Big Boi at the Ogden: Two different perspectives informed by two different backgrounds
TonightBig Boi comes to Denver for the first time in forever to play at the Ogden Theatre. We're sending two writers to cover the show, as opposed to our usual one, because they come from very different yet very important sections of hip-hop's audience. To provide some context for the review, you can find each writer's relationship with OutKast below.
I was born and raised in Monument, Colorado, a town whose tiny population was even more homogeneous then than it is now. "Hey Ya!" was the first time I heard OutKast. I have a terrible memory for details, but I know exactly where I was.
My friend had it on his iPod, and he was playing it through the stereo in his truck. We were driving around downtown Colorado Springs. We got to the corner of East Pikes Peak and North Cascade Avenue, right in front of the Hilton, when that "Heeey yaaa" hit.
I remember this so vividly because it hit me with the visceral clarity that not only had I never heard anything like this, but that this was what music was supposed to sound like. I didn't understand what the song meant or where it fit, either into OutKast's career or the larger picture of pop music and hip-hop, but I knew it meant something.
I went home and watched the music video, and I didn't understand that, either: I didn't get why they chose to reference The Ed Sullivan Show or OutKast's satire of the role of hip-hop in popular music. Back then, I just knew I wanted to hear more. I bought Speakerboxxx/The Love Below that week.
Today I own a copy of every OutKast record from Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik to Idlewild. My favorite song is probably "Da Art Of Storytellin' (Part 2)," which could not be further from "Hey Ya!" on the spectrum of the duo's output. Big Boi's Sir Lucious Left Foot was one of my favorite albums from last year.
I listen to tons of hip-hop now. As a white suburbanite, I cannot relate to its prevailing social message, but it has helped me question my reality and understand the construction of race and class in America. But that's not the biggest reason I am so drawn to the genre. That hasn't changed since the day I first heard "Hey Ya!"
I enjoy it.