Outkast : London Hackney Ocean

OutKast play a star-studded Levi's-sponsored show at London's newest venue...

OutKast aren’t afraid to let it all hang out. Quite literally, in Andre’s case, as for the most part of this Levi’s-sponsored, fashionista-populated one-off in Hackney he’s exposing just that little bit too much of himself due to splitting his (ironically, self-designed Levi’s-made) trousers at the crotch in a moment of exuberance.

He apologises at the end, for ‘maybe showing a little too much of himself’ at this fabulous hour-long showcase for one of the best hiphop acts in the world today, which just adds to OutKast‘s status as consummate showmen. We get the whole glitzy rap riot of electro-flecked breaks, faultless lyrical flows and glorious psychedelic sounds tonight, observed by a coterie of music and fashion faces, from Faithless to Lisa Roxanne to Lennox Lewis to the Pied Piper crew, draining a free bar.

Trevor Nelson introduces The Crowd Pleasers, OutKast‘s dancers, who will be the third signing to Andre and Big Boi’s Aquemini label, bringing booty bass to an imprint that already features Slimm Calhoun and Killer Mike; and then the main attraction hits the stage. As they spin brilliantly through ‘Da Art Of Storytellin”, ‘Rosa Parks’, ‘Slum’, ‘Humble Mumble’, current single ‘So Fresh, So Clean’ and an amazing ‘Ms. Jackson’, The Crowd Pleasers pull all the best moves – by the time ‘B.O.B.’ reaches fever pitch, they’ve thrown in the electric slide, up-rocking and popping into a pot, and floored the crowd. Even an over-excited and laughing Big Boi, joining in, can’t keep up.

Levi’s are supposed to have issued 4000 VIP laminates for this show, and you can see why they’d be guaranteed such a turn-out. OutKast justify the hype.

Sarah Edwards