OutKast : Hey Ya

What-the-frig genius from Atlanta’s premier nutjobs

A soul-smeared, pop-dipped, gospel-kissed clusterfunk,

a one-in-a-million science-fact anomaly that’d have

Professor Robert Winston and the entire Tomorrow’s

World “posse” twitching their learned moustaches in

confusion; ‘Hey Ya!’ is the Chaos Theory made glorious


You couldn’t make ‘Hey Ya!’ up. Actually, you could,

but it’d be rubbish. Only [a]Outkast[/a]’s Andre Benjamin and

Antwan Patton sport the chops, the sass and the

finger-popping, genre-hopping class to magic its wildly

disparate elements into such a madly cohesive whole.

And, as such, the second single from ‘Speakerboxxx/The

Love Below’ – and Single Of The Year in most known dimensions – is a hip-hop opera squeezed into a pair of

large trainers that manages, in just under four

minutes, to dance the rest of this week’s singles under

the table while laughing like a vaguely unhinged drain.

Trying to describe what it sounds like is, on the other

hand, rather akin to trying to lasso water (ie bloody

difficult) but, as responsible, professional sorts,

we’ll do our best. What we get is, approximately,

a monumental barney between the Camberwick Green brass

band, a cruise-ship cabaret act, a cartoon gospel

choir and a sucker MC hiccuping “[I]Shake it like a polaroid pic-chaaaa![/I]” backed up by the cast of an amateur production of The Wizard of Oz. Sort of. But for all its genre-tickling eccentricity, ‘Hey Ya!’s greatest

achievement lies in its refusal to acknowledge the

existence of either fashion or form. Like Missy

Elliot’s ‘Get Ur Freak On’, it comes from somewhere

else entirely, a loophole-leaping oddity doused in the

tantalising, unmistakable tang of Something Truly

Unique. Here, there’s the sense of the envelope not

merely being pushed, but being waggled furiously in the

faces of the slack, the lame and the inspiration-free.

Where do [a]Outkast[/a] go from here? We’ll hazard a guess at