The 98 Best Songs of 1998: Pop's Weirdest Year

In 1998, boundaries blew open and new genres were invented each week. We look back at the best, brightest and weirdest from a pivotal year in pop

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4. OutKast, "Rosa Parks"

A booty-hop avant-funk chant driven by acoustic guitar and a harmonica solo, played by Andre 3000's Baptist-pastor stepfather. OutKast didn't play coy in the lead single from their classic Aquemini – "Rosa Parks" aimed for maximum ATLien shock effect, from the audacious title on down. At a time when the East and West Coasts were still dismissive of Atlanta rap, OutKast came provocative, distorting and parodying notions of how the South was supposed to sound, yet inviting all to bump and slump to the back of the bus. (This was where the rest of the country first heard the past participle "crunk" – it turned out there was a lot more crunkness where that came from.) The boho poet Andre 3000 and the smooth operator Big Boi go together like syrup on yams, just another sign that the Dirty Dirty was way ahead of everywhere else. As they once warned, "It won't be over till that big girl from Decatur sang," and "Rosa Parks" is where she sang. After this, there was no stopping OutKast. Rock & roll, indubitably.

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