Trend It Predicted: Hyperlyrical, Unpretentious Conscious Rap
Modern Examples: Kendrick Lamar "Swimming Pools (Drank)," Big K.R.I.T. "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," Macklemore "Thrift Shop"
On the basest level, OutKast can be described as conscious hip-hop. Their albums are full of artist’s renderings of lost souls struggling to make it in the ATL—from the Jazzy Belles of 1996’s ATLiens to the Susie Screws and Sasha Thumpers of 1998’s Aquemini to the Toilet Tishas of 2000's Stankonia. Though the term has come to be used as a pejorative, describing holier-than-though do-gooders dictating the ways the rest of us should live more like them, in Andre and Antwan’s hands, the form fared much better.
OutKast’s take on conscious rap was a knowing, loving one. This is best typified by one of their earliest singles, 1994’s “Git Up, Git Out”, which finds the Dungeon Family generals combating drug abuse and inertia alongside Gipp and Cee-Lo from the Goodie Mob. The song's advice about getting it together is couched in the artists admitting they're works in progress themselves. Cee-Lo admits to dropping out of school, and Andre and Antwan recount wasting prime schooling years laying about smoking pot.
The down-in-it-but-trying-to-get-out feel of “Git Up, Git Out” as well as later tracks like “Aquemini” and “Slump” laid out an apolitical but hyperlyrical brand of streetwise conscious hip-hop whose most recent arbiters are Big K.R.I.T., whose Live from the Underground picked up where Andre and Big Boi left off, chasing fun-loving club brawlers with songs full of aspirational stories of self-improvement like "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and "If I Fall."
And Kendrick Lamar, whose good kid, m.A.A.d city spoke about inner-city disorder from inside of it. Like recounting the story of a crime spree with dire results from the perspective of those involved rather than preaching about it from a safe distance.