The 10 Best OutKast Songs

In roughly the early 1900s, painting dissolved into abstraction and appropriation, and artists working since then have veered away from realism. As modern life splintered and proliferated, popular music rushed to catch up to the visual arts, first with the advances of jazz and then with those of its contemporary offspring, hip hop. While a stickler might argue that sampling, improvising, and making mixtapes (as opposed to more formal LPs) is more in the rhythm of modern life, OutKast doesn’t buy that.

OutKast have never culled “a little bit of this, a little bit of that.” From the lush studio instrumentation (first pioneered in Southern rap by their producers, Organized Noize) to the committed, heretical shamelessness of their beats, Andre 3000 and Big Boi have always explored music-making unapologetically, at the risk of radically revising their sound despite its positive reception. They stand always in direct opposition to the cooler, jazzier achievements of their peers on the East Coast, who rarely themselves sang, played an instrument, or spoke of emotional attachment in a deep, intelligent way.

And so they have come very far with a wild, unpopular model of producing music, so much so that certain OutKast fans only know an album or two well. Your cape-and-cane Aquemini aficionado might want to slow down the frenetic gun battle that is Stankonia. The Top 40-lovers who know exactly what you shake it like during “Hey Ya” often do not recognize the OutKast of “Player’s Ball” (It warranted a Sean Combs video in its day.) Ladies who lilt at Love Below pillow talk may visibly cringe at the interplanetary soundscapes of ATLiens.

A 2003 review characterized Atlanta as the “hip-hop id to New York’s ego.” Accordingly these transformations, rather than simply signaling conceptual turns in music-making, serve as foundations to OutKast’s understanding of what real love can be. Rap, particularly from the South, plays host to masculine bravado more often than not. R&B, on the other hand, celebrates seduction and the interplay between vulnerability and strength. As OutKast grew closer to uniting the two, their depictions of lovers changed from the “hos” mindlessly populating Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik to the emasculating, problematic bedmate of “Where Are My Panties?” on The Love Below. While particular genres might dramatize romance at the behest of an available mood, OutKast has grown and grown and grown beyond that, into a level of hardness that is actually quite sad: one that rejects the possibility of love, yet bows to every move of the opposite sex. Of the songs that aren’t just lyrical or dance floor victories, most grasp at dreams destroyed: not waiting for intimacy, but after it. Apologies, disavowals, partings, epiphanies, infidelities, and deviancies crowd OutKast’s lyrics.

Apparent even on Frank Ocean’s fresh “Pink Matter” remix, on which both Andre and Big Boi rap, they did not fall into the realization together. Though Big Boi has remained the more prolific of the two, it’s still clear that he did not absorb the sensuality — the heart — of Andre’s leaps forward on The Love Below and Idlewild.

For a super-close duo who have not reunited on a track of their own in seven years, the question is clear: “If what they say is, ’Nothing is forever,’/ then what makes love the exception?” The brazen self-assurance of their music remained until their last real collaboration, 2006′s Idlewild. But in its sad, stuck, recurring harmonies, it had become what it remains in Big Boi’s work now: hard — not just any will, but the determination that gets you out of bed after a breakup, or on the dance floor without a date. That fierce, false insistence that alone, you are enough.

Considering the depth of OutKast’s catalog, cherrypicking 10 songs is something of a masochistic endeavor, mitigated only by the sheer pleasure of immersing oneself in all that amazing music in order to make such decisions with authority and confidence. Even then, we’re sure to disagree. So what follows is one longtime fan’s opinion. Let’s hear yours in the comments.

10. “N2U” (from Idlewild, 2006)

On an album that tastes overdone where the rest of OutKast bleeds rare (or at least medium-rare), “N2U” shines, and simply. There’s very little to say about it, which is in large part why it stands out. Though Idlewild, a quasi-soundtrack to the duo’s film of the same name, champions studio mastery at a level unexplored by the group, it splashes too happily through an ocean of studio sound effects, employing delectable drum samples, marching bands, and a symphony of special guests. It does not avoid borrowing from the sorts of old-timey music you might hear at a wedding, for example.

