January 13, 2010

A decade after the fact, pop music has finally caught up with Stankonia-era Outkast. From the dance music influence, to the druggy Funkadelic space personas, to the seriously questionable fashion sense, the impact of Dre and Big Boi’s final classic can be felt from LA to LDN and back to Bankhead. The first single and mission statement, “B.O.B” blended jungle, gospel, acid rock and speed rap seamlessly, and still stands as their most singular pop achievement. It predicted the future but sounded nothing like it. No one raps at 155 BPM, but it’s impossible to deny that anyone aiming for that next shit is somehow trying to recreate the way in which Outkast bottled the zeitgeist. Fittingly, as rappers slowly tip toe towards dance music, electronic artists have veered the other way, embracing rap’s looser swing and empty spaces and bringing the genres closer than they’ve been in decades.  From Alabama rappers rhyming over trance to hipster dance-rap in Hollywood, to East-End Grime, cross-pollination no longer seems like an eccentric luxury so much as a necessary form of growth.

All of which makes it an appropriate time to revisit “B.O.B,” with Dover producer Stenchman screwing its tempo down and replacing the original’s exhausting propulsion with a half-step stomp. The remix actually sounds more like Y2K southern rap than the original, whittling the tune down to rumbling sub-bass and a few stray synth lines, putting the emphasis on the rapping. I could have done without the repeated verses, but short of Outkast actually reuniting or Big Boi’s album seeing the light of day, this could be the best ‘Kast we get this year. Besides, now that it’s no longer trendy, it’s time for Andre to get back to rapping.


MP3: Outkast – “B.O.B (Stenchman Remix)

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