Over the past nine months, the two members of OutKast, Big Boi and André 3000, have produced statements in the form of lyrics, tweets, and interview responses that at times signal a potential reunion, and at other times drive home the point that the end isn't just near; it's here.
First, the bad:
There was Big Boi's July tweet, in response to why André was on Frank Ocean's "Pink Matter" and not him:
Dre didn't want an OutKast Record Coming out on anybody else LP RT @joeyde_: whhhaaaaaa @bigboi why werent you on it to begin with?!
The question was asked, because both Big Boi and André spent time in the studio separately, while Ocean's channel ORANGE was being made, but as we now know, only one made the final cut. And, according to that tweet, we have a hunch why.
A few months ago, when the buildup began for Big Boi's second solo album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, I made a pact with myself that if it looked like the project was going to be underwhelming, I just wouldn't give it any coverage. I'd pretend like it never happened. The idea of the Outkast-related hot streak coming to a crashing halt (again, Idlewildnever happened. We all made that up, collectively) was too much to accept, and if bad things were looming, my plan was to simply sit this one out.
But then I realized something else. If it was good, it was going to be awfully hard to write about the project without bias. Beyond the facts that I'm from Atlanta and that my first concert was Outkast opening for Lauryn Hill and that Outkast is easily the most important musical act of my life — beyond all that — there's nothing I want more in music than a successful Big Boi/Andre/Outkast project.
So, if I were to say, after a week of listening to the album nonstop, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors is easily a top-five rap release of 2012, should you take that with a grain of salt (or, if you will, a sprinkle of grits)? Absolutely.
"I used to be a way better writer and a rapper when I used to want a black Carmengia.
Now a n---- speedin' in a Porsche, feeling like I'm going off of course."
— André 3000
Three notes here:
The one obvious criticism: I really don't like how André 3000 is TOTES ripping off Kendrick Lamar's style here.
Chill, bro. That's a joke. Stay out of my inbox about it.
By the time you get to the end of this song, chances are you'll forget that T.I. is even alive because André 3000 is GODDAMN TOUGH here, son. If you're a rapper and you're on a song with him and he starts doing that hyper-nasally sing-song thing that only he and God can do, then just fuck your life. You're taking that L, that's all there is to it.
This week on the pod, Andy and I spent some more time with a recent favorite topic, James Bond. Do the creeping Nolanisms, gorgeous cinematography (Roger Deakin!), and Oscar-caliber performances (Bardem!) make Skyfall (1:11) anything more than a shaken, not stirred, spy thriller? Do we feel any differently about the character now that we know where he grew up? And what did Andy's college semester abroad in Scotland teach him about the British Empire?
We then moved on to the most pressing cultural issue of our time: Are we in or out on the Dana plot in Homeland (16:30)? All will be revealed in our discussion of this past weekend's hotly debated episode, "The Clearing."
The back nine of this week's pod focused on the question of whether or not The Walking Dead (26:55) is too limited in its scope, whether Last Resort is too wide. We wrapped with another question: If Big Boi is putting out music as good as "Lines," (39:45) should Outkast even bother getting back together? Native ATLien Rembert Browne helps us look at Outkast's unimpeachable legacy and uncertain future.
A website exists on the Internet called Rap Genius, and its primary function is to explain the lyrics to hip-hop songs. While the scope of the site has grown in recent months, from blogging, to giving artists verified accounts, to irresponsibly corrupting potentially illiterate, troubled 16-year-old rappers and then laughing about it and putting it on the Internet for all to see, its greatest gift to society is simply being a place that has all the lyrics, organized in a sophisticated manner.
In extremely related news, the 2012 Olympics are taking place.
In November, Big Boi returns with Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, his first album since 2010’s often sublime Sir Lucious Left Foot, and by the sounds of the compressed funk of “Gossip,” dude hasn’t lost a mile on his fastball. By the way, I know Big’s way too down for the team to do this in public, but do you think maybe he ever holes up in his bathroom screaming stuff at the mirror like, "I’m making classics and people out here whining about no Three Stacks tracks! I can’t believe you don’t own my goddamn records!"