Words: Dylan Murphy
The last two years have been defined by frayed social connections, so we’ve decided to remain optimistic and look towards the next 12 months as a time for peace and reconciliation. Namaste.
Often, we long for the things we can’t have, but with the earth’s temperature rising and seemingly little being done about it we might see people do the unexpected and the word “Yolo” reemerge out of its millennial cave. If I have to bow out whilst confronting tsunami-level tidal waves along the Liffey in a weather-beaten dingy without seeing some of my favourite acts ever perform, Shell and BP are going to catch these hands. I’d like to think that after two years of intermittently staring at our house mates and sticking a pole down our throat every time we want to inhale a pint on a Friday that we’re all beginning to realise that life is too short to pretend that Doc Martins are comfy “once you break them in”. Likewise, I started to think about all the acts who could potentially get the gang back together for one off shows or records as a last hoorah.
Most of this is speculative and grounded in my airy lockdown daydreaming, so suffice to say it’s only a bit of fun. What I will say though is, it is objectively correct and anyone who asks where Oasis is will be made to walk the plank when the waves do come.
It’s been over 15 years since Outkast released a body of work. André 3000 once said “if [OutKast] never do another album, I’m totally fine with that,” and the Atlanta native even went as far to say as their 2014 reunion shows felt like a “sellout” with the rapper struggling to relate with older material. So unfortunately, the odds of Big Boi and three stacks hitting the stage again together are low to say the least. However, (especially in the last few years) stranger things have happened and while André 3000 appears to be in his element wandering the hallways of America with a flute, he emerged from his relative slumber with a jaw-dropping verse on Kanye’s ‘Life of the Party’. Noting the “unfortunate” feud between Kanye and Drake that resulted in a diss bar on the track, André said in a statement that he wanted to work with people that “inspired” him.
Whether his words moved the pair or it was just a coincidence, Drake and West squashed their beef shortly after. Amongst the egos, Andre Benjamin acted as a spiritual peacemaker and with the rest of his statement signalling his intent to work with Tyler, The Creator, Kendrick and Jay-Z and Big Boi’s pen game still going strong in the release of 2021’s Big Sleepover they could still yet find where new Outkast material fits in the world.
It’s been over 10 years since Kanye West and Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne dropped. Since then West changed his name to Ye and he infamously fell out with Jay. Moreover, his career became synonymous with chaos, broken promises and controversy. While these were common fixtures in the pre-Trump era the Chicago legend usually had exceptional redemption stories and top tier albums to win back the hearts of his audience. Whereas, by 2020 he had erased any remaining good will that existed by coming to the defence of abusers, nonsensical outbursts and more often-than-not sub par music.
2021 saw a return to form of sorts alongside the typical caveats and Kanyeisms. DONDA‘s critical reception was warmer than his previous two releases, however, he undoubtedly alienated many with his support for alleged abuser Marilyn Manson and defence of DaBaby after his homophobic remarks. On the flip side, his vulnerability around his marriage breakdown and reconciliation with Jay-Z on ‘Jail‘ provided promise for more grounded music. Hell, they went as far as to tease the reunion on the track with Jay saying, “This might be the return of The Throne (Throne) Hova and Yeezus, like Moses and Jesus”. It wouldn’t land without drama, but a reunion of two of hip hop’s titans isn’t impossible.
Coming up as part of a collective comes with some compromises that aren’t always as obvious from the get go. Being able to pool resources when you are fresh to the game is appealing for sure. Likewise, making a splash is often easier as part of a wider group and comes faster than as an individual. However, as was the case for west coast collective Odd Future, for individuals, it’s hard to escape being painted with the same brush as your peers.
It’s not hard to see why Frank distanced himself from a rowdy outfit who rapped about raping women. What’s more is, as Earl and Tyler followed their own respective careers it’s clear the more they pulled away from the group the more their own artistry came into full focus. The former, who was subject of a ‘Free Earl’ campaign from fans after he was sent to reform boarding school in Samoa by his mother has since turned away from the intense spotlight he found as a teen and honed his at-times paranoid, other times wandering brand of introspective and abstract style and in the process earned talismanic underground status. Tyler too has found his place on the other side of the spectrum, treading a similarly totemic path to the likes of Pharrell making his own GOLF clothing line a household name for Gen-Z, winning GRAMMYs, starting a successful festival of his own and maturing in the process.
Having been over six years since Tyler confirmed what many already knew about OFWGKTA, it feels as though enough time has passed for a reunion. It’ll be ten years this March since the video for ‘Oldie’ dropped and what a way it would be to mark a decade of their influence. It’s not unlikely as we may think either. Earl and Tyler have shared photos hanging out in the past couple of years, Domo Genesis featured on last year’s CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST and in the aftermath of his FlowerBoy rollout Tyler brought out Frank at a show.
We get it, this is all speculative, but being on good terms, being visually confident in their own skin and carving out their own lane might be the essential ingredients to a lighthearted get together, for old times sake.
In peak lockdown, daydreams about the first full capacity, ear-drum bursting, sweat-inducing gig were the glimmer of hope that kept many of us going. At the time, rooms full of hundreds of people felt unfathomable and in my quest for total and utter escapism I drew up numerous imaginary events showcasing retired artists, new supergroups and just about anything else exciting I could think of. One act that I couldn’t get out of my head was Rusangano Family. Though they’ve went on a hiatus of sorts and are following their own respective paths as artists or building up Narolane Records with Denise Chaila, as one of the country’s most infectious acts, we’d love to see a one-off performance as a celebration of just how joyful music can be. As with all the acts on the list we respect their journey, but our nostalgia senses are well and truly tingling at the prospect of a tent at Electric Picnic being full to the brim, bouncing to ‘Lights On’.
Ok, so this reunion was set for last year, but you know, just 2021 things. The tour was set to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their seminal album The Score and would’ve marked their first show together in over 15 years after internal squabbling and a subsequent fall out that led to the group splitting in 2006. Out of all our inclusions, this is the only one we know for sure that is happening with dates across February and March this year.