April 12, 2014


OutKast Bring Out Future, Janelle Monae for Coachella 2014 Reunion

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

For most people with a decent love of music, seeing the almighty OutKast's first concert after a seven-year hiatus was already a sufficiently thrilling, historic experience—longtime fans weren't expecting any surprise guests to sweeten the deal.

But hell, we're not complaining that Andre 3000 and Big Boi brought out TWO all-star guests during their set at Coachella 2014: Fellow ATLien rapper Future and the indomitable Janelle Monae.

When the R&B songstress dropped in for "Tightrope," it was a funky surprise, but hardly a shock: Big Boi's verse on that song helped catapult her career to the next level and he even convinced Diddy to sign Monae to Bad Boy Records.

Future, on the other hand, was a genuine surprise—especially since he performed a never-before-heard song from his upcoming album. Although the crowd roared for Future, the track itself—featuring a verse from Andre—wasn't too remarkable, leaving fans wondering what the hell he was doing onstage with OutKast during their FIRST reunion show.

The answer is depressingly ordinary: Future's cousin, Rico Wade, is a longtime producer for OutKast as part of the trio Organized Noise (which also includes Sleepy Brown, who joined them onstage at Coachella in silky purple pajamas for one song). Wade helped produce 'Kast's entire debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik as well as "So Fresh, So Clean," so it seems like they were doing him a solid by inviting a newcomer to their reunion party.

Surprise appearances aside, Big Boi and Dre seemed happy and comfortable back onstage together. They were even a little nostalgic, performing the first part of the show pacing around a kitchen table. "I bet y'all wondering why we walking around in circles," Big Boi said. "Before our first album, we'd write raps in my auntie's kitchen, walking around her table."

Since their pre-fame days writing rhymes in high school, they've risen from regional favorites to pop hitmakers to GRAMMY-winning stars. But a lot has changed since their last studio album. Based on the crowd's response, most of the audience members in their early twenties only knew 'Kast by their biggest songs. While "B.O.B." rightfully slayed the crowd, "Aquemimi" coasted by without much fanfare from Coachella—and that's not even a deep track. 

Thinking an upcoming generation of music fans don't fully understand the importance of OutKast to hip hop and pop music in general was a little sobering, but given the skill and command Andre and Big Boi brought to the stage, it's a safe bet more than a few fest-goers will realize it's time they dig a little deeper into OutKast's unimpeachable discography.