“N2U” is none of that. It’s got the naked brutality of R&B: palm-muted guitars, a chorus that — true to its sexuality — floats on just drums and bass, and a plethora of sex-hortations toward the bedroom. It flutters down with ’60s baroque pop harmonies reminiscent of the Beatles and then takes a quick dive to sultriness. OutKast is up to some of its funkiest, sexiest moves on “N2U,” all hushed and sassy; it becomes delightfully obvious they mean the preposition “into,” not the idiom.

9. “Decatur Psalm” (from ATLiens, 1996)

OutKast’s sophomore album takes them to another gangsta planet, where they sketch their native Atlanta as another world (ATL + aliens) where drug dealers and rappers cruise from dubbed-out locale to dubbed-out locale. Though much has been made of the racial undertones associated with alienhood, ATLiens sounds more immediately like a rumination on the South. Particularly with the era’s focus on rap from the East and West coasts, OutKast became one of the first groups to stridently attempt a Southern sound.

Andre and Big Boi have scattered fish and grits, Cadillacs, and East Point big-ups through all of their lyrics, and the production even in 1996 favored the crisp high registers, gun-like snare pops, and ubiquitous bass drum bumps that would defy the cool sparseness of New York hip-hop.

On “Decatur Psalm,” OutKast makes the mistake that most rap groups do at some point in their career, usually with supremely cheeseball results — they present a song that focuses on a fairly concrete narrative, rather than experimenting with themes that might stylistically sound good. Occasionally, however, the result can be wonderful and complex: the Beastie Boys’ “Paul Revere,” A Tribe Called Quest’s “I Left My Wallet In El Segundo,” and De La Soul’s “Jenifa Taught Me” all exceed the limitations of a storytelling structure, and “Decatur Psalm” doesn’t falter as it draws from gospel and the Commodores to evoke a Southern dirge.

The magic is in the conversations. Guests Cool Breeze and Big Gipp radio back and forth with Big Boi about a drug deal violently busted by the feds (Bill Clinton is hilariously “Bill Clampett,” it seems), but each rapper is careful to weave icons of Southernness throughout. They hide from the Red Dog Unit (a now disbanded paramilitary division of the Atlanta Police Department), buy a second Cadillac Fleetwood, and vow never to give in, “till that big girl from Decatur sing.”

OutKast and co. tell the story by overlapping sentences and rephrasing thoughts, which heightens the present-tense immediacy of the song. There’s an excellent move by Cool Breeze, who slyly lets the listener know he suspects wire-tapping as he apologizes for not returning his friend’s car while trying not reveal his location: “You tell his folks that I’m sorry bout that Lexus / I’m ’bout to dip and see my sister up in… naaah!”

8. “So Fresh, So Clean” (from Stankonia, 2000)

“So Fresh, So Clean” is about nothing. Not in the way that Seinfeld is about nothing (where in fact it’s about everything), but actually … nothing. So it falls into a rich tradition of rap music, in which the measure of a great rapper is whether they can rap about their great rapping, or about their great stuff. “So Fresh, So Clean” is decidedly the latter — free, easy, and begging to be blasted from car speakers. Big Boi’s verses juggle objects from “canary yellow ’79 Seville”s and “Monte Carlos” to “YKK” zippers and “gator belts” amidst a panoply of drugs and drinks. Conversely, the only proper nouns in Andre’s verse are “Anne Frank” and “Rick James”: perversity reigns as Andre proposes a freaky attic hideout to a female subject.

“So Fresh, So Clean,” which constitutes merely a synthesizer floating over a fat, staccato drum loop and bass line, proffers the neatest bed possible for creativity in of all OutKast’s work: nothing at all, none of the melodrama of Aquemini or ATLiens, stands between the fresh, clean rhyming on Stankonia and its audience. The raps are permitted to trip into and climb out of the crisp cracks within rhythms, and consequently we hang onto each.

7. “B.O.B.” (from Stankonia, 2000)

I started jogging not long ago.

I’ve hated it my whole life, absolutely hated it. Quit two sports teams (the same one, actually, two different years) because of it, and I still tense up seeing sweaty joggers on the street. But when you’re trying to beat stress, exercise for free, or quiet accumulated self-doubt, a couple million endorphins probably never hurt anyone.

