Results for Outkast

interviews

L.A. Reid

lareidcoachella TLC, Mariah Carey, Pink, Justin Bieber, Outkast, Usher, Whitney Houston, Jay-Z, Kanye West…you name the pop star, and chances are he or she has worked with this week's guest, Antonio“L.A.”Reid. While he began as a drummer in the R&B group The Deele, it's really behind-the-scenes that L.A. has made the most awesome noise—first, as a songwriter/producer with Babyface in the 1980s and 1990s, then as a record exec at LaFace, Arista, Island Def Jam and now Epic Records.

L.A. shares his insights into what makes a great pop song, great (melody, hooks, emotion and the ability to sound good, even with a pillow over it) and some of his biggest professional triumphs (signing“the Beast”Rihanna, coaching Kanye West) and failures (Lady Gaga…the one that got away). He's also not afraid to get candid about music industry sacred cows, whether it's Michael Jackson or major labels themselves.

Go to episode 542

Jeff Chang

Jeff Chang, author of Can‘t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation, joins Jim and Greg in the studio this week. Jeff, who co-founded the Quannum Label in San Francisco, was on the show previously when his book first came out, and he and our hosts engaged in a discussion of hip-hop's history. Now that Jeff's book has come out on paperback, Jim and Greg welcome him back to the show to discuss where hip-hop is today and where it is going. In order to get a sense of hip-hop's diverse makeup, the three music journalists decide to embark on a geographical tour of the genre, beginning with Chicago and working their way through the United States, and even the U.K.

Go to episode 15
specials

MTV's Silver Anniversary

MTV turns 25 this week. To celebrate (or perhaps mourn), Jim and Greg discuss the station's impact on the music industry. To kick off the dissection, Sound Opinions surveys the opinions of festivalgoers at Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival.

Go to episode 36

Turkey Shoot 2006

Every Thanksgiving, Jim and Greg like to get out and shoot some turkeys. But don‘t worry — these turkeys deserve to die. This year’s nominees for most disappointing album are:

Go to episode 52
reviews
Idlewild

Outkast Idlewild

In the news this week is the release of one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year: Outkast's Idlewild. This is the sixth album from André Benjamin (André 3000) and Antwan Patton (Big Boi), a hip-hop duo who have become major figures in pop music, as well as pop culture. 2003's double concept album Speakerboxx/The Love Below received huge amounts of critical acclaim, as well a Grammy Award for "Album of the Year," and singles like "Bombs Over Baghdad," "Rosa Parks," and "Hey Ya," will go down as some of music's best. So Jim and Greg anxiously awaited this release, which is paired with a film of the same name. Unfortunately, they both had to announce that this is one of the biggest disappointments of the year—and André may be to blame. The melding of his experimental style with Big Boi's more classic hip-hop sound is what made Outkast great, but he seems to have really left the building on this one. Jim and Greg wish the record was less about unnecessary guest stars, faux 1930s inspiration, and eccentricity for eccentricity's sake, and more about good songs. This double album gets a heartbreaking double Trash It. (Outkast fans would be better off checking out Big Boi's recent mixtape, Got Purp? Vol 2.)

JimGreg
Go to episode 38
Sir Lucious Left Foot... The Son of Chico Dusty (Deluxe Edition)Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty available on iTunes

Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

Outkast rapper Big Boi has released his first solo album called…wait for it… Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. Big Boi is often thought of as the more down to earth of the two Atlanta hip hop artists, but both Jim and Greg think the record is very inventive and ambitious. Greg does miss Andre 3000's presence, and thinks the two make each other better. But overall, Sir Lucious Left Foot is full of great beats and oddball touches and gets a Buy It rating. Jim agrees and was pleasantly surprised to hear these tracks, especially after all the torture that went into making it. It has a tad too many vulgar and juvenile lyrics, but he still thinks listeners should Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 242
Vicious Lies and Dangerous RumorsVicious Lies & Dangerous Rumours available on iTunes

