Judging by the sales of Outkast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, it would seem that everyone loves the Dirty South duo. Everyone except for Rosa Parks, whose lawsuit over their use of her name has now sparked a musical response.
But don't worry, they made sure not to use her name this time.
The song "I Can't Wait" by soul singer Sleepy Brown, guest star of "The Way You Move" and part of Outkast's extended family, features both Andre 3000 and Big Boi. Andre opens the track doing something he doesn't do much of on The Love Below: he raps. In his verse, he reveals a growing disillusionment with his place in the hip-hop landscape, including a reference to the lawsuit by Parks.
"I'm in the Southern states/ You know, where all the pimps be/ Dressin' all boogie and carrying ugly cups/ And yes, you're getting booed if your sh-- do not get down/ And yes, you're getting sued by women who didn't get up out their seats on the bus/ And feet, sh-- and rust/ And beatin' is a must/ And we shouldn't lust/ But we do."
Outkast's spokespeople at Arista had no comment on the song.
It's the first reference to the lawsuit Outkast have made in any song. The civil-rights icon sued the group and its record label, Arista, over Outkast's use of her name as the title for a song on 1998's Aquemini, saying it amounted to false advertising. The song isn't about Parks, but it includes the refrain "Ah, huh, hush that fuss/ Everybody move to the back of the bus."
The Supreme Court recently denied the rap duo's petition to have the suit dismissed (see "Outkast Denied By U.S. Supreme Court In Rosa Parks Case").
Parks' attorney, Gregory Reed, refuted reports that their side was close to settling with Outkast and Arista. He said he hoped to get copies of the label's marketing plan to see if Arista used Parks' name or likeness in promoting Aquemini. He added that the lawsuit wasn't anything personal toward the artists.