For the past 5 years, I’ve spent 95% of my time away from my home. Because of that, every now and then I feel
forced required obliged compelled to do something to prove my unwavering love for Atlanta.
Another thing I often feel compelled to do is aggressively “take it there”. What better way to celebrate your blog being a weekend away from 100 straight days of posts (1/5 of the way to completion) than to work until sunrise on a single post.
People, without further adieu:
(Click on brackets to enlarge)
Yeah. This is happening. Right now. Cancel your meeting in 15, because I’ve got you for at least 25.
1. Seeds — #Based on popularity of song, determined by me.
2. Main Draw — Outkast songs ONLY
3. Play-in Games — Songs featuring BOTH Andre & Antwan
4. Advancing — No algorithms, no electoral college, simply based on which song is better, once again determined by me.
5. Final 4 Location — Tri-Cities High School Gymnasium, 2575 Harris St., East Point
Note: This is your last opportunity to leave this page, because in about 10 seconds, it’s getting super real.
B.O.B. easy; Crumblin ‘Erb is too good to lose this early; Git Up, Git Out is even more star-studded than Black Ice; Calling the “Me and You, Yo Mama and Yo Cousin Too” hook from Elevators “catchy” is a rude understatement; BIG UPSET: Although Jay-Z on an Outkast track is huge, Mighty O saved Idlewild and is one of the few times 3000 and Left Foot have hopped on the same song in the past 10 years; How dare a song challenge Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik; UPSET: Myintrotoletuknow is one of the most underrated Outkast songs ever; BIGGEST UPSET OF FIRST ROUND: The game isn’t “pick which song is best to play at a hip 40th high school reunion”, but if it was, The Way You Move would only fall to Step in the Name of Love. I’m proud to have Stankonia’s Gasoline Dreams make it to the Round of 32.
Does Hootie Hoo have a harmonica? Did they get sued by an old lady bittie Hootie Hoo Jenkins? I don’t think so; Andre rhymes “clandestine activity” with “soliloquy” in Wheelz of Steel, sorry D.E.E.P.; UPSET: The acceptance speech at the end of Chonkyfire is almost as good as the song; Andre invents a math term in Skew It On The Bar-B (Nigga Numerator) and we all know math trumps all; I love Mamacita, but I’ll still know all the words to 3000′s last verse in Ain’t No Thang when I have great-grandkids; BIG UPSET: Slum Beautiful is probably the greatest Track #22 ever made, also “Yo daddy must of gave you a teaspoon of honey every night before you went to bed, or was it a pack of now-and-laters cause you the sweetest thing on my head.”; UPSET: So Liberation 2-ups Slum Beautiful, by adding Erykah Badu and Big Rube. Also, this song is extremely important, which is unfortunate for Morris Brown, which really can’t afford any more losses these days…; Sure they’re not both rapping in Roses, but we get to at least pretend that maybe they were in the studio together and still are BFFs that like to share plates of fish and grits.
Hey Ya! will stand the test of time. (Human History — 2012); If I’m not mistaken, in Humble Mumble, Andre says “We chicken nugget, we dip in the sauce like mop and bucket” #winning; BIG UPSET: Royal Flush = Top 5 Dre verse ever. No question. It’s also like 17 minutes long; The story of Sasha Thumper > everything else; UPSET: My wedding will be shockingly similar to the Int’l Players Anthem video. Also, the song is alright, I guess; Ghettomusick is an achievement in frantic. It has no peers in the frantic category.; UPSET: I’m partial to anything associated with the Soul Food Soundtrack, and In Due Time is no different. Also, Cee-Lo is in full preacher mode in this song.; Before So Fresh, So Clean, I had no idea there was a company called YKK that apparently made the entire world’s zippers. Thank you, Big Boi.
