Album: Higher Learning OST
Trend It Predicted: Spoken Word Interludes
Modern Examples: Ty Dolla $ign f/ Nate Howard & Kevin Gates "Intro/These Hoes," Future f/ Big Rube "The Future Is Now," Lupe Fiasco "Ayesha Says"
Blink and you miss it, but “Phobia,” OutKast’s offering for the soundtrack to John Singleton's racially charged 1995 drama Higher Learning is not only one of the great lesser known ‘Kast joints, but also one of the earliest appearances of Dungeon Family alum and Society of Soul member Big Rube.
Rube’s gripping spoken word intro immediately drags the listener into the mindset of destructive, baseless fearfulness at the heart of the movie and the rest of the song, nearly besting Big Boi and Andre’s verses in sheer unmitigated directness. Rube and ‘Kast would link up time and again for thoughtful album centerpieces like Aquemini’s “Liberation” and Stankonia’s title track.
The spoken word steez showcased on OutKast’s Rube tracks was not lost on one Kanye West, who showed up on Russell Simmons' Def Poetry show a few times to kick spoken word versions of early solo career hits "All Falls Down" and "Gold Digger" and tapped G.O.O.D. Music affiliate Malik Yusef for the poignant, poetic outro to 2005’s “Crack Music.” Ye's stream-of-consciousness mid-show speeches on the Yeezus tour are also a modern day analogue.
Ty Dolla $ign, Wale, and many more have released works that feature similar spoken word interludes as well, and Rube himself popped up on the intro to second generation Dungeon Family torchbearer Future’s major label debut album Pluto in 2012.