On their recently released third album, Aquemini (La Face), OutKast's Big Boi and Dre raise Atlanta's already high hip-hop stakes, once again connecting laid-back breakbeats with live soul and funk flourishes. On "Rosa Parks" they play up their southern roots, complementing their thick verbal twang with a raucous harmonica breakdown and wild foot stomping, while on "SpottieOttieDopaliscious" the fusion is more urbane, with a rhythmic horn chart slinking through the tune's smooth stride. "Liberation" benefits from the raspy soul-gospel vocals of Cee-Lo, from OutKast's label mates and kindred spirits Goodie Mob, but in general OutKast prefers to party rather than proselytize. That's not to stay the album's content is purely hedonistic, but casual misogyny and homophobia tend to undermine more enlightened moments, like "Return of the 'G'," a subtle investigation of black stereotypes. LA's Black Eyed Peas open. Thursday, December 3, 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn; 312-527-2583 or 312-923-2000. PETER MARGASAK
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.