Give ‘Em Their Flowers: OutKast’s Lasting Influence on Hip-Hop
“...Da Souf got sum to say.” These are the famous words that were uttered on stage by rapper Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin, member of the Atlanta rap duo Outkast (with Antwan ‘Big Boi” Patton), while both East and West coast rappers booed the group as they accepted the award for “Best New Artist” at the 1996 Source Awards.
While once ignored by the rap game due to the East/West rap popularity and rivalry, this one phrase helped propel rap of the American South to a level so high that the rest of the nation had no choice but to take a seat at “the back of the bus” (this event was the main inspiration behind the song “Rosa Parks”).
From making songs to encourage the youth to take their future seriously (”Git Up, Git Out”) to addressing issues with the “baby mama’s mamas” (”Ms. Jackson”) to showing off their storytelling skills (”The Art of Storytellin’ Pt. 1 & 2”), Outkast challenged the sound of Rap.
Stankonia album cover
Making Atlanta natives proud to rep themselves as “ATLiens”, Big Boi and Andre 3000 took rap from a place that every rapper had to prove how hard they were to making music that discussed life while encouraging listeners to “get crunk.” They included instruments not usually used in earlier rap such as synthesizers and harmonicas, discussed ‘pimp-ho’ culture, the realities of poverty and selling drugs (one of the precursors of the trap music we know today), and made fashion statements with both Andre’s funkadelic fits and Big Boi’s slick-back hairdos.
Photo credit: The Source Magazine
Though their reign was from the mid 90s to the mid 2000s, their influence can be heard and seen in various, modern Atlanta artists ranging from EARTHGANG to Young Thug. The only thing left to say is: can we PLEASE get one more album?
“Are you an OutKast?
If you understand and feel the basic principles and
Fundamental truths contained within this music, you probably are
If you think it's all about pimpin' hoes and slammin’ Cadillac do's
You probably a cracker, or a nigga that think he a cracker
Or maybe just don't understand
An OutKast is someone who is not considered to be part of the normal world
He is looked at differently
He is not accepted because of his clothes, his hair
His occupation, his beliefs or his skin color”
”True Dat (Interlude)” - Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik