“Stankonia was OutKast’s second straight masterstroke, an album just as ambitious, just as all-over-the-map, and even hookier than its predecessor. With producers Organized Noize playing a diminished role, Stankonia reclaims the duo’s futuristic bent. Keyboardist/producer Earthtone III helms most of the backing tracks, and while the live-performance approach is still present, there’s more reliance on programmed percussion, otherworldly synthesizers, and surreal sound effects. Yet the results are surprisingly warm and soulful, a trippy sort of techno-psychedelic funk. Every repeat listen seems to uncover some new element in the mix, but most of the songs have such memorable hooks that it’s easy to stay diverted.” SH
“High Times’ man of the millenium Big Boi and jodhpur-wearing thespian Andre 3000 have to bridge aesthetic galaxies just to make small talk, so it’s no surprise that their musical partnership, which started in high school, yielded an integrative masterpiece.” TL
“The immediate dividends include two of 2000’s best singles.” SH The first, B.O.B. (Bombs over Baghdad), “fuses funk, punk, techno, disco, Atari sound effects and a gospel choir into a millenial dance party.” TL This “is the fastest of several tracks built on jittery drum’n’bass rhythms, but Andre and Big Boi keep up with awe-inspiring effortlessness” (Huey).
The other big single is “Ms. Jackson, which “is an anguished plea directed at the mother of the mother of an out-of-wedlock child, tinged with regret, bitterness, and affection.” SH
“Its sensitivity and social awareness are echoed in varying proportions elsewhere, from the Public Enemy-style rant Gasoline Dreams to the heartbreaking suicide tale Toilet Tisha.” SH
“The fluid rhymes (‘Speeches only reaches those who already know about it/This is how we go about it’) ground Stankonia in rap, but it’s the soul singing in the chorus that makes Ms. Jackson so tender and the jagged guitar riff that makes ‘Gasoline Dreams’ so hard.” TL
“The group also returns to its roots for some of the most testosterone-drenched material since their debut. Then again, OutKast doesn’t take its posturing too seriously, which is why they can portray women holding their own, or make bizarre boasts about being So Fresh, So Clean.” SH
“Given the variety of moods, it helps that the album is broken up by brief, usually humorous interludes, which serve as a sort of reset button. It takes a few listens to pull everything together, but given the immense scope, it’s striking how few weak tracks there are. It’s no wonder Stankonia consolidated OutKast’s status as critics’ darlings, and began attracting broad new audiences: its across-the-board appeal and ambition overshadowed nearly every other pop album released in 2000.” SH