Monday, August 31, 2009
Stankonia (Outkast) (2000):
The rap duo’s fourth album continues a stretch of mind-blowing consistency that is only rivaled by Radiohead and Bjork since the last decade of popular music. Outkast don’t do music, they reinvent it and Stankonia features all the giddy funk tricks that we’ve become accustomed to. Here are the Hendrix-esque guitars tripping electric magic everywhere. Here is George Clinton-led dirty funk in irresistible hooks and verses. Toss in the afro centricity of Sly Stone and the cheeky sexuality of Prince and we have a strong contender for best rap album of the decade. Outkast are not necessarily the first to sift all these angles together but they are the first and best and coalescing them all into one solid, irrefutable outfit. Certainly, no other track—save, perhaps Radiohead’s 2+2=5---can top B.O.B in relevance this decade. A shape-shifting funk track that morphs endlessly, toasting goodies a mile wide. Ms. Jackson chronicles a real-life situation with synthesized funk and So Fresh, So Clean slows it down for mere bragging rights. Humble Mumble features a frantic Erykah Badu and Red Velvet became the proto-type future rap acts would mimic for years to come. The album does feature an excessive amount of skits, eight in total, but the P-funk style holds everything together.