Study Guide

B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)

B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad) Introduction

In a Nutshell

Big Boi and André 3000 of OutKast have taken the "road less traveled" pretty much their entire musical career, while most other rappers work hard to flaunt a hardcore street image. Would anyone ever have heard of 50 Cent if he hadn't been shot in the face?

But OutKast has gone the other direction. Dré and Big Boi had the street cred when they first hit the music scene in 1993 with "Player's Ball," but over time they slowly backed away from that standard rap image. As André explains, "we're from the hood, but that's not where our music stayed" (source).

While promoting Stankonia in 2000, André wore a platinum wig and a flowery dress. While it's hard to imagine many other people pulling this off, it's nearly impossible to imagine that any other rapper could wear a flowery dress and still be respected by their hip-hop colleagues the next day.

But André 3000's not like other rappers.

So, when "B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)" hit speakers in 2000, and the Iraq War ramped up in 2003, OutKast had Americans doing a double-take with the song and asking, are André 3000 and Big Boi psychic, or what? 

Nope, this song wasn't written about George W. Bush and the Iraq War, and it also came well after the First Gulf War of 1991. So are André 3000 and Big Boi psychic, or what? 

Well, "Bombs Over Baghdad" doesn't have all that much to do with Iraq. But we can say that its lyrics range from the hilarious to the hard-hitting, and that the song stayed popular long enough to make a whole bunch of "best songs" lists. We'll get you started toward understanding why this song has only gotten better with age.

About the Song

ArtistOutKast
Year2000
LabelLaFace/Arista
Writer(s)André Benjamin (André 3000), Antwan Patton (Big Boi)
Producer(s)Organized Noize
Musician(s)André Benjamin (André 3000), Antwan Patton (Big Boi)
Learn to playTablature
AlbumStankonia

Music Video

Influences on OutKast

James Brown
George Clinton's Parliament and Funkadelic
Sly and the Family Stone
Earth Wind and Fire
Marvin Gaye
Jimi Hendrix
Ultramagnetic MC's
Public Enemy
De La Soul
A Tribe Called Quest
Squarepusher

Influenced by OutKast

Kanye West
Lil Wayne
Kidz in the Hall
Janelle Monae
Nappy Roots
Fonzworth Bentley

B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad) Resources

Albums

Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below (2003)
OutKast did the unthinkable by releasing this double album in which Big Boi and André essentially worked separately on their own records. But OutKast managed to pull it off, as both albums included huge hits like André's "Hey Ya!" and Big Boi's "The Way You Move."

Stankonia (2000)
The album that features "B.O.B.," "Ms. Jackson," and "So Fresh, So Clean" is an incredible album overall, beyond just the commercial hits.

Aquemini (1998)
This album features the hit song "Rosa Parks," which also put OutKast in a legal battle with the civil rights leader the track was named after.The real Rosa Parks objected to having her name included in the song's title, but the judge ruled in OutKast's favor. Outside of the courtroom, the song proved that OutKast could be incredibly successful commercially while also gaining critical praise.

ATLiens (1996)
This album really proved that OutKast could mature beyond their first album, which centered on many of the themes that other rappers were rapping about at the time, like cars, girls, and the hood. Their sophomore album saw OutKast blending R&B, funk, and hip-hop in new and unique ways.

Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)
This was OutKast's debut record, which featured their first hit single "Player's Ball." OutKast represent their Southern roots to the extreme on this album.

Images

Stankonia's Album Cover
The album cover features Dré and Big Boi posing in front of an American flag painted black.

Movies & TV

Idlewild (2006)
Yes, OutKast also starred in their own feature film musical set in the Prohibition-era South.

Websites

Official OutKast Website
Stay up to date on what André and Big Boi are up to these days.

Rolling Stone
OutKast's artist page on the Rolling Stone website.

Video & Audio

Music Video for "B.O.B."
This combines all the typical elements of a hip-hop music video, like the girls, the cars, and the bling. Except this video is on psychedelics.Apparently, André told the director of the music video, David Meyers, "I really like fractals" (source). Working with this idea, the video is mostly colored in bright greens, purples, reds, blues, and yellows. You gotta love the opening sequence with André running around the housing projects while being chased by a bunch of kids.

Rage Against the Machine's Remix of OutKast's "B.O.B."
Rage does a nice remix of "B.O.B." here that downplays the explosive beat, instead centering on a heavy guitar part over André and Big Boi's vocals.