Picks and Pans Review: Stankonia
Until this critically acclaimed CD was released to great fanfare last month, the Atlanta-based duo of Big Boi (real name: Antwan Patton) and Andre 3000 (Andre Benjamin) was best known for a fresh but unremarkable dance-party sound and a controversy: They were sued by civil rights heroine Rosa Parks, who objected to their 1998 hit single bearing her name. (A federal judge later dismissed the suit, citing the group's right of free speech.) Steadily, over the course of three albums, OutKast has progressed far beyond its old good-time sound. Now, with the loud, enjoyable Stankonia, the pair collaborating with members of the Atlanta hip-hop group Goodie Mob) has hit full stride. Whether begging forgiveness from the in-laws on the doo-wop flavored "Ms. Jackson" or creating a near cacophony of beats and bombast ("B.O.B."), OutKast fuses greasy funk, electronica, art rock, screaming guitars and the cushiony beats of the southern hip-hop style called bounce. The result is exhilarating.
Bottom Line: Fierce, funky and fine