4. Outkast "Da Art of Storytellin' (Part 2)" (1998)
Better Than Original?: Toss-up
Whether or not the apocolypse of "Da Art of Storytellin' (Part 2)" has anything to do with groupies Suzy Screw and her friend Sasha Thumper of "Da Art of Storytellin' (Part 1)" and the manner in which Fat Sax and 3 Stacks treat them-see: having one perform oral sex in a parking lot, and rewarding her with a Lil' Wil CD-is up for question. What isn't up for question is that this song is about some kind of apocolypse, and is the sonic inverse of what came before it. Where "(Part 1)" is a laid back, groove-driven story rap about a summer of sex with two memorable groupies who end up with less-than-desirable fates, "(Part 2)" is a ominous, gothic, grimey sprint through two verses, in which Andre and Big Boi rush through Atlanta to seek refuge from the end of the world, and record one last song as everything falls apart around them (that song, of course, being the one you're listening to). Not only did both tracks feature brilliant and range-demonstrating production on the part of Mr. DJ, and what's handily the duo's darkest track to this day, but also some of their most memorable lines about rap's perception of them and what they're supposed to be, as well as their underlying feminist (and environmentalist, kind of) politics. As Andre put it: "Omega ni**a/I.F.O.s are landing in Decatur/Hope I'm not over your head/but if so you will catch on later." Not only did everyone catch on to something about this as soon as Aquemini dropped-mostly, that it's indisputably brilliant, whether or not you can decipher their sometimes opaque ideas-but they've all stayed on since.