Andy .. for a different style try the new Outkast cd !
Mike wrote a fantastic "review" on Bed Board .. will paste it ...
To me it is about roots and influences.
The Big Boi album Speakerboxx is about big funk influences , it is Clinton and Bootsy at their funkiest , its the Ohio Players , EWF , Isleys etc...the whole damn funk bunch - he actually outfunks Dr.Dre.
But it is The Love Below that makes it a classic and such an important album , less accessible , less obvious and in places difficult and challenging.
Andre 3000 is the first artist to take the Prince sound and The George Clinton sound and truly update it and make it relevant for the new millenium.
The Prince influence is important - the pop charts have been full for the past year with obvious MJ influences , the Prince ones are there as well only they are a little more subtle , but no less influential - listen to the mix of The Future doing the rounds and listen to the original and you will see how ahead of it`s time the original was (and it was a throwaway track on a soundtrack album , other artists could have made a career out of that track) .
The other point about Outkast that is significant (and why they are such an important band and have produced such an important album) is that this is their sixth album (or 7th if you count the greatest hits) and it is undoubtedly their best.
For most bands their best is their first or second album ,few get the opportunity artistically or commercially to ever better their first couple of albums but Outkast have been building up to this and their back catalogue thus far has been seriously undervalued - in this there is another Prince parallel , Purple Rain was his sixth album where we all discovered him , but far from being a new arrival he had already delivered an astonishing body of work that redefined funk and soul and pop.
If you listen to the hype Coldplay and The Darkness matter , for me Outkast are the most important band on the planet - ignore them at your peril !