How has rap, as a genre, survived its inevitable demise -- one built and alienatingly fueled by a poppy, egocentrical combination of gansta-rap rip-offs and self-pimping Puff Daddy/Jay-Z clones that defined the '90s? Think, and then thank, Atlanta-based duo Outkast -- Andrè 3000 and Big Boi -- who declined the invitation to participate in its own gen(re)cide, opting instead to reinvent and elevate rap to a more unique, intelligible high on "Stankonia," their fourth.
Look no further than the techno-ghetto anthem "B.O.B.," or the silky bass-trippin' displayed in "So Fresh, So Clean" for evidence of their admirably creative range of layering eclectic beats and lyrical poetry. Most significantly, peep the profoundly funky "Ms. Jackson," which combines their talented repertories and reveals itself into a distinct and enlightening outcry for respect. It's easily the most revering achievement in the evolution of rap since Dr. Dre's "The Chronic."