Saturday, August 22, 2009

Comeback #1: Either Wish Me Well, Go to Hell, or Go to Yale

I'mma start a series on here chronicling Andre 3000's rise from the ashes in hip hop. Now while I personally never felt his eternal emceeing presence leave, a lot of heads kinda got sideways about the dude after he released his half of Speakerboxx/The Love Below. He did go off heavy on a Prince tip with his singing and outrageous musicality on that diamond-selling album. But maybe I was the only one who noticed that beyond all of the catchy pop brashness of most of his tracks, Three Stacks finished the album on an incredibly raw rapping opus in "A Life in the Day of Benjamin Andre". But I'll save that for a flashback installment in this series at a later time.

Regardless, that album was released in 2003 and OutKast hit their astronomical peak as the single most versatile and accessible rap act of any and all time. I mean, white people were at least accepting of the style of music a little bit once Aerosmith gave Run-D.M.C. their nod of approval and Vanilla Ice came on the scene, but OutKast finally blew the whole thing off the roof. Eminem always sold big numbers, but parents still weren't accepting of his violent, mysogynistic, drug-riddled, or cultish lyrical themes. No one of any age was offended though by the joyous "Hey Ya", no matter if Andre didn't want to meet your momma. A funny thing happened after that glorious rise to public prominence, though. Andre stopped performing and the group seemingly had unofficially disbanded or altogether disappeared ...

Well, at least Big Boi kept himself noticeable a little bit by appearing on a number of mainstream singles, but Andre seemed content to let his musical genius rest on the laurels of two Gwen Stefani cuts and a couple singing features on tracks that were never even formally released. Had every southern hip hop fan's posterchild and inspiration for all things progressive and successful just become bored with his art? Everyone understood that he had balanced a crazy tightrope when he attempted to maintain artistic integrity yet appeal to the greatest common denominator of all radio play, but no one knew if he even cared about hip hop anymore. He even dropped little quotes here and there about how he didn't wanna be that guy in the industry who was still rapping when he was forty. And while that's kinda understandable, it still wasn't fair! Hip hop needed Andre 3000. We'd almost taken him for granted since OutKast burst on the scene in 1994. Now, over ten years later and counting, we needed Andre 3000.

Thankfully, he eventually entertained our cries. In the middle of 2006, seemingly lightyears from their last album, word had come out that Andre had taken just enough time out of his vegetarian/movie star schedule to create a soundtrack with Big Boi to an HBO-sponsored film that would star none other than both of the two dope boyz (in a Cadillac). And before we knew it, this Idlewild production would spawn the single that would immediately launch 3000 back into the consciousness of every hip hop head who was still willing to listen. The first of three different rap-laced verses from him on the soundtrack was the powerful "Mighty O". In this song, Dre not only gifted us with a return-to-his-roots linguistic dissection, he gifted us with 28 bars of a return-to-his-roots linguistic dissection. And for that, we were thankful. Little did we know this was only the first stop on a hip hop tour of world domination, with each and every vocal new bar lending a little more insight into the genius of a man that is from a time still 991 years ahead of the current ...

OutKast - The Mighty "O"

You ain't a hater? Can't tell
Either wish me well, go to hell, or go to Yale
Study human behavior so that you know who the hell
You dealing with ain't nutty but the study gon' unvail
My relative in jail (Ha) stay engaged
To whatever make money now he married to that cage
Divorce is not an option and prenuptial is void
Eat up whatever after but I'm tangled in my cord
(Huh) Bored, kind of like a night with the sword
Without dragon to battle, so I'm running from a shadow
An immpossible feat and I repeat
An immpossible feat and I repeat, an immpossible feat and I repeat
The damsel's in distress but they a mess
They only like my armor, and that I'm a performer
They read one magazine and wanna think they gettin warmer
They only getting colder, hell, maybe I should throw a
Double diamond party in the north pole
Invite all the writers and journalists, even biters will tournament
To see who can be me better than me, it's a permanent
Smile on my face because you say you don't like my style
But that's ok, but just make sure you don't touch that dial
And we'll be cool, touch it and you's a fool
Look, I'll get ya hooked, y'all crooks might even move
To Atlanta, Georgia, get a wife and daughter
Start a new life, and all that wrong you do you make it right
But hell, all a dream, I wear the crown I'm king
Respect is mandatory, end of the story, go fly a kite
Category? Ain't got none. You know I'm right

... but do take my word for it.

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