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Dear Big Boi and Andre 3000,
The two of you had such a good thing going. Can we please get another collaboration, and sooner rather than later?
Big Boi, your set at Bumbershoot yesterday was dope. Scratch that, it was super-dope. It was as dope as a Boeing 747 packed full of Pablo Escobar's finest. You rocked most of the OutKast hits, all the best tracks from your excellent solo record, and had a damn good time doing it. KeyArena may have only been half-full at the time, but not a single one of those people regretted leaving the pristine sunshine outdoors for the Dirty South revival inside.
But it could have been better.
It wasn't anything wrong with your performance. The live drummer nailed it, and that dexterous juggling he did during his solo at the crescendo of "Bombs Over Baghdad" was hands down the most impressive musical move I saw all day. Your DJ was on-point the entire time, especially his wicked scratching during the encore, "Ain't No DJ." Hell, even the hype man performed admirably, nailing his choreographed dance moves with you and never encroaching too much on your spotlight.
Nor would I fault the setlist. From "Elevators (Me and You)" to "So Fresh and So Clean," almost all the classics were there. You even joked about it, saying "Seein' as we got so many hits in the catalog, we're gonna take a request from the audience." Then you played "Ms. Jackson"--probably one of the 10 best rap songs of the past 10 years--and said, "That was just the appetizer, now we're gonna get to the meat on the table," before jumping into the banging new shit, "Follow Us," and later "Shutterbug" and "Shine Blockaz."
But it was obvious something was missing. Or rather, someone was missing. That would be you, Mr. Three Stacks. While it was amazing to see the old OutKast cuts performed live (a first for me) it was only half of what it could have been. My colleague Eric Grandy makes a good point when he says there is a "sheer ADHD pleasure" in hearing all your songs as a medley sans all-star guest rappers, but seriously hearing "B.O.B." without your breathless verse just ain't the same.
Big Boi, I understand you're trying to do your own thing as a solo artist, and are having a blast on this tour. (Perhaps too much of a blast, judging by the recent news.) I also get that you, Andre, are doing own thing going right now, designing clothes and making babies with Erykah Badu. But if you drop your own solo record soon (a project rumored to be in the works), think of the possibilities for an arena show. You could do your songs, and Big Boi could do his, then finish off the night with a full-on OutKast performance. Bring along Cee-Lo, Goodie Mob, and the rest of the Dungeon Family too. Y'all would make a mint, the fans would be ecstatic, and the two of you get to soak-up the glory before you end up old and gray and boring like Hall & Oates.
Big Boi, supposedly you've got your next solo record--Daddy Fat Sax: Soul Funk Crusader--already finished and ready to be released later this year. And, supposedly, a new OutKast joint will drop sometime in 2012. But if you could both speed that whole process up a bit, that would be great.
Thanks, hope to see you again soon,