In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a little excited that Outkast is reforming at Coachella. So excited, in fact, that not only did I buy a ticket to the festival, plus flights and accommodation, now I’ve tried to put together what I think would be my dream Outkast setlist.
A few things to note:
– Outkast have, like, 100 great songs, so pretty much anything they play is going to blow me away. Shit, they could just about put “Nathaniel” on a loop for two hours and I’d be happy.
– Rolling with a total set time of about two-and-a-half hours. Is that excessive? I don’t know, I’ve never been to Coachella. Pearl Jam are playing a long set at Big Day Out; Kanye West played a long set at that same festival back in 2012. And if any hip-hop artist is going to pull off 150 minutes of quality tunes, it’s Outkast.
– Accompanied by a full band. Big Boi has played with a full band on his tours in recent years, and it gives André 3000 an excuse to play the guitar.
– Accompanied by a full roster of guests – Goodie Mob, Sleepy Brown, Raekwon, Killer Mike and others.
– No solo work, so nothing from Sir Lucious Left Foot, no André 3000 guest spots on other tracks, and only true collaborations from Speakerboxxx and The Love Below (“Hey Ya!” excepted, of course).
With all that said, here’s what I’d love to see. Let me know your thoughts.
You May Die (Intro)
The intro to Outkast’s 1996 masterpiece ATLiens. The lights are down, plenty of smoke, and the strains of this little snippet come in. A great little tune, and also could describe what might happen to me should I get too overexcited.
The second single, title track and the most upbeat tune on ATLiens. Features one of the best opening verses in rap history courtesy of Big Boi, and has been a regular at his concerts in recent times.
Welcome to Atlanta (Interlude)
Indio CA is a long way from Atlanta, but this short interlude, taken as the stage fills up with a full band, will letuknow.
Ain’t No Thang
The sound of the South identifying itself. “Ain’t no thang but a chicken waaang / having a smoke-out in the Dungeon with the Mary-Jane…”
Coachella lines up with the 20th anniversary of their debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik almost to the day. The title track is p-funk perfection.
Outkast’s first song, released on the 1993 LaFace Records Christmas album, and one of their most enduring. An out-and-out classic to keep the p-funk rolling.
So Fresh, So Clean
Fast forward to 2000, where the funk continues.
Back to 1998 for the lead single from Outkast’s magnum opus Aquemini. The ‘Kast started the South’s distinctive style, and on this track they take it to its extremes – there’s even a fucking harmonica break
Skew it on the Bar-B
“From East Point to Shaolin, y’all better know dat!” Raekwon the Chef joins Outkast on stage for a couple of tracks.
A dope unreleased outtake from Sir Lucious Left Foot, featuring André 3000 and Raekwon.
The hyper-aggressive opening track from Stankonia
Return of the “G”
The hyper-aggressive opening track from Aquemini
Snappin’ & Trappin’
The uber-aggressive sixth track from Stankonia, featuring a monster opening verse from Killer Mike, long before collaborating with El-P.
The Whole World
Killer Mike stays on stage for one of the new songs on the 2001 greatest hits record Big Boi and Dre Present…Outkast.
Stankonia‘s biggest single, still fresh as hell more than a decade on, is a heartfelt letter of apology to Erykah Badu’s mother.
Big Boi, André and the band slow things down a bit as Outkast show off their more reflective, introspective side. Title track from Aquemini.
Deeper, deep cut from ATLiens, featuring Khujo and T-Mo from Goodie Mob.
The funky, impossibly feel-good deeper cut from Aquemini about the realities of hood life. Features Backbone and Cool Breeze.
Da Art of Storytellin, pt. 1
My favourite Outkast song. Hypnotic beat, with Big Boi navel-gazing and 3000 star-gazing. Incredible lyricism.
Elevators (Me & You)
The lead single from ATLiens, “Elevators” disproves the bogus theory that all MCs are self-aggrandisers over a beguiling woodblock knock beat.
Pink Matter Remix
Frank Ocean arrives on stage to massive cheers, and leads off “Pink Matter”, the remix, which featured a Big Boi verse.
Git Up, Git Out
Final track of the main set, featuring Goodie Mob. A positive message to blow the minds of ignorant hip-hop haters.
The manic opening cut from Speakerboxxx, Big Boi’s half of the 2003 best-seller Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Produced by and featuring 3000.
One of the rare tracks one can salvage from the misguided Idlewild, Outkast’s last album before their hiatus.
The infectious, irresistible, irrefutable, endlessly re-playable single from The Love Below.
13th Floor / Growing Old
After raucous cheers, the lights go down. A throne is brought on stage, and sitting on it is Big Rube, decked out in pimp gear. He recites his opening verse to the closing track on ATLiens, the beat drops, and it’s happy days. The last song of the first encore.
What needs to be said?
No let up after “Hey Ya!” Following it is Outkast’s most furious track, from Stankonia. Jamming incredibly fast verses, guitar solos, horns and a choir all into five minutes. An absolute monster.
Wild cheers. Quick speeches from Big Boi and Three Stacks, thanking the crowd, the organisers, the band, briefly chatting about getting back together. A new album announcement. Then, for the final song of the night, the seven-minute slow-jam from Aquemini, “SpottieOttieDopalicious”. Featuring live horns, a scene-setting verse from Sleepy Brown, a night out with 3000, a reality check with Big Boi, and then just “damn, damn, damn James…” into the night.