You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can't predict the weather. That's gospel.
Sure, well: Coachella is about to try. The festival has booked Outkast, lifting Big Boi and André 3000 surreptitiously out of a long winter hibernation and plopping them on a stage in the middle of the California desert. You might have been skeptical (and so have we), but hey—stankier things have happened.
So we're planning our own picnic. Here's what the 'kast's first reunion setlist should look like.
1. "Gasoline Dreams" (from Stankonia)
A'right, a'right, a'right, a'right, a'right, a'right, a'right, a'right, a'right, a'right, a'right, a'right, a'right, a'right, a'right. *clears throat*
It can only start here. Stankonia's opening cut is a smoldering explosion of squealing funk, Hendrixian guitars, and rants about drug wars and pollution. It's the sort of party-starter that overturns the party that's been happening thus far and lights it on fire.
2. "Bowtie" (from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below)
This is why they call Big Boi the Gangsta Mack. Did you know they call him that? Apparently they call him that. He says so in this song. This Speakerboxx cut is as funky as any song that references "gators creeping, crawling oh-so-wicked across that floor" ought to be; it'll keep them bouncing.
3. "Player's Ball" (from Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik)
If André and Antwan are serious about bringing it way back, there will be no excuse for not dropping this 1993 nostalgia bomb. This is the only Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik cut that's really needed, and it'll sufficiently take things down a notch before...
4. "Morris Brown" (from Idlewild)
...that is, before the entire Morris Brown College Marching Wolverines shuffle onstage along with guest vocalists Scar and Sleepy Brown to nail the hyperkinetic marching band banger that makes the otherwise spotty Idlewild soundtrack worth owning. Big Boi winks on the "And everybody wanna know what really goin' on / Is you and 3000 still makin' songs?" couplet.
5. "?" (from Stankonia)
We're pretty sure this aggressively strange, interlude-length 'Dré tantrum has never been performed live. But it's a fine opportunity for André to prove he hasn't lost his emceeing skills in his years away from the game (if his "Pink Matter" verse hasn't already done as much), and what's the point of an Outkast reunion if it isn't going to get weird?
6. "Shutterbugg" (from Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty)
Big Boi brought a hefty number of Outkast songs (or medleys) along for his tour in 2010, so we're sneaking this solo number into the set while André takes a deserved breather, nibbling his lightly salted vegan hush puppies or doing whatever on God's earth it is that André 3000 does backstage.
7. "Aquemini" (from Aquemini)
Another oldie, and another opportunity for André to resurrect his rhyming chops. The title, by the way, signifies the joining of André and Big Boi's Zodiac signs—Aquarius + Gemini = Aquemini—and with a chorus like "Nothing is for sure / Nothing is for certain / Nothing lasts forever / But until they close the curtain / It's him and I, Aquemini," this is practically the soundtrack for the reunion that we so badly want to believe is true.
8. "So Fresh, So Clean" (from Stankonia)
Duh. Can we formally request that Justin Bieber make a cameo onstage for the "I love who you are, love who you ain't / You're so Anne Frank / Let's hit the attic to hide out for 'bout two weeks" bit?
9. "Ms. Jackson" (from Stankonia)
On second thought we really wouldn't mind if Outkast just performed Stankonia in its entirety in sequence. We also wouldn't mind if a full chorus of bulldogs materializes onstage for the "You say it's puppy love / We say it's full-grown" barks.
10. "Happy Valentine's Day" (from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below)
It's an Outkast track in name only, but it signifies the best of The Love Below's deliriously horny Prince tributes, and with the right lineup of live instrumentalists and backup singers on hand, that climax would be delicious in a festival setting.
11. "ATLiens" (from ATLiens)
No, we didn't forget 1996's ATLiens exists. We just think it works better as a single album rather than a handful of live selections. No matter—the gently intergalactic title track served as a primer on Organized Noize's production chops, and is there anything more nineties than that "Throw ya hands in the ay-errr" chorus?
12. "The Whole World" (from Big Boi and Dre Present...Outkast)
Before Killer Mike even dropped his debut in 2003, he was guesting on 'kast tracks. We're shipping him out to Indio to reprise his verse on "The Whole Word," the then-new track worth remembering from 2001's Big Boi and Dre Present compilation.
13. "Rosa Parks" (from Aquemini)
Aquemini's most recognizable single drew the ire of Rosa Parks herself when it arrived in 1998. It's also got a hell of a harmonica solo and a southern-fried acoustic loop that's almost stupidly suited to an outdoor festival setting.
14. "The Way You Move" (from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below)
Okay, fine. Happy now?
15. "Mainstream" (from ATLiens)
We're taking the set's closing arc in a moody direction, so here's a deep cut. Is this one even possible? Guest star Khujo is a member of Goodie Mob, but who on earth is T-Mo and what has he been up to since ATLiens and how might we pluck him out of the wilderness of 1996 and onto a stage in Indio, California? This wouldn't be a fantasy set without a few fantasies.
16. "SpottieOttieDopaliscious" (from Aquemini)
Five horn instrumentalists mosey onstage for this wide-eyed slow groove as André chronicles the duo's erstwhile exploits at Atlanta's Charles Disco and Hollywood Courts and the sun sets over the Coachella Valley and ten thousand stoned hipsters stare wide-eyed into the night, cursing that there's no Instagram filter to capture the dulcet tones of Sleepy Brown's pipes.
17. "B.O.B." (from Stankonia)
Stankonia's only flaw, including its draggy final third, is pacing. Put simply: how do you plop "B.O.B."—the freakiest, funkiest, maybe best rap song of the millennium—in the middle of a record and expect anything to follow it?
We're righting that wrong. "B.O.B." closes the set. Big Boi could pull a "We Didn't Start the Fire" and update the lightning-speed political and cultural references for the near-decade the duo's been away. But maybe we'd rather he not. And don't pull the thang out, unless you plan to bang.
Yes, we left off "Hey Ya!" Get over it. This is Coachella, not your 2004 Bar Mitzvah.