Although Big Boi did say he was “dropping bombs like a North Korean nuclear missile”, Ms. Jackson isn’t going anywhere… for now…; UPSET: Benz or Beemer is a unbelivable song, but Andre rapping the story of his life for 5+ minutes is too good to be true.; “Damn, Damn, Damn, Damn” – SODopaliscious; Aquemini is perfect. That’s all, for now.; Big Boi’s “cooler than a polar bear’s toenails” is one of the more classic rap lines. Also classic, the word ATLiens. Also classic, the song ATLiens.; Seems like a blowout, but easily the closest match up of the first round. There is a part of me that believes Dave Chappelle’s “Playa Hater’s Ball” sketch wouldn’t have been made without Player’s Ball, and that’s unacceptable. Sorry Claimin’ True; UPSET: In high school, I got locked in my “friend’s” trunk while he drove around, blasting the Intro to Speakerboxxx. That traumatic experience aside, an album can’t begin in a more epic fashion than this.; The Whole World, the surprise single from the greatest hits album, had great verses from Dre and Big, but Killer Mike delivers a career boosting verse. On to the next round.
Brief Run-Through of Round 2
In the battle of the chillest vs. the hypest, B.O.B (the hypest) dominates; SMALL UPSET: Each rapper’s personal tale on Git Up, Git Out makes the message of Elevators almost seem childish; Wait, both Andre and Big Boi do three FULL verses on Southernplayalistic? Nothing from Idlewild stands a chance (not even you, Paula Patton); While Gasoline Dreams did pull the upset of the first round, the amount of great content the duo packs into 2:42 is incredible.
Rosa Parks is a significant portion of the country’s first introduction to Outkast. Not a bad way to introduce yourself; UPSET: Chonkyfire is one of the better album-enders I can think of, but the Raekwon sandwich that is Skew It on the Bar-B is simply a better song. Don’t believe me, listen to Big Boi come in on the 3rd verse when the music drops… too tough; BIGGER UPSET: Sorry Slum Beautiful, but there’s nothing you can do against Ain’t No Thang‘s front line of Pimps, Players, Mac Daddies, and of course East Point. Nothing.; EVEN BIGGER UPSET: Roses is awesome, because there are some girls that do smell like doo-doo, but Liberation is basically an 8+ minute religious experience. It simply overwhelms Roses.
Think about the first time you heard Hey Ya! By the time he says “My baby don’t mess around”, I knew this would be one of the bigger songs… ever (coupled with the fact that my mom would almost crash our car dancing to it while driving); UPSET: Suzie Screw and Sasha Thumper are taking no prisoners in this contest. Next.; BIGGER UPSET: I want a song to knock out International Players Anthem, because it’s not a true Outkast song, but Ghettomusick is not that song. UGK + Kast is too good.; The vanity that surrounds So Fresh, So Clean is great. When this song comes on, people have about four minutes to just show off, and there’s nothing more fun than being in a room where everyone is collectively showing off.
#1 SEED UPSET: After more than 70 minutes of Andre not rapping in the Love Below, he ends his work with a reminder that he has not lost a step. Sorry Ms. Jackson (oooooh), but you are the first #1 to fall, please collect your belongings and leave the island. Now.; UPSET: SpottieOttieDopaliscious vs. Aquemini in the second round is just not an ideal situation, because with a better luck of the draw, both could easily end up in the final 4. With that said, SWATS is turning out to be the realest section of the bracket (and the city…) Someone must win, someone must lose, and (shockingly) it’s not too difficult to pick SpottieOttie. I don’t know how they came up with this song, but it’s nothing short of a masterpiece. Don’t ever try to throw it into a box or categorize it, because there is nothing like it. Sorry Aquemini.; UPSET: While ATLiens and Player’s Ball are 2 more heavy hitters, ATLiens is clearly a better song. If this song comes on and I’m by myself, I’ll STILL throw my hands in the air, simply because I do as I’m told.; BIG UPSET: The Intro to Speakerboxxx only has one lyric, “Speakerboxxx”, and it is still a superior song to The Whole World. I’ll gladly throw this into the ring as one of the 5 best beat ever made. Without hesitation.
