Here’s a hard truth that needs to be told and heard and understood: OutKast aren’t getting back together. They just aren’t. Stankonia, their last proper release as a bonafide duo, was 13 years ago. Andre is going to be Jimi Hendrix. Big Boi is making music with Phantogram and Wavves. They’ve moved on. It’s time we did too. Because this shit is over, son. It’s a wrap. It’s time to stop pleading for the two to make an album together again. Just yesterday, for instance, in the comments of this Big Boi story on CNN. “PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD REUNITE WITH ANDRE. The world needs outkast. I am forreal.” You’re not wrong, person who comments on music stories on CNN, but please, do us all a favor and STFU already. We imagine the same kinds of voices follow Andre around, and that at least one of those voices sounds a lot like Adrien Brody.
What we need to do now is change our mindset. If a reunion (if that’s even the right word) isn’t possible, then we need to cherish in the incredible music the group already gave us. Let’s revisit the 25 best OutKast songs of all time, in no particular order.
1) “Crumblin’ Urb” They could’ve made this a regular song to light up to. Instead they made it so much more, keeping in tune with the camouflaged gems of reflection and lament sprinkled throughout their debut.
2) “Spottieottiedopalicious” One of the best songs ever period. Celebratory, yes, but Big Boi’s verse about handling “real life situations” is classic OutKast material. Most memorable were the infectious horns. Just don’t get swept up in Hollywood Cole’s chest naked rampage.
3) “Liberation” Not a song, a gem, life on wax, just inexplicably divine. Erykah Badu joins Cee Lo Green to add some rich vocals and life altering lyrics. The song is as long as Fela Kuti track, but still isn’t long enough because you just never want it to end.
4) “E.T. (Extra Terrestrial)” They really were “like hail storms and blizzards in the middle of the spring” and this song captured that otherworldliness that was the overlying theme for their sophomore LP. The complex topics and rhyme structures were breaking rap norms in general, let alone the simplistic, Southern rhyme patterns of the day.
5) “Millennium” Can’t say much about this one. Just push play and marvel at the musicianship. This is one of those times where Big Boi actually had a better verse, though 3 Stacks’ is far from subpar.
[ 6) “Elevators (Me & You)” ATLiens’ lead single found OutKast in a unique position. No longer local scrappy Southern rappers but not quite yet the world famous phenomenon they would eventually become, the catchy but undeniably Dirty South hook (they rhymed “Vogues” with “doors”) reeled in fans by the masses, including your momma and your cousin too.
7) “Git Up, Git Out” Inspirational, thug motivator music when Young Jeezy was just… Younger Jeezy. It was a wake up call to a lot of hustlers and potheads who couldn’t get they’re asses out of the bed before 3pm, that unofficially kicked Cee Lo Green’s career off (he got Hip Hop quotable for the verse in The Source).
8) “The Art Of Story Telling 4” This is one of the last known OutKast songs to be officially released, albeit through DJ Drama’s Gangsta Grillz: The Album. The song featured vintage Andre and Big Boi spitting about girls and life lessons with Marsha Ambrocious on the hook. It bolstered false hopes of an OutKast album
9) “Art of Story Telling 1 & 2” Title says it all. The most difficult form of rapping is storytelling and these two have made an art of it. Weezy himself admitted in a fairly recent interview that he couldn’t tell stories in his raps because his mind jumps topic to topic. It’s no small feat to make a well thought out plot rhyme and Big Boi and Andre do it extremely well. Second one is even more urgent.
10) “Players Ball” This was what really set it off for The 2 Dope Boyz, unless you count the remix of TLC’s “Friends.” Simple lyrics about their Southern way of life around the holidays, it was obvious that “the South got something to say.”
11) “Humble Mumble” A sleeper but when you go back and peep Stankonia this one really said a lot.
12) “Southernplayalistic” Making up mashed up words like “Bacdafucup,” “Essaywhuman?” and Funkdoobiest (whatever that might’ve meant) was fun but Southernplayalisticcadillacfunkymuzik takes the cake.
13) “Myintrotoletuknow” Aside from maybe “NY State Of Mind” and “What Up Gangsta?” Best intro song on a debut. Primo thought so, that’s why he sampled it for Jay-Z. Plus how cool is it to hear Mr. Bowtie threaten, “Talk bad about the A-Town, I’ll bust you in your fucking mouth”?
14) “Jazzy Belle” Cautionary tale without preaching about fire and brimstone. It was kind of like “Daughters” before “Daughters,” but a lot more casual with the presentation. Keep your daughters off them poles, people.
15) “Funky Ride” Not quite r&b, but still baby making music, this style of song was revisited several times on later albums. It was arguably the predecessor to Cee Lo’s style of rocking the mic as well a peek into Andre’s future musical aesthetics.
[ 16) “Royal Flush” This may be the absolute last OutKast song to date, though it was technically on a Big Boi project. All sorts of label drama was brewing at Jive so Big Boi left for Def Jam as a solo artist only to have Jive try to block the release on Def Jam citing new OutKast material on the album.
17) “2 Dope Boyz In A Cadillac” After the sweet soul lady crooning’s that start the album off, this head banger sets their sophomore album off, dispelling any notions of a sophomore jinx.
18) “B.O.B.” Frantic drums, purple grass, running children, church choirs singing, records scratchin’, … and not a single drop of sweat on your silk suit.
19) “Decatur Psalm” Dark and Goodie MOB assisted, this is some real street shit. Just to give you a proper scope, the first artist I ever heard say “trap” was Big Boi. This was trap rap’s wiser older brother.
20) “Skew It On the BBQ Just to stunt on any one who labeled them a rap act confined to southern aesthetics they got Raekwon on a song after running into him at an Atlanta Foot Locker. Multiple repeats ensue.
21) “So Fresh, So Clean” Have you ever stepped out of the shower and NOT thought to yourself “So fresh and so clean, clean?” The prosecution rests.
22) “Red Velvet” As anti flossing as you can get. There are hustlers, then there are wolves, and if you’re the former than you should always keep the latter in mind. After all, “Bill Gates don’t dangle diamonds in the face of peasants when he’s Microsofting in the place.” True indeed.
23) “Ms. Jackson” The Grammy award goes to these two for writing a song about their “baby momma’s momma’s” and not make it a minstrel/reality show. Even the leaky house in the video was dope. The car explosion… the puppy bobbing it’s head too… GOD DAMN IT, GET BACK TOGETHER YOU GUYS!! (Sorry. No. No.)
24) “Aquemini” This song is especially important because it led us to believe the pair would be together making funky, abstract gangster music forever.
25) “Slum Beautiful” More baby-making music. Only Baby Jesus knows how many pregnancy tests were purchased after this diddy came on in a college dorm or hooky jam.