on A) losing my voice rapping along to B) failing to hold back grown man tears once the horns of “Spottieottiedopaliscious” are played and C) more than likely pass out once/if Cee-Lo comes out for “In Due Time.”
* – Here’s hoping “Crumblin’ Erb” is performed with Sleepy Brown.