When played too loudly, few songs get me off my ass like “B.O.B.” I remember no less than two weeks ago telling a friend I could hardly listen to it, with its goldfish-like attention to genre and totally absent un-politics (“Bombs Over Baghdad”?). But one day I was flagging on a run, doing my research (which often means listening to the same music in diverse circumstances), and feeling ready to “pull over.”

The skipping drum fills skittered onto the scene, Andre machine-gunning right along with a hand-programmed breakdown, and I looked into the face of a Hasidic man I passed, absolutely terrified. I ran a couple miles more than I thought I would, and after several repetitions of “B.O.B.” began to realize that the feeling that I could do anything was in no small part a sonic repercussion of the song’s spirit.

“B.O.B.” is an expansive, articulate middle finger to the structural and temporal expectations of rap music — way too fast and way too multifarious for any white-bread rapper to begin thinking about accompanying. Its words are rhythms more than signs, and the song nurtures wackiness and esotericism at a level simply unacceptable by modern standards. My submission to its singularity allowed me to enjoy its heart-in-head pounding and enter its totality, one which celebrates how far OutKast had (and has) come, and what it is capable of: “When you come to ATL, boy, you better not hide/ ’cause the Dungeon Family gon’ ride/ ha!”

And then there’s that bizarre outro: shouted over and over and over, and leaving us nowhere nearer decoding “PO-WER MU-SIC, electric revival! / PO-WER MU-SIC, electric revival!” but repeating it over and over all the same.

6. “Aquemini” (from Aquemini, 1998)

“Aquemini” is the eponymous album’s gorgeous deconstruction of personality versus reality. It grapples with rappers’ authenticity through the lens of dualities, constructing a portmanteau of Andre’s and Big Boi’s signs, Aquarius and Gemini.

Now, question: Is every nigga with dreads for the cause?
Is every nigga with golds for the fall? Naw
So don’t get caught up in appearance
It’s OutKast, Aquemini: another black experience

The duo addresses the profound questions here — Does the material culture make the rapper? Or the thinker? Do the trappings indicate otherwise? — in their own way throughout, both grounded in realism and jazz chords that drip with regretful hindsight. Where rappers in New York might have been waxing Five Percenter ideology or talking Back-to-Africa, Big Boi chastises irresponsible young rappers (“Let your paper stack instead of going into overkill/ Pay your fuckin’ beeper bill, bitch”) while Andre despondently warns, “Even the sun goes down/ heroes eventually die.”

Instead of the lyrical braggadocio of most rap in the ’90s, “Aquemini” employs parallelisms that illuminate real truths of rapping, in which both materialism and poetry can work together to make music. Music that confronts the reality of being a rapper, that insists that your actions and words can fill voids left open by a genre built on irreverent caricature.

5. “Roses” (from The Love Below, 2003)

Particularly when Andre writes a song, one can never know whether OutKast will handle a difficult subject indecorously. “Roses” could astound on sheer sneer alone, accompanying a piano-man R&B stomp with a sniveling rejoinder to a woman looking for a fat wallet, but it goes for the throat. Not only is the female subject not “down to Mars” enough for the guys, but she’s so money-obsessed, she can’t realize it.

Instead of pining for the possibility of genuine, uncomplicated attraction, OutKast draws attention to the failure of the girl’s priorities, and embarrassingly: “Roses” ends on about 40 seconds of variations on the word “bitch,” which will make just about any two people listening together uncomfortable. Where they could have drafted a more poetic repartee, it’s worth noting that the song’s hook rests on the observation that though she think’s she’s great, Caroline is not. Rendered childishly (“like poo-oo-oo!”), OutKast brilliantly follows form with function to prove that they are “down to Mars”: not fussy, but still out of this world.

4. “Spread” (from The Love Below, 2003)

Yes — you can combine Zombies-like organs, a drum-and-bass beat, and Latin-jazz piano to get something really, really sexy. Really, you can.

“Spread” enters a suite of tracks on the indomitable The Love Below (starting with “God” and arguably ending with “Roses”) that detail a character called the Love Hater’s encounter with a woman he meets while looking for sex. The song addresses their actual encounter from start to finish, not sparing a sound collage featuring a car driving, keys slamming down, and pants unzipping.

