Georgia’s mightiest rap duo has left a rap legacy on wax. I’ve taken the liberty of ranking the many classic albums in the discography of OutKast. I already know some die hard fans will disagree with some rankings, but the true fun in this list is reveling in the consistent excellence of their albums. From Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik to Speakerboxx/The Love Below, there is no denying that cohesive and timeless albums are to be expected, but the question of the day: which OutKast album is the GREATEST?
7. Idlewild (2006)
Now everybody knows that this isn’t truly an Outkast album but for the sake of the list I will still mention it. The Idlewild album was coupled with the movie (let’s forget about that too) and billed more so as a soundtrack, so we can be more lenient with it. The album had some inventive and refreshing cuts like: “Mighty O,” “Hollywood Divorce,” “The Train” and “Idlewild Blues.” It just lacked the luster of all previous albums before it. The hiatus the duo was about to take was truly apparent, as it seemed that the album was thrown together just because of the movie.
6. Big Boi and Dre Present… Outkast (2001)
Once again this album is put on the list simply because it’s apart of their discography, but the footprint it left would be major to the rap culture. After only 8 years in the industry the world saw Outkast release a greatest hits album. Filled with classic cuts from the previous 4 albums, what else was there left to do? They released 3 new tracks, one of which earned a Grammy and helped spawn rap giant Killer Mike.
5.Speakerboxx/The Love Below (2003)
The Grammy award-winning, diamond certified (10M+ copies) “Speakerboxx/The Love Below album” saw the duo on top of their game and in full stride. News that it was a double disc album was a departure from the norm. After experiencing 9 years of greatness as a duo, it was a chance to view the minds of both artists while still under the Outkast name. Sort of like the left and right side of one musical brain. Big Boi’s half was a straight southern hip-hop album that we had come to expect. Andre 3000’s half was a genre crossing experimental album that was unexpected yet well received. The lead singles off both albums “Hey Ya” and “The Way You move” both reached number one, with the latter knocking the other off 9 weeks at the top. This one cemented their icon status.
4. Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)
The triumphant debut of Outkast was an album that would shake up southern hip hop forever. The duo wanted to show the rest of the world how urban life was in the south for teenagers coming to age. The album spawned hits such as: “Player’s Ball,” “Git Up, Git Out,” “Hootie Hoo” and more. It also spawned controversy as the critically acclaimed album was not accepted among the hip-hop community. During the 1995 Source Awards, OutKast won in the “Best Newcomer” category, but were booed taking the stage and delivering their acceptance speech. André 3000 went on to say one sentence, “The South got somethin’ to say.” He was right.
3. Stankonia (2001)
What can I say about “Stankonia” that wasn’t said through the music itself? Many may consider this the best album in their collection and they do have a strong argument. The album was a nearly flawless piece of work. Just think of the singles: “B.O.B”, “Ms. Jackson”, and “So Fresh, So Clean”. It was yet another piece of work that came with controversy. “B.O.B” received a stunning lack of radio play due to the title’s acronym, which stood for Bombs Over Baghdad. “Ms. Jackson” proved to be the documentation of Andre 3000 and Erykah Badu’s relationship and apology to her mother for causing her daughter so much pain. Then, of course, the return to the southernplayalistic funk on “So Fresh, So Clean” is iconic even today. Oh yeah, they also introduced the world to Killer Mike on “Snappin’ & Trappin”. A superb album.
2. ATLiens (1996)
My personal favorite and first Outkast album I ever purchased as a kid (I may be a little biased based off of sentimental values) was ATLiens. This album, like many others in their collection, seemed to have no missteps. Just a cohesive and focused look into the growth of Oukast as a group. They went from straight Cadillac door swangin to space age pimpin’ and we accepted it. Even though they were still searching for their voice, every song was poignant. Singles “Elevators (Me & You)” and “ATLiens” were absolute summer anthems drowned in lyrical dominance. An album that made you think and dance at the same time.
1. Aquemini (1998)
The magnum opus. The album that put EVERYBODY on notice. Gone were the 2 young men still searching for respect in the industry. Aquemini showed a focused group, with a developed voice, coming off 2 successful albums. Experimental in sound but rich in lyrical content, the album was the definition of stimulating and intelligent hip-hop. Every track is a story in itself to be paired along with the entire album. Aquemini was not without controversy though, as single “Rosa Parks” ruffled feathers and lead to a lawsuit. Pictures painted on “SpottieOttieDopalicious” and both parts of “Da Art of Storytellin’ ” remain as vivid today as the day they were 1st recorded. Aquemini is truly a hip-hop classic that pushed the limits of hip-hop, and managed to stay true to their Georgia roots.
Did you agree with the list? How would you rank their albums? Sound off in the comments section below.