Big Boi Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumours

We may not have heard new Outkast since 2006's Idlewild, but one-half of that groundbreaking Atlanta hip hop duo has a new record out. Big Boi's first solo album, Sir Lucious Leftfoot…The Son of Chico Dusty, came out in 2010 to positive reviews. Now he's followed it up with Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumours. How does the new record stack up? Well Jim calls it“hip-hop at its best.”Big Boi's been playing the rock festival circuit and he's nothing if not ambitious with his collaborations on Vicious Lies. Everyone from indie band Wavves to more traditional hip-hop guest Kid Cudi makes an appearance on this record. For Jim, the songs succeed or fail on the strength of the guest, which makes this only a Try It album. Greg agrees. Big Boi's solo records mostly remind him of how much he misses Outkast. Can't those two guys get back together already? Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumours gets a double Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 371
R.A.P. MusicR.A.P. Music. available on iTunes

Killer Mike R.A.P. Music.

Killer Mike made his debut with a great cameo on the 2000 Outkast record Stankonia. Now he's released his 6th album called R.A.P. Music. Jim admits this is a "gangsta rap" record, but it manages to rise above all the clichés you associate with that. Killer Mike goes back to black music's earliest influences, and his belief in the power of music is nothing short of inspirational. Greg agrees, calling R.A.P. Music a hip hop classic. He and producer El-P are celebrating hardcore rap, while spanning a huge range in terms of subject matter and sound. Killer Mike gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 339
Sorry to Bother YouSorry to Bother You available on iTunes

The Coup Sorry to Bother You

Jim and Greg have their fingers crossed that Sorry to Bother You, the sixth album from Oakland-based hip-hop group The Coup, isn't a turkey. This band has been making consistently good agit-rap records since 1991, Greg says, but they remain best known for an unfortunate incident involving their cover art. Does the band deliver on Sorry to Bother You? Jim says yes. He wouldn't blame you for mistaking "The Magic Clap" for a new OutKast party anthem. The Coup has verged dangerously close to Rage Against the Machine self-righteousness in the past, he says, but on Sorry to Bother You, the band's got the“party to politics”ratio just right. Greg agrees and calls it the best Coup album yet. Sorry to Bother You gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 364
dijs

Greg

“Strange Fruit”Billie Holiday

Both of the albums reviewed this week claim to draw inspiration from the music of the '30s and '40s, though Greg isn't quite sure what music Outkast and Christina Aguilera are hearing. He decides to step away from their rather cartoony depictions of the era and put some of the real thing into the Desert Island Jukebox this week. "Strange Fruit," by Billie Holiday has exactly the authentic sound these contemporary artists should be striving for. The song began as a poem that Jewish schoolteacher Abel Meeropol wrote after witnessing a photograph of a man being lynched in the South. (Meerepol is also known for having adopted the orphaned children of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg). The writer brought the song to Holiday at one of New York's only integrated night clubs, but Holiday's label refused to record the song. Still, the singer insisted on performing it and brought it to a specialty label instead. While the song became an anthem for the anti-lynching movement and is thought of as one of the great protest songs of the century, Greg wants listeners to pay attention to the performance. Holiday certainly had the chops to trill as well as any pop diva, yet she restrains herself, opting instead for a more understated tone — which makes the lyrics all the more more chilling. Not only can Holiday sing, but she knows how to sing. For this reason, Greg is going to take "Strange Fruit" to the Desert Island.

Go to episode 38
lists

Halloween Monster Songs

Every Halloween Jim and Greg like to celebrate with music. And this year they focused on monsters. From vampires to werewolves to Jim's favorite, zombies, here are a selection of tunes for your next monster bash.

Go to episode 361

The Best Songs of the Millennium - Mixtapes

Jim and Greg like to end every year with a good old-fashioned mixtape (presented as a new-fashioned mp3 stream). But this year they decided to go even further and compile their favorite songs of the entire decade. They pick highlights to play during this episode, and their entire playlists are below. You can also stream their full mixtapes:

Go to episode 214

Apology Songs

There are a lot of ways to say“I'm sorry,”but what better method than through song. Jim, Greg and a few listeners share their favorite apology tracks.