One cannot resist the sexual tension created by the beat’s immense disparity with the music, and the melody’s resolution during each chorus (unsurprisingly after the word “spread”) satisfies silkily. Andre possesses that unequivocal falsetto that communicates even to the lamest heterosexual male a uniquely charming, soulful, playful sexiness.

Even the most conscientious listener can’t help being taken in by that voice. When he raps, the level of intensity recalls that of being backed into a corner. As Andre implores his subject to, “Dance on the tip of my tongue/ Shake the clouds until there’s no more wetness in them,” I’m right there, unfortunately, fighting off the shivers.

3. “Unhappy” (from Speakerboxx, 2003)

Riding on a Southern beat that most resembles ’90s West Coast achievements vastly sped up, Big Boi mixes stilted blasts of rhyme with a deeply soulful synthesizer hook that occasionally (and so satisfyingly) reaches too-too high á la Mariah Carey.

The beat, a collaboration with the venerable Mr. DJ, slams unstoppably; the chords do not modulate at all, and they inspiringly propel the head-down/spirit-up insistence that, though “happiness came and went like Mom and Dad’s relationship… you might as well have fun / ’cause your happiness is done / when your goose is cooked.”

From Big Boi’s Speakerboxx, his contribution to their 2003 double album Speakerboxx/The Love Below, “Unhappy” has a propensity to constantly trip over itself but keep running, with Big Boi stumbling to spit out advice well before each verse begins, only allowing himself to relax when the warm chorus harmonies wash over the song. His subject matter, though, is far from unfocused: we see his parents’ debt, exposed by the brilliantly funny epiphany that “Santa Claus was / nothing more than Vanilli,” and an alcoholism driven by an unhappy home (held at a distance, as a movie: “graphic language, mild violence, / and the silence of the fams”).

“Unhappy” itself pushes us to move forward, but is itself fairly bleak; Big Boi only slows down while rhyming to offer the consolation that, despite the troubled upbringing, at least “we got that hot sauce!”

2. “Ain’t No Thang” (from Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, 1994)

You have to love a song about hyperviolence that samples Miles Davis. And not just any Miles, but a pretty rare funk ballad off of Live Evil, featuring one of the weirdest and most perversely experimental ensembles of Miles’s career.

For a writer, few faculties can prepare you to write about rap with neither rap slang nor academia at your fingertips. But I’ll say this: nothing mystifies more people at a party than putting on “Ain’t No Thang.” That bizarre horn squeal that lines each verse, that speaker-rotting sub-bass, that lyrical experimentation in which each verse is a Rubik’s Cube of possible solutions — and that endlessly repeatable chorus (“It’s all about that cess’ in your chest/ It’s the joint!”). Yes, it’s a song about riding around Atlanta with a lot of weapons and then smoking a ton of pot, but it’s also a sonic pleasure drone.

For someone as prone to constant analysis as I am, “Ain’t No Thang” is one of the few songs that resonates deep desires for bodily, exuberant music and makes me shut up. By the end, I’m shamelessly squawking, “… but a chicken waaaang!”

1. “Hey Ya!” (from The Love Below, 2003)

Andre’s contributions to the double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below crush any and all expectations of love songs. But it’s the awful epiphany of loneliness during “Hey Ya!” that thrusts The Love Below onto a pedestal. How masterful must one be to have written a danceable chart-topper (with every mark of triumphant girl-getting) that actually documents a lost faith in love and the acquisition of unashamed coldness?

Where he starts the song knowing “My baby don’t mess around/ because she loves me so,” Andre guides us through the spiraling realization that the couple is, “in denial/ when we know we’re not happy here,” even thanking his still-together parents for at least proving love can exist somewhere. “Hey Ya!” proceeds methodically — without a single drum fill or extraneous synthesizer note — from the recognition that his love has faded to myriad dance breakdowns and shout choruses, squawking away.

Eventually, bewildering notions like “separate’s always better/ when there’s feelings involved” and all the beautiful sensitivity of “Where Are My Panties?” and “Prototype” disappear in the wake of frantic appeals to be “cooler than cool ICE COLD!” and “on y’all baddest behavior.” It’s sad, but so simultaneously joyful. For OutKast, the only way out of emotional emptiness seems to be the “Hey Ya!” way, flattening any remembrance of awkwardness past by going psychotic on the dance floor.

