Outkast Brings Originality to Mainstream Radio

Maybe I am out of the loop, but I didn’t hear Outkast until 1998. I was sitting in Best Buy where I was employed doing paperwork. We were listening to 102 JAMZ, which is apparently the only radio station in Winston-Salem that anyone listens too, and “SpottieOttieDopalicious” came on. Man, I thought that was some good stuff. It was like nothing else I had ever heard. It was like funk music combined with the best parts of rap and hip-hop.

Then last year Outkast released “Stankonia” and I bought it. Yes, I bought a rap album. “Stankonia” topped many critics’ lists for the best album of 2001. The album proved that rap could be uplifting, hopeful, and meaningful. I think I speak for a fair amount of people when I say I am tired of hearing people like P. Diddy out there rapping about how great a rapper he is. If you’re so great P, why you need three other people on every song you do?

Anyway, that all brings us to this slice of funk called “Big Boi and Dre Present . . . Outkast.”

Ok, its an odd name for an album, greatest hits or not, but who is going to tell Outkast what they can or can not do? “Big Boi and Dre Present . . . Outkast” is a collection of many Outkast singles coupled with a couple of new songs. The album includes hits like “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Bombs over Baghdad,” and “Spottie-OttieDopalicious.” One of the new songs on the album, “The Whole World,” has to be among the greatest songs ever written. It’s catchy in all the right ways; not the get-annoying- after-a-couple-plays catchy or stick- with-you-forever catchy.

Every song on here is near perfect. From the old stuff, like “Southern-playalisticadillacmuzik,” to the cuts of “ATliens.” Did I mention that “Whole World” song? Damn that’s a good song. It’s presence makes it worth having this album in your collection.

So go check this out till we get a whole new album from Outkast, which would be nice. Not many mainstream artists are doing anything exciting or creative right now.

Maybe that’s the appeal of Outkast, a group that is willing to experiment and bring a creative vision to something that is usually a trite, bland medium.

So if you are listening to the radio this weekend and you hear something crazy coming out of the speakers and you are thinking “Wow, that’s good,” it’s probably Outkast, unless you found the only good radio station in America, but then it still might be Outkast.