Go to episode 581
rock doctors

Pat

In the HMO-free universe of the Rock Doctors, everyone is entitled to better musical health. This week's patient is Pat from Chicago, IL. Pat wrote to Sound Opinions H.Q. for advice on how to get better acquainted with hip hop, and we immediately set her up for an appointment with Drs. Kot and DeRogatis. Pat explains that she's generally fairly hip to music, preferring doses of Bob Dylan, Wilco and Galaxie 500. But when it comes to hip hop, she's clueless, and in an effort to expand her musical horizons and have some music in common with her rap-loving nephews, she asks for some guidance.

Greg gives the first prescription. He's not sure if his approach will be too radical, but judging from Pat's tastes, he decides to go out on a limb. He recommends the patient listen to Outkast's fourth album Stankonia. Greg admits to Pat that some moments might be slightly too "gangsta" or misogynistic for her, but he hopes that the first-rate songwriting and bold beats of tracks like "Ms. Jackson" will win her over.

Jim's prescription is 3 Feet High and Rising, the classic hip hop album by De La Soul. Jim thinks Pat will respond well to the creative stories being told by the three geeky hippies from Long Island. He also thinks she will appreciate some of the more recognizable samples, like Hall and Oates' song "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)."

A week later Pat finishes her treatment and reports back to the doctors. She starts off by breaking the bad news to Greg: Stankonia is not for her. She felt there were too many misogynistic moments like the song, "We Luv Deez Hoez," and wouldn‘t feel comfortable sharing this album with her nephews. But, on the brighter side, she really enjoyed the De La Soul album. It’s definitely something she could see herself listening to in the future, and she particularly liked the song, "Eye Know," which samples both Steely Dan and Otis Redding. So, while the treatment wasn't a total success, Pat is on the road to better musical health. And, more importantly, she now has more hip bragging rights with her friends.

Go to episode 90
features

SXSW '06

This week on the show, Jim and Greg share their recent experiences at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. Our hosts joined over 10,000 other festival registrants to attend music industry panels, conduct interviews, and most importantly, see new bands. In the four days they were there, Jim and Greg heard a lot of music. They share some of the best with you.

  • First is The Dresden Dolls. Jim went to see the Boston group and fell in love with their blend of German cabaret performance style and '80s synth-pop melodies. You can hear a little bit of "Modern Moonlight" off their upcoming release, Yes Virginia.

  • Next up, Greg discusses one his finds: Art Brut. He enjoyed this British band's straightforward melodies, catchy choruses, and witty monologues so much that he saw them twice in Austin. This critic even scrawled“New Kings of Rock”in his notebook following one performance. Jim joined him to see the band at the Pitchfork/Windish party, where they shared a bill with RJD2, Spank Rock, and one of Greg's other discoveries, Swedish indie pop quintet Love is All. Art Brut, who just recently played a sold-out show at the Metro, entertained the entire staff so much that they were invited to appear on the show the week after the festival wrapped. Listen for that interview in the weeks to come.

Beastie Boys at SXSW 2006

  • In between running from show to show, Jim and Greg took a brief moment to sit down with The Beastie Boys. The hip-hop pioneers were down in Austin to promote their recent concert film, Awesome; I Fucking Shot That, and spoke to Jim and Greg about making the movie, sampling, copyright laws, and the longevity of their career.

