Quicklet on The Best Outkast Songs: Lyrics and Analysis

Quicklet on The Best Outkast Songs: Lyrics and Analysis

by Kareem Ruth

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As of early 2012, the OutKast duo has sold over 26 million records domestically, has been awarded 6 Grammy awards, and are regarded as one of the best rap groups of all time, and certainly one of the most important. Their initial single, “Player’s Ball”, brought a southern, soulful swing to the world of hip-hop. The unique sound and style fused the lyricism of progressive underground hip-hop with an organic production style that was very different from the more polished, sample-based sound from the northeastern corridor of the United States. Outkast’s sound resonated with the countless music fans outside of the New York metropolitan area, and was integral to the development of the sound of southern hip-hop. The popularity of Outkast’s music was critical in showing the commercial viability of “non-traditional” hip-hop, and ultimately led to the opening of the genre to a wider sonic and thematic palette.

In addition to six albums of groundbreaking hip-hop, OutKast’s career has been instrumental in moving the business and creative epicenter of hip-hop music in the United States from New York City to Atlanta, Georgia.

OutKast is part of a larger musical collective, the Dungeon Family, which consists of OutKast, four-man group the Goodie M.O.B., and production team, Organized Noize Productions. Their impact can be seen in new acts around the world, whether it’s in the style of dress, vocal delivery, or instrumentation.

OutKast’s collective discography is characterized by experimentation, which is unusual for a best-selling rap group. Each of their albums displays an increasingly unique sound that is an exploration and expansion of their influences, which include electro, funk, soul, reggae, and traditional hip-hop. Despite this constant push to test genre boundaries, the group has remained accessible with have several Billboard hits, including “Hey Ya!” - a classic, British Invasion-styled pop song, “The Way You Move” - a hip-hop/R&B hybrid, and “Ms. Jackson” - a song about failed relationships featuring a reversed snare sample as a prominent part of its instrumentation.

Benjamin and Patton met at Lenox Mall in Atlanta, GA, while both were students at Tri-Cities High School. They bonded over music and similar styles, which led to a creation of a rap group called 2 Shades Deep. The duo performed at local talent shows and caught the eye of Rico Wade, Ray Murray, and Patrick “Sleepy” Brown - a trio of Atlanta-based producers who eventually became Organized Noize.

Wade and Murray invited Benjamin and Patton to their basement home studio. It was in this basement that the genesis of a shift in hip-hop was created. Benjamin and Patton, along with Murray and Wade, began creating hip-hop music that mixed samples, beat machines, live instrumentation, and a unique, southern slant on composition that was very different compared to the music coming out of the Northeast. Along with fellow Atlanta artists (including CeeLo Green, Big Gipp, Khujo, T-Mo, Joi Gilliam, and Sleepy Brown), Benjamin, Patton, Wade and Murray formed the collective known as The Dungeon Family, named after the aforementioned basement studio.

2 Shades Deep eventually changed their name to OutKast, and promptly began to record the songs that became Southerplayalisticadillacmuzik.


The video for “Hey Ya!” is loosely based on the Beatles 1964 appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.Despite recognizing his strong Atlanta roots, Big Boi is actually from Savannah, Georgia.Although Outkast has not released a group album since 2003, they remain one of the most relevant groups in hip-hop. Big Boi has released several albums and mixtapes since then, and Andre 3000 has been featured on several singles by other artists. In addition, Andre has released a self-produced soundtrack to his animated television show, The Class of 3000.As a producer, Andre 3000 was one of the early adopters of digital production. He was incorporating Propellerhead’s Reason software into his productions as early as 2000Both Big Boi and Andre are extremely active in the Atlanta arts scene. Big Boi has performed (as a rapper) with the Atlanta Ballet and with public art collective gloATL. Andre’s Class of 3000 television show has been translated to a children’s stage show at Atlanta’s Alliance Theater.The “Morris Brown” single from their movie soundtrack Idlewild is named after an Atlanta Historically Black College or University (HBCU). The school’s marching band is featured in both the recording and the music video.The single “Rosa Parks” from the album, Aquemini features a harmonica solo from Andre’s stepfather, Reverend Robert

Product Details

BN ID: 2940015028782
Publisher: Hyperink
Publication date: 07/26/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 861,708
File size: 273 KB

About the Author

Kareem is a writer, educator and musician who's work can be found in various publications and websites such Okayplayer.com, Yahoo OMG!, and Ghettoblaster Magazine, among others. He has studied Literature, Philosophy and Media.

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