Comments (154)
  1. Aaahaahahahahahaahaha! No.

    • “I started jogging not long ago.” Oh neat! This must a really good Outkast song.

      I try not to make a stink about it because I think I’m in the minority, but these lists are shit and there are too many of them, and I remember a day when Stereogum had a “Shit List” header for other site lists because these lists are always shit. Also, I say the editorial content has lost quality where it’s gained quantity (7 paragraph header? That’s high school-level burying the lede). Maybe there’s a merger with Pitchfork on the horizon.

      But again, I mostly keep it to myself because hey things change.

      • These lists are not shit, they’re well thought out and insightful. Christ, what do some of you people want, nothing but newsbites? If you don’t like lists….don’t read them. Not very difficult.

        Stereogum: Keep doing what you’re doing.

        This list: Too much credit given to Andre, not nearly enough to Big Boi.

        • nice defense but this is really poor. i wonder if this writer is one of those outkast fans that only knows an album or two. where are the deep cuts? this is a group that is extraordinarily rich in material and hey ya is is the number one pick? come on.

          • I don’t really get the prevailing reaction to these lists. When the #1 song/album isn’t the generally agreed-upon Zeitgeisty pick (e.g. “Soft Bulletin” for the Lips one, “My Girls” and “Grass” for the AC one, etc.), everyone gets all up in arms (i.e. “THIS IS SHIT!”). When it IS the #1 pick (like this), everyone gets all up in arms (i.e. “THIS IS TOTAL SHIT).

            I think someone below put it nicely, “Hey Ya!” is one of a very small handful of moments I can remember in my lifetime of twenty-one years when everyone said, “Yes, this song is special.” And the other big names on here (“Roses”, “So Fresh, So Clean”, and “B.O.B.”) are really untouchable singles, so why not include them on this list? Hell, I’d throw “The Way You Move” on here too; that chorus is smooth as butter.

            In summation: cool your jets, Stereogummers, and remember that this is one guy’s opinion.

        • My point is these lists are always shit, because they’re subjective from the start and only meant to stir up page views. They’re indefensible and shit on principle alone, nevermind if the list is “good” or not, and Stereogum is suddenly in the habit of making tons of shit lists.

          And for this “if you don’t like it … don’t read it,” fuck off — I’ve been reading Stereogum for years and I have every right to share an opinion that I think the editorial content has dropped off a cliff.

  2. No Spottieottiedopaliscious?!? GTFO the internet.

  3. Damn, I saw this on the front page and immediately thought up a hilarious “What? Nothing from Idlewild??!?!?” joke, only to start reading and discover the list indeed included something from Idlewild. Pretty crushing moment for me, all in all.

    • I don’t even consider it as ‘proper’ album because it screws such a perfect discography. Other artists should get the same treatment, however there are some very notable (VERY notable) exceptions (SuperFly, Purple Rain), soundtrack should not be mashed up with studio albums, I think.

  4. Really dropped the ball on this one. I am compelled enough to comment AND make my own list and post it after work. Sheesh.

  5. I totally respect that you make clear it’s one fan’s opinion. And I’ll give you mad credit for including Unhappy, ’cause I’ll bring the hot sauce. But a list that doesn’t include Spottieottiedopaliscious, Elevator, Rosa Parks and Liberation is missing something.

    • THANK YOU. how the fuck is hey ya their best song when they are rich in deep cuts?!

      • Let’s be honest it’s their greatest and probably best fucking song. I get that you have a boner for all of their stuff, which is great, so do I, but if you don’t think that Hey Ya! is their best then you should think your life over.

        • So I have to think my life over just because I think Rosa Parks (among many other songs) is better than Hey Ya? Guess I got some real soul searching to do.

        • Saying “Hey Ya” is the best Outkast song is like saying “Song 2″ is the best blur song. They’re both so distinct from the rest of the dicography it looks almost like you’re dismissing the band. I’m not saying it does’nt deserve a spot, but I think you gotta go with something a little more quintessential at #1.

