Earlier this year when it was announced that Outkast would be reforming to perform a series of summer shows in honour of the 20th anniversary of their debut Southernplayalisticadillacamuzik, the music community at large completely lost their shit. And then when they were announced as headliners for Electric Picnic, I think it’s safe to say that many of us at Belfield FM lost our shit again (quite frustrating really as it taken us forever to find it after the first announcement). Perhaps the most original, entertaining, and creative Hip Hop groups of the last 20 years, the duo of Big Boi and Andre 3000 taking to the main stage on an as yet undetermined day (although realistically it’ll definitely be the Sunday) with what is sure to be an energy packed set of past classics? I think we were more overjoyed than the day we were allowed to swear on air again.
Judging from their setlists from shows they’ve already played this summer, we’re sure to see cuts from all of their 6 varied and consistently brilliant albums. From the high energy ‘B.O.B’, to the spaced out psychedelia of ‘Aquemini’, the Southern-fried hip-hop of ‘ATLiens’ to their earliest hit, the laid back ‘Player’s Ball’, Outkast have a wealth of tracks at their disposal to draw in the crowds at Stradbally. And yes, ‘Roses’ and ‘Hey Ya’ are going to draw in the masses as 2 of the strongest pop tracks of the last decade look set to bring the entire festival to a joyous sing along climax, but if you don’t know ‘Rosa Parks’ from ‘Ms Jackson’, remember that this is a band with more than one album, and there’s still a month for you to explore one of the strongest back catalogues in Hip-Hop history (and where better than this playlist I made during my stint as host of The Alternative Lunch on this very station, which you can find right here.
For fans it is a shame that Outkast have been so quiet since the relatively underwhelming film/album combo ‘Idlewild’ in 2006. While Big Boi has been producing consistently excellent hip-hop as a solo artist and Andre 3000 has stayed relevant with a string of guest appearances on Gorillaz and Frank Ocean tracks (as well as playing Jimi Hendrix in the upcoming biopic ‘All Is By My Side’), what makes the reunion so exciting is that the duo work much stronger together than apart, Big Boi’s tough gangster persona perfectly complementing the hyperactive sex-obsessed odd ball Andre 3000. Even after such a long hiatus, reports from festivals such as Coachella and Lollapalooza suggest that this is half hearted cynical attempt to cash in (no Eagles reunion be this), and that the duo are delighted to be back rapping together and wooing crowds to the ways of their Southern Fried Hip-Hop. If anything, EP being at the end of the summer means attendees will likely get one of the strongest performances out of the Atlanta band as they’ve had all summer to perfect their set.
Are there any surprises we can expect? Well other than the as usual bonkers outfits worn by Andre (my personal favourite is a turban, ice hockey jersey and short shorts combo), I have a hunch that with Kelis also on the bill for the 3 day festival, the queen of milkshakes herself may join the band onstage to perform her guest vocal on perhaps the silliest (but also awesome) track from The Love Below ‘Dracula’s Wedding’. Of course this is mere baseless speculation and supposition (unlike my opinion that despite what the chorus of ‘Roses’ my tell us, the toilets of EP will leave no-one arguing the fact that our shit does indeed stank), but one thing we can say for certain is Outkast are likely to be one of the best sets of Electric Picnic 2014.
Tickets for Electric Picnic (29th-31st August) are available now from Ticketmaster priced at €229.50