Album: Stankonia

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Album:

Stankonia

Artist: OutKast
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Genres:
Label: La Face

Big Boi and Andre 3000 make a monumental mothership connection on their utterly stupefying fourth album. At a time when the hip-hop “album” seems to be sadly declining in significance, Atlanta’s finest deliver a classic package of space-case imagery, curbside poetry, and delicious experimental funk. While the boys still celebrate their big pimpin’ lifestyles, “Gasoline Dreams” and the breathtaking “Humble Mumble” overflow with striking images of dashed American dreams and urban frustration. Stankonia’s most beautiful moments come in the name of love, whether it’s…

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Big Boi and Andre 3000 make a monumental mothership connection on their utterly stupefying fourth album. At a time when the hip-hop “album” seems to be sadly declining in significance, Atlanta’s finest deliver a classic package of space-case imagery, curbside poetry, and delicious experimental funk. While the boys still celebrate their big pimpin’ lifestyles, “Gasoline Dreams” and the breathtaking “Humble Mumble” overflow with striking images of dashed American dreams and urban frustration. Stankonia’s most beautiful moments come in the name of love, whether it’s a celebration of the current (“Stanklove”) or a lamentation of the past (“Ms. Jackson”). The love movement is manifested on the album’s revolutionary production, combining the oozing, organic licks of P-Funk, the fearless, sexual audacity of Prince, some down-home Southern crunk, and even a little drum & bass (“B.O.B.”). While Stankonia certainly isn’t an “easy” album, its ambition and vision easily rank it among hip-hop’s greatest in some time. —Hua Hsu

Imagine if the ghetto got electrified. That’s Stankonia, an album of street smarts doused with gasoline and ready to burn. When a thundering electric guitar collides with a relentless drumbeat on the molten “Gasoline Dreams,” it dominates mind and body, setting the tone for the album. Dre and Big Boi spin a world of freaks, poets, preachers, and pimps, but most importantly, possibilities. This music messes with your head. —Lizz Mendez Berry

With their fourth-album, Outkast invoke the rebel Southern spirit to full effect. Realising there is something rotten in the state of hip hop, the Atlantan local heroes have staked out their own territory, Stankonia, a Utopian republic representing the best of the Dirty South. As if in tribute to Funkadelic’s America Eats Its Young , the album cover finds Dre and Big Boi staring out in front of a black and white stars and stripes. Inside they waste no time in revealing their radical agenda. “Don’t everyone like the smell of gasoline?” hollers Andre 3000 on opener “Gasoline Dreams”, as he sets fire to the constitution over a scorching electric guitar. The single “B.O.B.” (aka “Bombs Over Baghdad”) is Outkast’s state-of-the-union address, a rousing gothic gospel number that advocates a “power music electric revival” as it approaches the speed of Reprazent’s “Who Told You” and the epic feel of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. On “Miss Jackson”, they assume the role of exemplary southern Gentleman begging forgiveness from their hoochie’s mama over a backing with spooky shades of Prince’s “When Doves Cry”. Elsewhere they eschew tradition (on tracks like “?”, “Snappin & Trappin” and the B-Real-guesting “Xplosion”) to invest their dirty funk with a distinctly avant-garde afro-sheen. Come election day, just sniff this stank to inhale freedom. —Chris Campion

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