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Outkast

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  • Outkast

  • Outkast

  • Outkast

Albums

Biography All Music Guide

Group Members: Jagger & Jah Yut, Andre 3000 & Trapaholics, Big Boi, Big Boi, DJ Drama, Dre

All Music Guide:

OutKast's blend of gritty Southern soul, fluid raps, and the low-slung funk of their Organized Noize production crew epitomized the Atlanta wing of hip-hop's rising force, the Dirty South, during the mid to late '90s. Along with Goodie Mob, OutKast took Southern hip-hop in bold and innovative directions: less reliance on aggression, more positivity and melody, thicker arrangements, and intricate lyrics. After Dré and Big Boi hit number one on the rap charts with their first single, "Player's Ball," the duo embarked on a run of platinum albums spiked with several hit singles, enjoying numerous critical accolades in addition to their commercial success.

André Benjamin (Dré) and Antwan Patton (Big Boi) attended the same high school in the Atlanta borough of East Point, and several lyrical battles made each gain respect for the other's skills. They formed OutKast and were pursued by Organized Noize Productions, hitmakers for TLC and Xscape. Signed to Antonio "L.A." Reid and Babyface's local LaFace label just after high school, OutKast recorded and released "Player's Ball," then watched the single rise to number one on the rap chart. It slipped from the top spot only after six weeks, was certified gold, and created a buzz for a full-length release. That album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, hit the Top 20 in 1994 and was certified platinum by the end of the year. Dré and Big Boi also won Best New Rap Group of the Year at the 1995 Source Awards.

OutKast returned with a new album in 1996, releasing ATLiens that August; it hit number two and went platinum with help from the gold-selling single "Elevators (Me & You)" (number 12 pop, number one rap), as well as the Top 40 title track. Aquemini followed in 1998, also hitting number two and going double platinum. There were no huge hit singles this time around, but critics lavishly praised the album's unified, progressive vision, hailing it as a great leap forward and including it on many year-end polls. Unfortunately, in a somewhat bizarre turn of events, OutKast was sued over the album's lead single, "Rosa Parks," by none other than the civil rights pioneer herself, who claimed that the group had unlawfully appropriated her name to promote their music, also objecting to some of the song's language. The initial court decision dismissed the suit in late 1999. (The Supreme Court later allowed the lawsuit to proceed; the two parties eventually reached a settlement.)

Dré modified his name to André 3000 before the group issued its hotly anticipated fourth album, Stankonia, in late 2000. Riding the momentum of uniformly excellent reviews and the stellar singles "B.O.B." and "Ms. Jackson," Stankonia debuted at number two and went triple platinum in just a few months; meanwhile, "Ms. Jackson" became their first number one pop single the following February. Both of those major singles and most of the album material -- all but three contributions from Organized Noize, in fact -- were produced by a trio dubbed Earthtone III (aka André 3000, Big Boi, and David "Mr. DJ" Sheats).

2003's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, a double album, debuted at number one and spawned a pair of number one singles: the Dré-fronted "Hey Ya" and the Big Boi-fronted "The Way You Move." Speakerboxxx, more true to OutKast's past, could have been issued as a Big Boi solo album, while The Love Below, a diverse and playful affair, could have been an André 3000 release. Regardless of its dual nature, the set won the 2004 Grammy for Album of the Year. As breakup rumors continued to swirl, the duo returned with the feature film Idlewild -- a musical set in the Prohibition-era South -- and an extremely eclectic soundtrack billed as a proper OutKast album. Big Boi issued a solo album, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty in 2010, while André 3000 produced and/or appeared on a series of tracks by the likes of John Legend ("Green Light"), Beyoncé ("Party"), Lloyd ("Dedication to My Ex [Miss That])," and Young Jeezy ("I Do").

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eMusic Features

1

Six Degrees of Outkast’s Stankonia

By Hua Hsu, Contributor

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

0

Band Aid

By Hua Hsu, Contributor

On September 7th, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati, Ohio, all but closed the book on sampling in hip-hop. A three-judge panel ruled that recent federal laws pertaining to the piracy of digital recordings also apply to the recycling of old songs by producers. Deviating from previous agreements that set up limits and tests for "legal" usages, the new decision aims to tighten the clamps on all lengths and types of samples, from entire riffs… more »

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OutKast: A Career in Review

By Michelangelo Matos, Contributor

The player and the poet; the funk faithful who raises pit bulls and the slightly spacey, guitar-wielding dandy; the championship singles act whose albums work best as whole units: What about OutKast isn't a dichotomy? For their first decade as a recording act, Big Boi (player, pit bull-raiser) and Andre 3000 (aka Dre and 3 Stacks; poet, dandy) pushed every rule about what hip-hop could and couldn't do. They began as prodigies, winning the Source… more »

0

OutKast: A Career in Review

By Michelangelo Matos, Contributor

The player and the poet; the funk faithful who raises pit bulls and the slightly spacey, guitar-wielding dandy; the championship singles act whose albums work best as whole units: What about OutKast isn't a dichotomy? For their first decade as a recording act, Big Boi (player, pit bull-raiser) and Andre 3000 (aka Dre and 3 Stacks; poet, dandy) pushed every rule about what hip-hop could and couldn't do. They began as prodigies, winning the Source… more »

0

Six Degrees of Sly and the Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On

By J. Edward Keyes, Editor-in-Chief

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

0

Six Degrees of Sly and the Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On

By J. Edward Keyes, Editor-in-Chief

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

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