So Stank, So Clean

Dre 3000 and Big Boi are definitely the big men of the dungeon family.
Courtesy Arista Records
Dre 3000 and Big Boi are definitely the big men of the dungeon family.

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OutKast
Big Boi and Dre Present . . . OutKast
LaFace/Arista

Dungeon Family
Even in Darkness
Arista

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Still, you have to sympathize for the dozen Dungeon Family members who aren't named Big Boi or Andre 3000. It must be hard to stay focused in the recording booth after you've heard Big Boi proclaim himself "cleaner than the urine of a two-time felon." In all fairness, it should be noted that Andre 3000's new vocal style was probably inspired by Cee-Lo's sing-rapping. But that's small consolation when the two go toe-to-toe. On "Crooked Booty," Cee-Lo builds to a thrilling gospel crescendo: "Best believe I'm a breathe and break bread before I die/I know it's live and let live but my Lord won't let me lie." So what does Andre 3000 do? He comes in like a fresh breeze on a funky track, adding a mischievous chorus: "We don't speak proper English, when we walk we strut our stuff/ We act like life is gravy, even though it's oh-so-rough." It's a kind of good-natured bad faith, a winking defense of craft and craftiness—the important word here is "act." Cee-Lo's joyful noise is compelling, but OutKast's neat illogic is irresistible. Why shouldn't the dirty, filthy, nasty Dirty South have the cleanest rhymes on the planet?

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