Last month, you may remember a certain legendary rap duo being treated as if they were an American Idol act at Coachella. Much of the criticism of Outkast’s first performance together in 8 years at Coachella revolved around the inattentiveness of its crowd, which was believed to be the main cause of Andre 3000’s evident frustration as he spat off the remainder of his performance with his back to the crowd.
This week, there seemed to be a glimmer of redemption in the air. Wednesday evening in New York City, the hip-hop duo performed at Adult Swim’s Upfront event , playing to an invite-only corporate crowd at New York’s Terminal 5, its fifth official performance after the two Coachella weekends and performances in Georgia and Florida.
After Adult Swim previewed its new and returning slate of shows with a short video projected onto a screen in front of the stage, Andre 3000 and Big Boi turned up and proceeded to barely acknowledge one another for the remainder of the performance (awkward). Outkast performed the hits “Kryptonite” and “The Way You Move” and also “Prototype” followed by “Hey Ya!” for a little over an hour to a 3000-capacity room. The pair often occupied separate parts of the small stage, passing one another at the center but never glancing or smiling during the intersection like some duos or groups do when they perform. At the end of the performance, Big Boi and Andre 3000 each said a few words about how humbled they were to be performing 20 years after Outkast’s debut album, with Andre 3000 shouting out Tyler, The Creator — watching from the crowd, mouthing along to each song in awe — than to his longtime partner, Big Boi. So, with five performances into Outkast’s comeback, the duos awkward stage presence is raising more eyebrows than hands in the air.