The approach toward the year 2000 was an ominous one: the techno-paranoia and doomsday millenarianism of Y2K, that mythic string of zeroes finally upon us. Whether it was this forward-looking urgency or not, it was a truly profound moment for pop music. In early October 2000, Radiohead released Kid A, a paradigm-shifting reset of arena rock. And on Halloween, Atlanta’s Outkast released Stankonia, still one of the strangest and most ambitious hip-hop albums ever made. The Outkast duo of Big Boi and Andre had already prepared us for artful contradictions, most notably on their masterpiece Aquemini. But the Stankonia moment was announced by “Bombs Over Baghdad,” a triumphant, jungle-influenced oddball of a single that was nearly twice as fast as anything else on the radio. By the time Stankonia arrived, it was clear that the always-improving duo had crafted a true masterpiece. The album was like a history of the future in about an hour, and with all due respect to Aquemini it is probably the greatest distillation of the Outkast vision. There were hits that sounded instantly familiar, like the ice-water swagger of “So Fresh, So Clean” and the complex, grown folks earnestness of “Ms. Jackson.” There were moments of nasty, reckless abandon, like “Gangsta Shit” or the coquettish “I’ll Call Before I Come.” And there were songs that yearned for or described a better world, like the post-Hendrix wail of “Gasoline Dreams” or the skyward, Erykah Badu-assisted “Humble Mumble.” That Stankonia could accommodate such a range of images attests to its power. It is swampy and thick and earthy and funky; it is sleek and cold and futuristic. It is as complicated as everyday life.
By Michaelangelo Matos on 09.02.09 in Icons
On the eve of their Coachella reunion, we look back at the albums that established their legacy.
By Lindsay Hood on 12.11.14 in News
Greetings! Top of the Morning is your daily AM news round-up. We paid attention overnight and gathered relevant tidbits to share over that first cup of coffee. Earlier this week, Rihanna shared a new snippet of a song...
By Lindsay Hood on 12.08.14 in News
Greetings! Top of the Morning is your daily AM news round-up. We paid attention over the weekend and gathered relevant tidbits to share over that first cup of coffee. In a statement on their Facebook page, Green Day a...
By Lindsay Hood on 12.04.14 in News
Greetings! Top of the Morning is your daily AM news round-up. We paid attention overnight and gathered relevant tidbits to share over that first cup of coffee. Radiohead is officially back in the studio. Yesterday aft...