Album: Speakerboxx/The Love Below
Trend It Predicted: Frank, Self-Effacing Discussion of Relationship Struggles
Modern Examples: Drake "Marvin's Room," Kanye West "Blood on the Leaves," Nas "Bye Baby"
Big Boi’s Speakerboxx was many things: the anchor to Andre’s left-field flight of fancy The Love Below, an elite-level funk record dressed in a rap record’s clothing, the bridge between two generations of Georgia rap, a rebuttal to anyone suggesting him and Andre weren't equally matched as lyricists, etc. But it never gets enough credit for its grown up assessments of the artist’s relationship struggles.
Following up on Stankonia's "Ms. Jackson," Speakerboxx standouts like “Unhappy” and “The Rooster” delved into the logistics of a strained relationship in ways hip-hop often doesn’t, starting at the end of the argument and detailing the stress around what happens next without playing the muckraking blame game. “The Rooster” opens with Big Boi pissing off the mother of his children after a night on the sofa and waking up to take care of the kids alone, a task that involves more getting peed on than he’d bargained for.
The song’s honest, occasionally emasculating take on relationship politics is one that has been revisited over the years by artists like Kanye, on bleak, wounded breakup albums 808s & Heartbreak and to a lesser extent, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Drake on 2012’s moody, dejected Take Care and Nas, who famously posed with ex-wife Kelis’ mint green wedding dress on the same year’s Life Is Good and mourned the end of the relationship on the harrowing “Bye Baby.” Outkast's delicate touch with regard to matters of the heart paved the way for their descendents to pursue an almost self-flagellating honesty on the mic.