Who’s Still Standing?
Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik — 4 songs | ATLiens — 1 song | Aquemini — 5 songs
Stankonia – 1 song | Speakerboxxx – 2 song | The Love Below – 2 songs | Other – 1 song
Longer Run-Through of the Sweet 16
There’s a reputable publication out there that chose B.O.B. as the song of the decade. While I disagree, I see where they are coming from and as an ATLien, it makes me extremely proud. B.O.B sounds like nothing before it and no one has even attempted to duplicate it’s sound since it’s release in 1999. Also, this is one of the few examples of Big Boi potentially out-weirding Andre in his verse. A hard task, but he definitely succeeds. Sorry Git Up, Git Out, but, per usual, the rag top prevails.
This is a match up of Track 2 vs. Track 5 from Outkast’s first album. Listening through the whole album, Myintrotoletuknow sets up Southernplayalistic perfectly, but once Track 5 actually rolls around, you almost forget any other songs exist. Like from this and other albums. The first single from their first album is just too good. Buh-bye Myintrotoletuknow, it’s been real.
Like the aforementioned matchup, Rosa Parks and Skew It on the Bar-B is an intra-album matchup, but this one’s even closer in track proximity (Rosa — Track 3 vs. Skew It — Track 4). Both of these songs are crucial cogs in Aquemini’s overall perfection, but if you use the MVP argument, which is, if taken off Aquemini, which song would cause the album to suffer the most, the answer is Rosa Parks. It’s easily the most valuable song of the two.
I referred to Liberation as a religious experience earlier, which it is, but at a certain point you just have to leave church. When it’s time to leave, the only thing I want to do is listen to Ain’t No Thang. It sounds like someone angered both Andre and Big Boi before they recorded this song, because they both seem a little peeved. I love it. They were angsty teenagers when they made this and it comes through in the brash lyrics. It’s like listening to an infinitely more talented, 1994 version of Odd Future. Swag.
#1 SEED UPSET: I’ll be the first to say Hey Ya! is an epic song. With that said, it’s just Andre, doing his spaced-out, Capt. Crunch, weird schtick and no Daddy Fat Stacks. For that reason, coupled with the fact I’m still not at a point to articulate my feelings about Sasha Thumper, Da Art of Storytellin, pt. 1 will easily move on to the Elite 8. Easily.
Finally, a song to oust International Players Anthem. This song and So Fresh, So Clean are sort of similar songs, in the sense that they both inspire an old-man two step and are only for the coolest of cats. While I love International Players Anthem as much as anyone, I think there’s an argument that this song doesn’t exist had So Fresh, So Clean not existed. They both will go down as legendary songs, but SFSC gets the nod. Sorry I’m not sorry.
A Life in the Day of Benjamin Andre, 5:27 of just 3 Stacks, is a beautiful work of art. With that said, once again, it’s just Andre and I’m definitely not one of those people that believes that Big Boi is a sidekick. They are equal parts of a dynamic duo and there are few songs that show off the duo in all of their glory like SpottieOttieDopaliscious. I mean, not to diss any solo-Andre projects (because the Love Below is one of my favorite albums), but the trumpet in SpottieOttie is better than any track on the Love Below. Just the trumpet. Add a plate of yams with extra syrup and some Old E and there’s no question who comes out of this matchup.
As much as I love the Intro from Speakerboxxx, ATLliens has too many good words to lose to an instrumental track, even if that track has ruined car stereos across the metro-Atlanta region. The Intro put up a good fight, but ATLiens is just too much. Way too much.
Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik — 2 songs | ATLiens — 1 song
Stankonia — 2 song | Aquemini — 3 songs
Lengthy Rant on the Elite 8
When B.O.B. came out in 1999, the city of Atlanta had never heard music like that. So loud, so fast, so wild, so energetic. It was a wonderful time to be a Atlantan and a music fan. With that said, in 1994, the city of Atlanta and the surrounding world had never heard a song like Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. To quote another Outkast song, “I hope that you’re the one… If not, you are the prototype.” Southernplayalistic is actually the one and B.O.B. is the prototype. If that initial single gets released and no one likes it, then that’s that and Big Boi and Andre’s dropping out of Tri-Cities is for nothing. But it did work, and then some, and the rest is history. Final 4 bound, Southernplayalistic.