  6. Wow. Wow. You almost literally couldn’t have done worse, Stereogum.

  7. Not even a mention for Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik?

  8. This list is TERRIBLE! 4 of the songs are from Speakerboxxx/Love Below?! I’m sorry, but that album is SO overrated! Hey Ya is overplayed BS! Every song on Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik is better than those songs!

    • I mean, I’m not about to call Hey Ya overrated BS, because realistically, I can think of few other music-cultural moments from my lifetime that feel as transcendent, boundary hopping, ubiquitous, and universally adored as “Hey Ya” (“Paper Planes” and “One More Time”, maybe?). That being said, the moment Andre 3K starts saying the word “Inslumnational” on “BOB” sets off 5+ minutes of some of the most shit hot fire ever spit.

  9. Also, this was done as a March Madness bracket in 2011 which was pretty stanky:

  10. Naw man…

  11. There’s way too much /Speakerboxx/The Love Below/ on this list and the lack of “Spottieottiedopaliscious” is baffling. Also, “B.O.B.” at seven?

  12. Surely you skipped Ms. Jackson because there are already three other chart-topping hits there?
    Happy Valentine’s Day and A Life in the Day of Benjamin André are amazing and often overlooked too.

    And don’t forget that Millionaire song Andre did with Kelis for her 2003 album. It’san absolute pop brilliance.

  13. the whole world not in the top ten? though I think I’m in the minority on that one.

  14. Full Force Galesburg as the worst Mountain Goats album. Ceremony nowhere to be seen on the New Order list. Now this. Get your shit together or never post again.

  15. when i saw the title of this article, i said to myself, “b.o.b. is obviously number one, right?”

    bad list

  16. Thanks for the Decatur Psalm love.

    • I agree, and I was ready to bitch about it not being on the list, oh well. This list is too much The Love Below/Speakerboxx and not enough ATLiens.

  17. I’m glad to see this feature. Oddly enough I was just looking at a list of Kendrick Lamar’s 25 favorite albums and was suprised not to see one Outkast album on there. Good Kid is a modern rap classic but I think it’s as indebted to Outkast as much as the west coast stuff.


  19. My ten favorite: Elevators, Humble Mumble, Aquemini, Rosa Parks, B.O.B. , So Fresh So Clean, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, Ms. Jackson, Aint No Thang, Return of the G

  20. Aquemini is my #1, and Andre’s final verse might be my favourite ever by him. But ya, this list blows. Out of left field maybe, but I would also throw ‘humble mumble’ on here as well.

  21. I think the lesson here is that you could literally pick any 10 Outkast songs and it would qualify as a “Top 10″. Their discography is that deep. Just none of that Idlewild shit, alright?

  22. i love how GOD DAMN ANGRY so many people get at these lists.

    “what? stereogum didn’t include my favorite songs!?? GTFO OF THE INTERNET YOU WORTHLESS SCUM SUCKING PRICK!!!”

    ….and then they come back tomorrow and read whatever’s newly posted.

    • If they called it “This contributors ten favorite Outkast songs” there would be much less vitriol spewed all over these lists. But they don’t, the headlines for these columns read “The Ten Best…”, probably on purpose. They want people to read and post as many responses as possible, even if they’re angry.

      However, I not sure, but I don’t think anybody has called Alex a “worthless scum sucking prick”. That might be a bit much, ya know?

      • about 90% of these lists seem to evoke nothing but anger from the commenters. perhaps not quite at the level of “worthless scum sucking prick” anger, but often pretty harsh words. and i highly doubt that everyone’s *actually* sitting there, fuming mad in their desk chairs… but i guess that’s just the internet for you.

        and yeah, i think we all know that these are opinion pieces. i reckon that stereogum doesn’t call it “the contributors’ ten favorite albums…” for the same reason that rolling stone doesn’t plaster “the greatest 500 albums in the opinion of 10 people who work at rolling stone” across the front of their magazine: it would look dumb.

