As fans and consumers of music, we absolutely cannot help but compare artists to one another. Much like sports fans, we’ll debate, dissect and cross-examine our favorites just because they’re good, regardless of genre or subjectivity of craft.
It’s mostly fun, sometimes out of pocket, but can be interesting.
Last week (Nov. 26), in an interview with Nessa of Hot 97, Lil Baby and Gunna were brought up in one of these hypotheticals. This time, however, in comparison to possibly the most legendary hip-hop duo of all-time: Outkast.
Halfway into the segment, Nessa informs Lil Baby that there have been talks online agreeing that he and Gunna have an “OutKast vibe.” She went on to explain how the clash of their styles outside of the booth, yet symmetry in, is similar to how Big Boi and Andre 3000 were during their hay day. Lil Baby responded saying,
“That’s a great title, I never heard of that though. I can see where that would come from.”
Up until that point, the Street Gossip rapper and Gunna had a string of collaborations together and even released a joint studio album, Drip Harder, which landed at the No. 4 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
There’s no wonder why people started associating them with the best tandem in history — everything they touch goes up and their chemistry is unmistakable.
Their back-and-forth on “Life Goes On” (feat. Lil Uzi Vert) which appeared on Baby’s Harder Than Ever spent six weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
Their single “Oh Ok” featuring Young Thug is well over 37 million views on YouTube and their contributions on Young Thug’s “Chanel (Go Get It),” was one of the brightest spots on Thugger’s Slime Language.
Lil Baby’s Street Gossip, which dropped last week (Nov 30), featured the latest of the magic they cook up on the single, “Ready,” and of course, didn’t disappoint.
The frequency of their collabs and the consistency in which they slap may have you searching for the best thing since, but I think we should pump the breaks when comparing them to the legends Andre 3000 and Big Boi.
Since breaking onto to scene with Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik in 1994, the duo from Atlanta not only went platinum from the jump but changed the landscape of hip-hop forever.
While tempting, the reason why the comparison between Lil Baby and Gunna to Big Boi and Andre 3000 is a false equivalency is that they both operate and offer completely different things. Lil Baby and Gunna have the same exact flow package.
The appeal of hearing them together is the trading of bars. “Sold Out Dates” is a perfect example. The potential Song of the Year candidate give you one artist after another and unless you can distinguish the difference in their voices you’d never know who was who.
What makes them so raw is that they, when it seems like there’s no possible way, continually to one-up each other. Their trade-off is seamless and is the secret to their chemistry.
Big Boy and Andre 3000, on the other hand, play off of each other rather than synchronize their sounds. While they too can go back and forth in an array of bars, they compliment the difference in each other’s styles instead.
Arguably one their best works as a group, “Ms. Jackson,” for example, features Andre 3000 leading the chorus, melodies and keeping the groove of the song together with Big Boi providing the narrative via scorching sixteens.
Three stacks got a verse in, but mainly one provides what the other doesn’t. For the most part, you’re getting much of the same content with both Lil Baby and Gunna.
Gunna and Lil Baby, however, do belong in the conversation of greatest duos simply off their success rate. You’d be hard-pressed to find more than one collaboration they have together that wasn’t at least digestible.
Alongside Wiz & Curren$y, G Herbo & Lil Bibby, and maybe even a Drake & Future, two young guns from Atlanta have proven in a short period of time that they’re a force to be reckoned with.
They’re not quite Outkast yet, but with growth like this, who knows what their ceiling is going to be?