For Outkast and hip-hop fans alike, last night at Coachella marked one of those certain magical moments in music that will forever be implanted into the infinite pages of the hip-hop history books. For the first time in over ten years, Andre 3000 and Big Boi unified as Outkast, in its original form, performing over ninety-minutes worth of classic music from their timeless catalogue.
Hitting the stage at 11:30pm, the ATLiens launched their monumental and much-anticipated performance by unleashing their most aggressively electrifying track, ‘B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)’, igniting the concert-goers into an absolute frenzy. Backed by a live band, which was exquisite considering the amount of horns and heavy bass littered throughout their discography, the duo followed up their intro with a barrage of immortal tracks (ATLiens, Skew It On The Bar-B, Rosa Parks, Da Art Of Storytellin’ Pt. 1, Aquemini, SpottieOttieDopaliscious) from their earlier albums.
Throughout the duration of what is quite possibly their most significant track of all-time, Aquemini, Big Boi and Andre paced around a small wooden kitchen table placed in the center of the stage. Big Boi stopped in the middle of the song to disclose the meaning behind the irregular prop. He conveyed, “Yo, Y’all are probably wondering like what are they doing walking around in circles, right? So when we first started out, we used to write our raps and then in my auntie’s kitchen we used to walk around the table just reciting our raps so we could get sharp with it, ya dig me? CAN YOU FEEL THAT??!”
With a little added nostalgia to the already emotional reunion, it was evident that the charismatic duo was back in full force with an unassailable chemistry that hadn’t been witnessed in over a decade.
The duo then spent some time tackling their solo records, as Andre stepped off the stage for a bit and let Big Boi go unassisted to the tune of Bowtie, Shutterbug, Ghetto Musik, and Kryptonite. With help from Dungeon Family’s Sleepy Brown, Big Boi set the platform for Andre to return to the stage and indulge in what was truly some of the most captivating and historic live content a hip-hop filtered stage has ever been graced with. Andre, who had never before in this capacity performed tracks from The Love Below, spent fifteen minutes alone on stage carrying out a scenario that Outkast fans had been yearning for since the album dropped in 2003. In what was seemingly a surreal span of time for any Andre enthusiast, Three Stacks fervidly performed four tracks (Vibrate, She Lives In My Lap, Prototype, Behold A Lady) before bringing Daddy Fat Sax back out to re-link on one of their biggest mainstream hits, Roses.
They then brought out Atlanta based rapper, Future, who has blood ties to The Dungeon Family. In what was probably the only aspect of the ninety-minute performance that should have been bypassed (because of eventual time-constraints), Future, with help from Outkast, performed three tracks in promotion of his new album. After Future wrapped up his brief appearance, the ATLiens got right back to business rounding out the memorable night with some more classic tracks in, Elevators, Ms. Jackson, So Fresh, So Clean, The Way You Move, and finishing the night with the emphatic and well-known, Hey Ya!
As the clock approached 1 a.m., Outkast was ready to wrap up their reunion with what we can only assume was a few more distinguished tracks, but in abrupt fashion, Coachella was forced to abide by strict ordinance rules and cut the duo’s music off at 1:00 am on the dot. To the festival’s disdain, Outkast brought out Killer Mike anyways in hopes of performing “The Whole World”, but the Coachella organizers weren’t having it. The fines for going past certain alloted times are beyond our comprehension, and while both Outkast and America were deflated by the blunt ending, there is no real blame to be placed on the festival, as ‘Kast knew what they were working with.
Should Outkast have more efficiently planned out and timed their performance? Sure. But that minor misstep comes with the territory of performing for the first time in over ten years. Any artist or group is undoubtedly going to have a good amount of hiccups and unpolished execution in the same scenario on such a large platform. If you combed through your various social media networks, post-performance, or even this morning, it was plentiful with antagonists who were handing out negative assessments, disapproval, and uneducated speculation on Outkast’s performance as a whole.
Sometimes beauty doesn’t need to be dissected or assessed, though. Sometimes, it’s the simplest of concepts that make the most sense. And what the backseat critics don’t understand or see through their cynical and clouded vision, is just that. For the first time in ten years, one of the most important, ground-breaking, and creatively superhuman hip-hop groups of all time, is officially back.
You take the bad with the good in instances like this. Actually, you don’t just take the bad, you embrace it.
The ATLiens have returned to this planet.
Take advantage of this moment, because there might not be another soon. Hold on to the memories, like roller coaster handlebars.
(Check the setlist, and watch Outkast’s performance in its entirety below)
Skew It on the Bar-B
Da Art of Storytellin’, Part 1
SpottieOttieDopaliscious (w/ Sleepy Brown)
Bowtie (w/ Sleepy Brown)
Tightrope (w/ Janelle Monáe)
Kryptonite (I’m on It)
She Lives in My Lap
Behold a Lady
Same Damn Time (w/ Future)
Ain’t No Way Around It (w/ Future)
Benz Friends (Whatchutola) (w/ Future)
Elevators (Me & You)
So Fresh, So Clean (w/ Sleepy Brown)
The Way You Move (w/ Sleepy Brown)