OutKast – Stankonia (2000): Review

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Produced by Earthtone III, Organized Noize and Carl Mo
Label La Face/Arista

“Stankonia” may not have been the first time the Atlanta duo combined their differing interpretations of rap, funk, pop and rock, but it’s the album that brought them the greatest exposure. Their predecessor, 1998s “Aquemini” had hinted at their future guise, translating the influence of Prince, Sly & The Family Stone and Parliament into a modern day stew of classic elements combined with lines that offered a social and political awareness, and a seemingly invincible, chest beating braggadocio. Significantly, “Stankonia” saw a greater deal of creative control, largely relieving the duties of production team Organized Noize in favor of Andre 3000 and Mr D.J’s Earthtone III. Sonically it’s a huge departure, preceded by the taster single “B.O.B”, an incendiary charged 155 BPM anti war swashbuckler. Although not a commercial success, it served as an unavoidable hook to lure the listener to the forthcoming long player.

outkast-2000

The advent of CD’s 74 minute running time had meant that many Hip Hop artists felt it necessary to remove the inevitable editorial filters, and “Stankonia” is a perfect example of a record that should have been snipped by 25-30 minutes. Frankly, the skits are neither funny or entertaining, and some of the songs serve very much as filler to the star attractions which are heavily loaded in the first half of the collection. Best remembered for the solid funk of the Billboard Number one single “Ms. Jackson”, and allied with a superb promo video, it’s understandable that it remains one of the duo’s definitive moments. Andre 3000 defends his honor as a loving father to Erykah Badu’s mother, it electrifies in its honesty and intimacy. The nagging beats of “So Fresh, So Clean” make for the coolest vibe as the pair namecheck the soul greats Freddie Jackson and Teddy Pendergrass to a sample borrowed from Joe Simon’s “Before The Night Is Over”. There is however, a substantial amount of filler, shallow wallowing in carnal enterprise (“We Love Deez Hoez” and “I’ll Call Before I Come”), and guest artists that don’t always enhance the experience. Cee Lo Green’s contribution to “Slum Beautiful” sounds surprisingly forced, and too many cooks (Slimm Calhoun, C-Bone and T-Mo Goodie) can’t boost the sub-standard “Gangsta Shit”.

Potentially a great album, hampered by an inability by the pair to know when to cut out the flab.

7/10

Track Rating
1. Intro (6)
2. Gasoline Dreams (8)
3. I’m Cool (Interlude) (na)
4. So Fresh, So Clean (9)
5. Ms. Jackson (10)
6. Snappin’ & Trappin’ (7)
7. D.F. (Interlude) (na)
8. Spaghetti Junction (7)
9. Kim & Cookie (Interlude) (5)
10. I’ll Call Before I Come (6)
11. B.O.B. (9)
12. Xplosion (7)
13. Good Hair (Interlude) (na)
14. We Luv Deez Hoez (6)
15. Humble Mumble (7)
16. Drinking Again (Interlude) (na)
17. ? (6)
18. Red Velvet (6)
19. Cruisin’ in the ATL (Interlude) (na)
20. Gangsta Shit (6)
21. Toilet Tisha (7)
22. Slum Beautiful (6)
23. Pre-Nump (Interlude) (na)
24. Stankonia (Stanklove) (8)

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8 responses to “OutKast – Stankonia (2000): Review

  1. Great review. Thai album got a lot of play in my Little Gang Of Buddies when it was new. Gasoline Dreams is a fantastic time machine back to those heady days but you’re right. The skits suck and there’s a lot of filler

  2. Fair review. I really like about have of this, but only about half of that half is exceptional. B.O.B., Gasoline Dreams, Miss Jackson… highlights. But, aye, those skits and the filler have always been the thing that stop OutKast from being one of my absolute favourite acts.

    But yeah, a good review of this one… I’d likely throw a 6 or 7 at it myself.

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