How do I pick a favorite Outkast song? How can I sum up a relatively flawless musical output in a short post? How can I epitomize such a rich and diverse sound by simply selecting a track? I can’t. What I can do is post a dog that so strongly brings me back to my youth that upon that first note I feel the heat of Miami’s endless summer, the tightness of the white tank top against my body; separating me from an airy, oversized button-down; the baggy cargo pants weighed down on one side by a CD carrier and on the other by a portable CD player; headphones resting snugly around my ears; the aluminum benches, the plastic seats on the metro rail, and the impossibly hot bus seats…A whirling confluence of memories pull me back to those halcyon days. 

Outkast was always in my collection, and I have to thank Clark for really making them a lasting part of my soundtrack starting in freshman year. “Elevators” was the first ‘Kast song I remember recordings from the radio, but I have earlier memories of really being intrigued by the “Player’s Ball” video before that. 

What really made me like them was their distinct personalities, but I always recognized what they symbolized on a deeper level – that the South could rhyme. It was all about New York back then, with the South being relegated to bass music and superficial rhymes; Outkast kicked those perceptions down without sacrificing their authentic Atlanta identity. They were unapologetically South and unapologetically lyrical. It was basically unheard of. I remember reading about the Source Awards incident, and I lost my mind. But I also knew that things were changing. 

Outkast has 4 perfect records, and 2 that are pretty close to it. Andre and Big Boi are two of the finest lyricists the game has ever seen. They proved that pigeonholing is not the same as defining, all while showing that originality could be maintained in the face of an ever commercialized art form. They could never put out another album together, or (even less likely) put out a bad album and their legacy would not diminish. 

Outkast forever.