It’s really hard to pick between Rosa Parks and Ain’t No Thang, but the main difference is the multi-dimensionality of Rosa Parks. Ain’t No Thang is great, because it’s just them rapping their hearts out. That’s a beautiful thing to listen to, which is the main reason it’s stood the test of time (literally, and in Stankoff 2011). With that said, Rosa Parks has so much going on and they pull it off. The verses, the hook, the harmonica, the ho-down, and last, but not least, the fact that the song is called Rosa Parks. The quality of verses in the two songs are equally high, so the tie goes to the song with other things to offer. Winner: Rosa Parks.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but I’ve said relatively little about Da Art of Storytellin, pt. 1. This is true, because the song is overwhelmingly good. No disrespect to So Fresh, So Clean, but 5 minutes after listening to it, I’ve moved on. After I listen to Storytellin, pt. 1., I stop what I’m doing, I sit down, and I just think about things for a while. Few rap songs have more substance and tell better, more poignant stories than Da Art of Storytellin, pt. 1. Easy win to the Final 4 (Side note: My wireless network last year was called “Slay Like Vader”. No big deal).
Picking a winner between SpottieOttieDopaliscious/ATLiens is like being asked to decide what is better, Denzel’s mid 90s mustache or my early April mustache? On the surface, they are equal and extremely important to society as a whole. With that said, the times that the members of Outkast decide to tell stories show them at their best and SpottieOttieDopaliscious could not be a better example of that. It takes you to another world for about 7 minutes and when you return, things are slightly different, regardless of how many times you’ve heard it. I have nothing bad to say about ATLiens, there are just a few more exemplary things about SPD that cannot be overlooked. For that fact, welcome to the Final 4.
Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik — 1 song | Aquemini — 3 songs
Southernplayalistic, Rosa Parks, Da Art of Storytellin, pt. 1, SpottieOttieDopaliscious
I could listen to these 4 songs on loop. Forever.
At this point in the tournament, there are no weak songs. Of these 4, Rosa Parks is the weakest and it has no weaknesses. What these final two rounds come down to is a set very personal feelings I harbor about Outkast, home, and what they have meant to me over my 24 years of living. Rosa Parks is a classic song and easily one of the most enjoyable songs to listen to. When I hear Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, however, my response isn’t “this is enjoyable”. It’s “Outkast might be the greatest duo, ever.” This song exemplifies the tempo of Atlanta and it’s residents and they somehow figured that out before their 18th birthdays. Legendary.
As for the battle of Aquemini tracks, SpottieOttie gets the upper hand for simply being the coolest song Outkast has ever made. To me, this is the song that took Aquemini from a great album to being heralded as one of the 6-7 best hip-hop albums of all time. It forced everyone to think outside of the box and reconsider what it meant to make hip-hop, something Outkast has made people do throughout the course of their careers. Storytellin, pt. 1 is my song when I need to get a wake-up call on life, but SpottieOttie is my song when I want to be reminded about how beautiful music can be.
**2011 STANKOFF CHAMPIONSHIP**
The Winner: Southernplayalisticadillacmusik.
Between the content, the context, and it’s staying power, this is the ultimate Outkast song. This should not be seen as Outkast peaking with their first song, but simply a testament to the strength of their mature, adventurous, complex, beautiful debut.
This album is my Illmatic and this song is my “N.Y. State of Mind.”
That’s all. I’m spent and I really need to take a nap.
Thanks for reading and thank you to all the people who I know will read this and send it to everyone they know and love. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and it’s been a pleasure displaying my love for my city in the most aggressive way possible, outside of a Hank Aaron face tattoo.
I love ‘Kast and I love my city.