You can’t take Antwan Patton’s intros and interludes away from him. Those funny-once skippables have been rapidly disappearing as artists shape their albums for better iTunes sales, but Patton — the half of OutKast that still seems consistently interested in hip-hop — has simply appended his skits to the songs themselves. This album’s release has been repeatedly delayed since 2007, but those asides are about the closest it comes to sounding dated. Well that and this lyric from “Daddy Fat Sax”: “Assassins’ bullets may be waiting for Obama/ Do you think they’ll have a brother before Billy’s baby mama?” We totally do, here in 2010, but this line sounds truer than before: “I write knockout songs, you spit punchlines for money.” And “Sax,” which matches Big Boi’s surefooted flow to longtime OutKast producer Mr. DJ’s hyperactive beat, is definitely a hit — is maybe Sir Lucious’s most obvious out-of-the-box homerun on the order of “Ghetto Musick,” “The Way You Move,” or “Morris Brown.” Other songs — the sexy barbershopping in “Turn Me On,” the Andre3000-produced trunk-rattler “You Ain’t No DJ,” can’t-miss collaboration with George Clinton and Too Short “Fo Yo Sorrows,” and “Shine Blockas,” which gets the absolute most out of Gucci Mane — are nearly as awesome. “Be Still,” however, is mainly a Janelle Monáe showcase, classically grandiose “General Patton” is a better experiment than song, and “Follow Us” (featuring Vonnegutt) is more evidence that third-wave New Wave and hip-hop don’t mix. Not as consistent as Speakerboxxx, probably, and you shouldn’t even mention Stankonia, but it’s the closest fans can get to a taste of the pure stuff as long as Andre Benjamin is busy working on his acting career and soundtracking shoe commercials.
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