Picks and Pans Review: OutKast

updated 08/28/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/28/2006 01:00AM

Idlewild
REVIEWED BY CHUCK ARNOLD
CRITIC'S CHOICE
HIP-HOP

For sheer ambition, it would be hard to top OutKast's last effort, the eclectic and electric double CD Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which won 2003's album of the year Grammy and had everyone from Atlanta to Alaska shaking it like a Polaroid picture. Idlewild, the soundtrack to OutKast's new movie musical set in the Prohibition Era, finds André 3000 and Big Boi continuing as hip-hop's deliciously outré duo. Who else would think of doing a Cab Calloway-style call-and-response in a rap song? Which is exactly what they do on "Mighty 'O'," this disc's rousing first single. They ingeniously incorporate period sounds—a bit of blues here, a touch of jazz there—throughout Idlewild, while employing the talents of film costars like Macy Gray. Performing separately and together, each has his moments: Big Boi on the Earth, Wind & Fire-esque "In Your Dreams," Dré on "Idlewild Blue (Don'tchu Worry 'Bout Me)," which funkily riffs off the Stevie Wonder classic "Higher Ground."

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DOWNLOAD THIS: "In Your Dreams"

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