Any why is it that the great melodies that characterized soul and funk have been boiled down to one lick. Don't get me wrong -- I like a good sampled lick as much as the next guy. But where do you go once you've ripped off the best of George Clinton's opera? PM Dawn was one option, drowned out by more and more punks more interested in attitude than art: strident Straight Outta Compton wannabes and vendetta pirates who want to go out like Biggie or Tupac; pseudo-political militants with watered-down Malcolm X tropes on the brain, but without the discipline and the local focus of Public Enemy (think of it as "911 is a joke" versus "9/11 is a conspiracy"); sloppy, stoned party stylers with the marijuana leaf on their caps, coming from behind the beat, but sounding mechanical by ragging time over a computerized drum, instead of a sympathetic rhythm section; earnestly preachy/thoughtful second-generation suburban activist types rapping about fashionable causes; and miniature multimedia napoleons who change their street names at least as often as a frat kid changes his sheets but put out the same awful record again and again.
So my wife (that's Mrs. Enobarbus) has been raving over the OutKast double record Speakerboxx/The Love Below for a few weeks now, so I gave it a listen. Hmmmmm, not bad. A decent mix of R&B sounds, performed with a generous helping of actual musical instruments; more than one rhythm; more self-effacing humor than self-aggrandizing attitude. I honestly suspected, at times, that I might be listening to a remarkably high-fidelity Ween having more genre-bending fun with rap and Prince-style sounds.