EWA100 - #63. Outkast - Player's Ball

63. Outkast - Player's Ball (LaFace/Arista. 1994. From the LP Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik)

Raven Mack: Man, remember this shit? Back before Dre was a 3000 model and looked like he might still be apt to slap a gold front onto an incisor tooth or two. I am all for tolerance and the general accepting of other people's idiosyncracies, camouflaging personal mental issues as alternative lifestyles, but if in doing so I am encouraging a whole generation of potential "Player's Ball"s to turn into a slew of "Hey Ya"s that get Jackson Pollock-effected metrosexuals with white belts to get all gleeful, then I don't do not don't no can't allow it want to tolerate that shit.
This song is by southerners and mentions Cadillacs. There is something about the humidity of the south that has warped the way my brain thinks, sort of like a record left on the front seat at the end of July all day long with the windows up and no stupid sunblocker cardboard thing in the windshield, and because of this slight warping, songs by people who drawl rap and talk about Cadillacs will always entertain me. I even like that stupid Richboy song "Throw Some Ds". Plus Richboy looks like a fetal alcohol syndrome kid with his eyes too far apart like a mountain goat. Dre was such a good-looking promising youngster, and he and Big Boi perfectly complemented each other, with similar flows but different angles, like a good back court tandem during weekend basketball tournaments. But then Dre went Badu-pussy juice crazy and decided he wanted to go play double A baseball instead, which in this analogy means he wanted to be crazy black dude white people love making weird music ala Prince or Sly Stone, except Dre's weird music is not so varied, just basically a dude playing piano and talking about how shit stinks, literally, and hoping that's enough to get over.
And it does. You know why? People are retarded. So Andre is the greatest rapper ever then probably, because he is homogenized and palatable and has a very patented voice that'll go from making cartoons to jingles for Honda Hybrids to eventually doing the aural part of interpretative art performances with Shepard Fairey graphics and concrete sculptures by Lee Quinones or some other full-of-shit aging graffiti dude.
I have "Player's Ball" on 12-inch single, and I pull it from time to time and can't seem to enjoy it because of what Outkast is, but also love it too much to go get some coin off ebay for it. Outkast is a tough one in the Expert Whiteboy Analysis dissection, because it's pretty obvious to even the most amateur of whiteboys that Outkast's greatness has decreased almost with each album, but most definitely from the start of their career to now, with them for some reason getting more and more Spin music critic jockriding the shittier they get. But well-educated mulattos love them some Outkast, I think because Andre might be the voice of the well-educated mulatto generation, with him referencing Whole Foods and foreign countries and shit like that, and with the whole point of being an expert whiteboy knowing Tha Rillest hip hop there is to know, mulattos - regardless of how white they may act from their affluent upbringing - sort of have a trump card in Tha Rillest quotient with whatever bit of black blood they have in their arteries.

Mike Dikk: This is kind of a hard one for me to write about. On one hand, it was a song at the time that really broadened my horizons to southern rap music outside of The Geto Boys and Rap-A-Lot. On the other hand, if you were to hear this song for the first time today, it might sound, dare I say, dated. Not in a bad way. More in the way that since the release of this song, there’s been a good number just like it, making it not as special as it once was.
When I first heard it though, it was completely different from anything I was used to. Sure, it sounds faintly West Coast, but not to the point where you would ever think it was an actual West Coast rap song. I never got around to buying the full length, or the single for that matter. I never got around to saving up enough lunch money, but I was still a fan.
Listening to this now, it’s hilarious how far removed Outkast and more so Andre 3000 is from their humble beginnings. I mean, Big Boi is basically the same dude, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if his current beats were as laid back, soulful and funky as this one. I never really thought about it until right now, but Outkast has a seriously fierce instrumental catalog. Even if you delve into their ever-evolving Futuristic Outer Space Blaxsploitation phases, most of that shit still knocks.
You know, that could really be the Expert Whiteboy’s real problem with Outkast. I like a ton of different music. Some of which I keep a secret from most people, just because I feel if I told people in real life that I liked a certain thing, they’d think I was just saying that to be eclectic or different. I try to let my actions define me as an asshole, not my musical tastes. I don’t like the song “Hey Ya” one bit, mainly because it’s presented as some sort of hybrid rap song, because it was made by someone who is most famous for being a rapper. If you were to strip the vocals and tell me Four Tet or Nightmares on Wax did the track, I could probably get into it though. Such is the peril of the Expert Whiteboy. Always contradicting themselves and kicking their own asses.
I got way off topic since this was supposed to be about the song “Player’s Ball” and not a deep look into how I can off-handedly defend my appreciation of Outkast without sounding like your average cracker. Chances are you’ve heard “Players Ball” before though. It’s most likely your mom’s least favorite Outkast single, which should help you figure out which one it is.

Download: Outkast - Player's Ball

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