  • Back to the rundown of our hosts‘ favorite Austin discoveries. Jim’s next pick, The Black Angels, actually hails from the Texas state capital. After reading Jim's book on psychedelic rock, members of the band contacted him and explained that they were right up his alley. They were right. Jim, who caught some of the dark, Velvet Underground-influenced music in the sterile environment of Austin Convention Center, was totally blown away. To describe the band, he quotes their website which begs the listener to "Picture a red moonlit night, deep in the heart of Texas, with the ghosts of Nico and Timothy Leary being called back from the dead to guide you on a journey through Heaven & Hell and back again." Whoa, man…

  • Greg loves coming to Austin to see bands that may not get to the States otherwise. One such band is Serena Maneesh. The Norwegian group is one of many contemporary bands compared to My Bloody Valentine. Often referred to as“shoegazers,”these musicians are often literally standing, staring at their shoes, while producing a heavy, overdriven, almost symphonic guitar sound. Serena Maneesh is certainly channeling this influence — however, as Greg explains, this band is also quite performative. Our host describes how the lead guitar player, theatrically dressed as a gypsy showman, was joined by an“Amazonian”bass player. Only during SXSW can you see this in Texas, notes Jim.

Tim Fite at SXSW 2006

  • We next hear some audio of Jim recorded down in Austin. He is describing one of his favorite acts: Tim Fite. Some may remember Fite's previous incarnation in Little T and One Track Mic and their one hit, "Shaniqua." But after getting signed to Atlantic and touring with Outkast, Little T went nowhere. Now, Fite has reinvented himself as a 1920s southern preacher/rapper who combines an O Brother, Where Art Thou? sound with irreverent lyrics and hip-hop. Gone Ain't Gone is forthcoming on Anti-/Epitaph, making Fite label mates with Neko Case and Blackalicious.

  • The Swedish band Love is All (mentioned above) is another of Greg's discoveries. This Swedish indie-pop group is one of many European bands who are rediscovering American music. This band is particularly influenced by musicians like James Chance and the Contortions and Lydia Lunch who fused both jazz and punk. Love is All became Greg's go-to CD while he was driving around the city of Austin.

  • Listeners can now hear what Jim and Greg really sound like at SXSW: definitely over-tired, and perhaps over-served. Our hosts caught up with Sound Opinions H.Q. immediately after going to see Rhys Chatham at Austin's Central Presbyterian Church, an experience they described as slightly mind-blowing. The avant-garde guitarist has basically been living in exile in Paris for the past decade, but emerged in Austin with a newly-formed guitar army: eight guitarists including Doug McCombs of Eleventh Dream Day and Tortoise, Ernie Brooks of The Modern Lovers and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. Jim reports that Chatham recently received a grant allowing him to realize his long-fantasized 100-member guitar ensemble.

  • One of the SXSW events Greg always tries to attend is Alejandro Escovedo's Sunday night show. This year Grady was one of the opening acts. Greg found their huge, overpowering sound on par with that of Chatham's guitar army. He also compares their sound to that of ZZ Top's early days. Listen for yourself as Greg plays a sample of their 2004 release Y.U. So Shady?

  • White Whale is Jim's final discovery. He caught the band at the Merge showcase, a label that usually delivers for this critic. He was again not disappointed. White Whale, whose members have been in a number of other indie rock bands including Butterglory, Three Higher Burning Fire and The Get Up Kids, impressed Jim with more than just its name. He found their sound to be a mix of Nick Drake and Pink Floyd, and also reminiscent of Elephant Six bands like Apples in Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel. So far their music can only be heard on Myspace.com, but White Whale may turn out to be another SXSW success story.

  • Greg's final pick is a band called Katahdin's Edge. He caught the group after originally trying to see a Finnish band who couldn‘t make it into the country. He was blown away, and despite getting thousands of free CDs for his day job, Greg was compelled to put down his own money for a Katahdin’s Edge album. This trio from Providence is an example of how jazz and rock can fuse in a great way. Rather than take an academic approach to jazz, Katahdin's Edge had a rock and roll, party edge that Greg really appreciated.

  • Greg was also caught on tape before and after seeing the biggest hype of this year's festival: The Arctic Monkeys. This has been quite the year for the young British band. In January they broke records for first-week sales in the U.K. with their debut release Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. In addition, they‘ve been proclaimed by many in the press as the greatest band to emerge from the U.K. in years. That’s a lot for a new band to live up to, but Greg was pleased with what he saw. While the Arctic Monkeys may not be what their hype claims, the music was well-rehearsed, packed with rhythm, and downright“ferocious”according to our host. Plus, the lead singer already seems to have the rock and roll attitude down.

