It’s no secret that Outkast is very close to my heart and now the group that put Atlanta on the map will be the subject of a pop culture college course!
Regina Bradley, an Armstrong State University college professor, will be teaching a course this semester on Andrè 3000 and Big Boi, the most ‘spottieottiedopaliscious’ duo ever to rock a mic.
Armstrong State University is located in Savannah, Georgia and several Savannah are news outlets are reporting that Professor Bradley’s upper level English courses will be taking a scholarly look at landmark Southern hip-hop duo Outkast.
As you know, Outkast has deep connections to Savannah as it is the birthplace of ‘ATLien’ Antwan ‘Big Boi’ Patton, who paid homage to his hometown on “Aquemini” (Outkast’s third album) in a track titled ‘West Savannah’.
[Sidebar: I’ve told y’all this before but for those who don’t know, the term ‘ATLien’ was created by the duo to describe someone who ‘landed’ in Atlanta and now consider it home. But I digress.]
Savannah loves Outkast about as much as Atlanta does and Professor Bradley, who has a Ph.D. and was a Nasir Jones hip-hop fellow at Harvard University’s Hiphop Archive & Research Institute, is honoring the group by studying it.
“My areas of interest are African-American literature and popular culture,” said Bradley, a professor in Armstrong State University’s Languages, Literature and Philosophy department.
“I try to find ways to connect those… Often, students get most of their information, their outlook from how they engage in popular culture.”
Bradley says the course will focus on how Outkast’s “ideas about the South and southernness seep into other Southern writers.” Throughout the course, students will listen to and analyze Outkast’s albums as well as others in the genre and will examine contemporary movements like Black Lives Matter and how hip-hop can be used for political expression.
“Their final project is doing a paper that’s 12-15 pages … for what I call a ‘nerdy hip-hop review,’” Bradley said.
“They’ll take an album of their choice — preferably an Outkast album — and give a discussion of the themes and what they hear.”
Bradley is also a huge Outkast fan, as she grew up in South Georgia in the 90’s, and the course is in some ways an extension of her passion project: a forthcoming book about the Grammy award winning southern hip-hop duo.
Outkast hasn’t released an album in about a decade, but their influence is still undeniable. Often imitated but NEVER duplicated, the ‘two dope boys in a Cadillac’ are a part of Atlanta history that will always be cherished by those of us who lived through it.
That being said, Bradley’s course has already hit full capacity and she’s looking forward to taking an in-depth look into the group with her students.
“For the folks who are just as in love with Outkast as I am, I also want them to feel like they can contribute to the class — that’s particularly important,” Bradley said.
“I also don’t want to overlook or shun the folks who aren’t familiar with hip-hop at all. I’m pretty sure I have a couple of folks in there who have no clue who Outkast is or don’t listen to hip-hop at all, which is why they’re there — they want to learn something different.”