Artwork by Adam Sarpalius
As 2009, and the decade come to a close, PMA will be looking back at our favorite songs of the last ten years. We will update a list with 75 empty slots until we reach that song that changed everything. You can keep track of this list by keeping an eye on this page. We make these lists in hopes that you guys will chime in the comments and share your favorite musical moments of the noughties.
It starts with bell-like synths lightly tinkling as Andre 3000 whispers a three count. A five second lull before a five minute storm, a gentle introduction to the bombshell set to rock your brain. When the beat does drop, it lives up to the song’s title, dropping with enough force to rock a city. Yes, Outkast occasionally pauses to let you draw your breath (“Hot!”). But even if you follow the cues, “B.O.B.” will leave you breathless.
It’s a standout track on what may very well be my favorite album of the last ten years, marked by the urgency – nay, the ferocity – with which Big Boi and Andre 3k spit on the track. By 2000, the dynamic duo had been around for years (they won a Source award for Best New Rap Group in ’95) but “B.O.B.” showcased a potency on glimpsed on their first three records. More radio-friendly than earlier singles, “B.O.B.” offers itself to the masses without making concessions: the still intricate beat is broken into digestible nuggets, peppered with memorable lines, signature flows, and more than one singable chorus.
“B.O.B.” refuses to be characterized – it’s rap, it’s hip hop, it’s “pop punk music, electric revival.” But how many rap songs do you know with extended guitar solos? In comparison to the repetitive sample-heavy beats that dominate the airwaves today, “B.O.B.” is a treat, a constantly changing sonic landscape that yields more to the ear on each subsequent listen. Nearly ten years later, I can’t help hoping that this – this brilliantly packed masterpiece – is still the future of hip hop.