Tommy Gun Tunes: A Playlist for Gangstas and Gangsters
Steve Miller Band - "The Joker" 1973
Steve Miller may not strike many as being particularly gangsta, but when you can sneak entirely made up words like "pompatus of love" into the American lexicon for 40 years, that had to count for something. Odd as it is, "The Joker" is a largely self-referential song whose legacy has out grown each of the other Miller songs it mentions. It was also used to create one of the most shocking and endlessly entertaining Geto Boys songs "Gangsta of Love." That's gangsta.
Outkast featuring Slimm Calhoun, BlackOwned C-Bone and T-Mo - "Gangsta Shit" 2000
With Stankonia, really the last proper Outkast album, featuring the duo working together at the height of their critical acclaim, creative inventiveness and commercial resources, it shouldn't be surprising that there's a few different versions of "Gangsta Shit" floating around. While we've chosen the album version, being the perfect hybrid of smooth laidback funk traditionalism with that progressive Dungeon Family arrangement, the various mixes in circulation show how nuanced every aspect of Outkast's music at the time truly was. That's gangsta.