  23. Da Art of Storytellin’ Part 1,2, and 4!!! Player’s Ball? I normally take me music cues from this site because, it hasn’t steered me wrong since 2007. I especially like that the trust I have in listening to new music is based in my confidence that the staffs’ taste matches my own. As a southern man who started listening in1994, poor job, Stereogum. Poor job

  24. Wow. I don’t envy having to put this list together–so many songs from which to choose–but no Player’s Ball or Rosa Parks, and Hey Ya at number one?

    Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing? Not in this case.

  25. Seriously though, more from Aquemini should have been on here, and a left field track from Stankonia, that album is so (3)stacked.

  26. No Rosa Parks or Ms. Jackson. That’s my comment.

  27. enjoy your page views, you sold enough of your credibility to get em, that’s for sure

  28. Stereogum’s #1 song by OutKast is “Pink Matter (Remix)” (Feat. André 3000 & Big Boi)

  29. 3 tracks from Love Below and only one from each for Aquemini, ATLiens and Southernplayalistic is bonkers

  30. Chonkyfire, Da Art of Storytelling part 1, Skew it on the Bar-B?

    Wait are we considering non Aquemini tracks?

  31. Sasha Thumper would not approve.

  32. To the people arguing against “Hey Ya” being no. 1: You might justifiably have a different *favorite* song, but it’s impossible to posit that “Hey Ya” isn’t their *best* song. It’s in our DNA at this point. It is impossible to imagine a world without “Hey Ya”.

    I was still in high school when it came out. The culture of our student body was incredibly diverse, so it didn’t really have an established hierarchy, but it was incredibly cliquish. When “Hey Ya” came out, it was the most unifying piece of pop culture I’ve ever experienced. The punk kids, the gangsta kids, the kinda-geeky kids, the anime kids, the kids who only owned Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin shirts, white kids, black kids, latino kids, east/west/south asian kids,– the way everyone loved that song reminds me of that dancing sequence in The Breakfast Club. I have not personally witnessed a pop song so multilaterally well-received before or since (key phrase: “personally witnessed”). And I know that the response to that song was not limited to my high school. There is really something to be said about a pop song with that kind of universally visceral impact.

    So anyway, at least this list knew to not hesitate putting the most popular song in the #1 spot, as some lists are wont to do.

    • i have an aquemini tattoo and i hate hey ya.

      • That doesn’t argue my point at all.

        • it doesn’t. i just have so much love for this group that it drives me crazy that this is the list stereogum designates as the best of outkast. 4 songs from speaker/love? did they even listen to the rest of the albums? is teen spirit the best nirvana song because a bunch of teenagers bonded over it? by that logic we will rock you is queen’s finest achievement.

          • it all depends on how you qualify “best,” and that qualification is entirely within the purview of the writer. does best mean your own personal favorite? most culturally significant? best example of the artist at their perceived creative peak? he who writes the list decides.

          • “Best of the Noughties” lists from many different publications will consistently have “Hey Ya” near/at the top of the list, always outranking other OutKast songs, and no one bats an eye. It’s interesting that it’s a more controversial choice at the top of a list of just OutKast songs.

            In response to Mr. Cornell, I think the best lists will take all of those factors you listed, and then some, into consideration. However, I think there is something unique in the cultural resonance of “Hey Ya”, and I think that resonance is the most important factor. That’s my subjective viewpoint, but I am going to go ahead and assume that I’m REALLY not alone in thinking that. So I think it’s a little weird that people would be appalled that “Hey Ya” is at the top. While it’s obvious that many people have a different *favorite* song (as I, in fact, do), it’s really difficult to start a beef with a song as far-reaching as “Hey Ya” without coming off as desperately trying to prove your authenticity as an OutKast fan (case in point– Mr. Richards’ immediate reaction to my comment).

            While Mr. Richards brought up good points, I would argue that “Hey Ya” is unique among the examples of hit singles that are not the artists’ best work in how it resonated with an even wider audience, at least demographically speaking. It has a unifying effect that cannot be overstated.

            So in conclusion, I’m not asserting that “Hey Ya” is objectively the best OutKast song, but I am saying it’s a lot harder to prove otherwise. This is flawed logic, but I’m a flawed guy.

          • Note on the first paragraph: I realize that many OutKast songs that could be considered “better” than Hey Ya were made in the 90s, and wouldn’t be on a 00s list. I think my point is clear enough though.

