Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

OutKast: Aquemini [LaFace, 1998]
If Dre and Big Boi were addressing real "real life situations" on Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik or ATLiens, they were drawling too unreconstructedly for any Yankee to tell. This time they're clearly about babies making babies in a place with enough nature around for that kind of biology to seem like destiny. The blackstrap flow of their live slow jams ends up an evolved G-funk with denser instrumental crosstalk, no less street for putting organ rumble or soundtrack keyb where the eerie tweedie used to be. But even so the music's Southernness signifies as rural, evoking Booker T., endless Gregg Allman ballads, humid afternoons with horseflies droning over the hog wallow. Uncosmopolitan enough to call choruses "hooks" no matter what RZA thinks, OutKast probably would have quit dealing even if said hooks didn't get bought. And if not, they would have told some unheroic, untragic stories about it. A-