Go to episode 18
news

Music News

With the release of Nielsen's SoundScan year-end sales figures for 2013, Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines has officially been crowned the top-selling single of the year with 6.5 million units. Hot on Thicke's heels were Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' Thrift Shop and Imagine Dragons' Radioactive with 6.15 million and 5.5 million respectively. Turning to albums, Justin Timberlake claimed the top spot with 2.43 million copies of The 20/20 Experience sold. Though, Jim and Greg note that the album's numbers happen to be the lowest sales for a #1 record in Nielsen history.

The report also revealed other interesting trends in the music industry. Vinyl record enthusiasts continued to show the love for LPs in 2013 with sales up 33% over the year before. People loved streaming their music, as well, but digital sales were down 6%. This has Jim and Greg wondering: is the stream going to kill the download?

Speaking of death and downloads… Last week, Jim and Greg reported the loss of pioneering country rocker Phil Everly. Apparently they weren‘t the only ones mourning. In the week after Phil’s passing, fans downloaded 18,000 Everly Brothers songs, a whopping 696% increase from the previous week. Dying, it turns out, can be a great career move.

Coachella Music Festival has released its full 2014 lineup. In addition to top headliners Arcade Fire, Muse, and OutKast (who are reuniting for the first time since 2007), the desert super-show will feature Girl Talk, Lana Del Rey, Motörhead, Lorde, plus two bonus reunions: The Replacements and Neutral Milk Hotel.

In other live music news, the NFL has beefed up its plans for the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show. Just in case main act Bruno Mars wasn‘t enough to satisfy America’s burning need for overhyped pop spectacle, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be joining him onstage. What a combination, Greg laments.

If the Nielsen numbers were any sign, streaming music is here to stay. And now another big player is hoping to break into that (already crowded) market: Beats Music. Spearheaded by Dr. Dre, Trent Reznor, and record exec Jimmy Iovine, the new streaming service aims to offer a more curated listening experience than its competitors. Rather than using algorithms to help users find music, Beats will rely on experts from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone—and your esteemed Sound Opinions hosts! But Jim and Greg wanted to know how the service compensates artists and labels, something for which Spotify and Pandora have taken flak. CEO Ian Rogers explains that because Beats Music won‘t be available for free, the company will pay extra for each song streamed. With the majority of every subscription fee going toward giving rights holders their fair share, Rogers says that what’s good for Beats Music is good for the industry.

Go to episode 425

Music News

Hard to believe, but The Beatles are so old that some of their music is now entering public domain in Europe. While a law is in place to extend copyrights in the E.U. from 50 to 70 years, that won't go into effect until 2014. That means that as of New Year's Eve 2012, early tracks like "Love Me Do" are up for grabs. Early tracks by Bob Dylan, however, have recently been protected. In order to avoid its catalog going into public domain, Sony Music has taken advantage of the law's“use it or lose it”clause. They released a compilation aptly titled, The 50th Anniversary Collection: The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. 1. It's only available in certain European countries though, so American Dylan fans will have to be willing to pay big bucks on eBay.

This is typically the dry season for major album releases, but there have been a lot of buzzworthy singles. Jim and Greg run through some of the big ones. They never thought they'd utter the words "new David Bowie track," but we've got one called "Where Are We Now," with a Tony Visconti-produced album to follow. Then there's JT's new chart-topper "Suit and Tie." A couple of weeks ago Jim and Greg made a plea for the gentleman of Outkast to come back together, and now we have both Big Boi and Andre 3000 appearing on a remix of Frank Ocean's "Pink Matter." But, Andre is quick to squash any reunion rumors. Last, but not least, are the ladies of Destiny's Child. There's a new song called "Nuclear" and plans for the three to appear together during the Superbowl Halftime Show. Guess motherhood has made Beyonce nostalgic.

Go to episode 373