          • Also, reading it over, I realize I come off as wildly pretentious when I address people as Mr. (insert surname). But whatever. I like doing it.

    • Damn, that is a very diverse high school.

    • Funny, I remember everybody in my high school reacting the same way when “B.O.B.” and “Mrs. Jackson” came out. Don’t get me wrong, I still remember hearing “Hey Ya” for the first time in my freshman dorm room. But, were’nt we all fucking sick to death of that aong within six months? It took me years to get back to enjoying that song after hearing it played to death from 2003 to 2004. It’s not completely the songs fault that it got overplaid, and I enjoy it now, but I then again, I never got sick of “Mrs. Jackson” or “Rosa Parks” or “Spotieottiedopaliscious” that way.

  33. I find it funny that a group’s most popular song is finally put on the list and everyone gets just as mad as when it’s left off.

    I don’t know Outkast well enough to know how solid this list is, but I do now want to go check out the tracks I’m not familiar with.

    • Yeah, Hey Ya! should be number one, I don’t get how people think otherwise. But I think more people are mad at the exclusion of many of their other popular songs, and the inclusion of a song off Idlewild, which is very much the OutKast equivalent of Michael Jordan playing for the Wizards.

  34. Too much Love Below. OutKast made their best music together, with Andre and Big Boi balancing each other out. Songs like “B.O.B.”, “SpottieOttieDopaliocious”, etc. are so much better than anything on The Love Below. Honestly I’d say that “I Choose You” feels more like an OutKast song than most of the Love Below stuff. Speaking of that, we should have Tom make a UGK list. Holy shit they have some gems in their catalog. “One Day” is maybe my favorite song by anyone ever.

  35. I normally don’t get why people get all worked up over these lists, but this is just ridiculous.

  36. N2U isn’t even the best song on Idlewild…the fuck

  37. woozefa  |   Posted on Jan 31st, 2013 +4

    hi everyone!

  38. No love for the song “ATLiens,” even in the comments? Wow. It’s the song that got me into Outkast!

    Oh, and “B.O.B.” is a better song than “Hey Ya” any day of the week.

  39. The lack of both “Elevators” and “Git Up Git Out” (both absolute hip hop classics) makes this whole list completely irrelevant

  40. skew it on the bar-b never gets any love

  41. I was about to post a list of songs that were left off of this list but soon realized I’d be listing the majority of Aquemeni, ATLiens, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and Stankonia.

    Instead I’m just going to listen to all the songs they left off the list and have a great day.

  42. could go with 2/3 of auquemeni for starters . . . tuff pix when, like thee clash, there’s just too much of quality to choose from

  43. 4/5 of the top five are from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. That’s your problem right there.

  44. B.O.B is #2. Fail.

  45. Sorry, but, you did the list wrong, Alex.

  46. I would also like to concur with all my fellow posters here – and say that you, Alex, are a miserable creature. I suspect you have a lobster claw for a hand.

  47. This List = Joke, right?

    • I will probably never visit this website again because of this list and how offended I am as an Outkast fan. Did you just write Outkast songs on a wall and throw darts at them? Most of these songs wouldn’t make the top 25.

      • Relax. It’s just one fellow’s opinion, as he said in the pre-list article. Blame the higher-ups at Stereogum for giving these top songs lists an objective name when the lists are utterly subjective in nature.

        As I’ve said before, it’s much more possible to achieve a degree of objectivity when ranking albums, but not so much when ranking songs.

        • I think not visiting this site, save for responding to these comments about mine, is an example of blaming the higher-ups, or whoever, for naming this The 10 Best Outkast Songs. It should be called “this one persons really sad attempt at listing their own favorite outkast songs (this person is probably really young and is focused on newer material than the classics).”


  48. I love OutKast and didn’t want to comment on this, but I just did so oops.

    Anyway, I’m not even kidding when I say my favorite OutKast song may be “She Live In My Lap” from The Love Below. And “Hey Ya” is one of the best pop songs ever written in the history of pop music (seriously no arguing that one). Then “Snappin’ n Trappin’” from Stankonia is a close second.

    The only flaw I see in this list is leaving off “Rosa Parks”.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.

%s1 / %s2