Friday, August 25, 2006


So, the producers of "OFF THE BLACK"--Scott Macaulay and Robin O'Hara--are two of the coolest folks I know, and their taste is eclectic beyond description. The proof is in the films they choose to work on. Case in point: they have a movie opening nationally today...maybe you've heard of it?

I can't wait to see it--I'll be going either today or tomorrow. And while I'd see anything Scott and Robin produced, I'm also excited to see it because, well, I'm a huge Outkast fan.

See, Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton went to Tri-Cities high school, which was right down the road from where I went to high school in Georgia. When their first album came out--Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik--I was just a freshman in high school. Some of the songs on that album, like "Player's Ball," "Ain't No Thang," and "Hootie Hoo," became omnipresent on car stereos during the spring and summer of '94. It was something unique and special to us--rap had always been about the East Coast (NYC) and West Coast (LA and occasionally Oakland) and now people were rapping--and rapping well--about the south. With southern accents. I remember driving to Atlanta to see Outkast play with Goodie Mob that spring...the tickets were about five bucks and and there were less than 100 people at the show.

It seems ridiculous to think of Outkast as local-boys-made-good, because, well, they're massive friggin' superstars and a muzak version of "Hey Ya!" is always playing when I'm in the produce section at the grocery store. And now they're starring in "Idlewild."

Everyone has this experience--your favorite small group becomes huge and you feel somehow betrayed--but to me, when I think of Outkast, I'll always remember twelve summers ago, walking into the locker room from football camp in the middle of August with it being about 105 degrees with the heat index (that's nasty, sticky, Georgia heat) and hearing sixty of my teammates sing along to "Hootie Hoo" while it played LOUD from some busted Pioneer speakers. That's still my favorite Outkast album.