“B.O.B.” by OutKast (2000)

I had a piece on this song saved up, but it looks like Tumblr ate it. Damn.

“B.O.B.” reminds me a little of “When Doves Cry”. Not due to any similarity in sound, but because it’s a song made by an act at the very top of their game. Completely avant-garde, but also totally on brand. When I first heard “B.O.B.” was I surprised that this was an OutKast song? Not really. Still, everything I heard was so left, I…well, this GIF explains it best.

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I still have that reaction when I hear it now, and it’s been seventeen years!

How many genres can one song reference in five minutes and four seconds? “B.O.B.” is hip-hop, but it’s also gospel, drum ‘n bass, funk, techno, some Hendrixian guitar playing and some other shit that only exists in Big Boi and Andre 3000′s mind. I don’t know what to call it, but I do know that as soon as those twinkly keyboards announce the song, I’m ready to move. Doesn’t matter whether I’m on a dance floor, in my apartment, or sitting in a restaurant getting ready to eat. “B.O.B.” requires your movement.

Speaking of Big and Dre, there’s an interesting case study to be made regarding “B.O.B.” and the last 5-star jam, Tribe’s “Award Tour”. Imagine if Phife and Tip’s verses were put in reverse order. Not as good, eh? It’s almost like Tip’s serving as the setup man for Phife to come in and crush it. Andre does no such setting up on “B.O.B.”. Matter of fact, his opening verse (which manages to be frenzied and controlled at the same time) might be one of the ten best of the 21st century. It’s a testament to the perennially underrated Big Boi that he manages to hold your attention after 3000′s performance. I was about to make a really convoluted Michael Jordan/Scottie Pippen comparison between Andre and Big, but I’ll leave it alone for now. I have been watching a lot of old NBA videos on YouTube recently, though.

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