If, as Public Enemy frontman Chuck D once claimed, hip-hop is black America's answer to CNN, then the hip-hop skit - those interminable sketches that pepper every rap album - may well be black America's answer to the BBC1 sitcom My Hero: you never meet anyone who thinks they're funny, but for some reason, new ones keep getting made. But if the skit that opens OutKast's sixth album is unlikely to leave the listener requiring medical attention for injuries sustained while rolling in the aisles, it at least seems to be making a point about Hollywood snobbery. The skit's protagonist is a fruity-voiced black actor, protesting that rappers "who get into acting are disrespecting the craft - they're taking jobs from us trained actors".
OutKast :: IdlewildLa Face/Zomba/Sony BMGAuthor: Steve 'Flash' JuonWhether you were a fan of "Speakerboxxx" or "The Love Below" one thing was clear back in 2003 - OutKast were a group in name only. The release was two seperate albums packaged and sold together, and the difference between them couldn't have been any more night and day. Antwan 'Big Boi' Patton's "Speakerboxxx" was much closer in spirit to a traditional OutKast album thanks to his hard raps and hard beats, while Andre '3000' Benjamin's "The Love Below" was all of the worst parts of Andre's experimental nature.
A lot happened to OutKast between the moment they began to think about making a movie and the release of Idlewild. In 1998, no studio would back the movie they were plotting. Fast-forward eight years, past a fourth successive classic album, a double-disc blockbuster, and countless breakup rumors, as well as moonlighting gigs involving supporting actor roles and a successful dog kennel.