TEAMDAR Discography Check: Outkast

One of the greatest duos in hip hop history(in my personal opinion, the greatest), Outkast recently reunited on a reunion tour(hitting mostly just festivals), fueling talks that the duo might be coming back with another album. Though those talks have died down since the reunion began, Outkast's performances have been heralded as greatness and they've had a chance to remind fans just how deep their catalog is. Today, I'm going to take a look at Outkast's catalog/discography and how iconic it is. It could very well be the most solid discography in hip hop. I'll also include a brief look at Big Boi's solo albums(damn shame we can't have an Andre 3000 album to reflect on... but maybe one day) as well. Without further adieu, the beginning.......

The debut album. This is where it all started. From the beginning, Outkast stuck out with a style that screamed "Dirty South", while showcasing the lyrical ability of seasoned veterans, instead of new beginners. From "Ain't No Thang" to "Hootie Hoo", to the dope message of "Git Up, Git Out", Kast came in the game to win and they definitely did so here. Organized Noise provided the instrumentals that allowed the world to become introduced to Antwan Patton and Andre Benjamin.

Rating: 9 out of 10

My personal favorite Outkast album and the one that I feel is the best. There is something epic about the album, from start to finish. It feels like an event album. From the "You May Die" intro to the very last cords of "13th Floor/Growing Old", this album is flawless. The standout on this album is without a doubt Andre, as his verses on "Elevators", "Atliens", "Jazzy Belle" and others are some of the best verses of the 90s. Big Boi, not to be outdone however, comes strong on tracks, having a standout verse on "2 Dope Boys(In A Cadillac), and absolutely killing "Decatur Psalm". The beats from Earthtone and Organized Noise created a cohesion that is lacking in most albums today, and this album stands the test of time. Flawless, even 18 years later.

Rating: 10 out of 10

This album comes with the distinction of being Outkast's most critically acclaimed album and is widely seen as their best. I think it's very close with "Atliens", almost neck and neck, but I'd put "Atliens" over "Aquemini" any day, personally. However, this is the album that garnered Outkast the coveted 5 mics in The Source. The opening sounds of "Return of The G" set the tone, and as the album continues on, you know you're in for the most unique listening experience possible. Andre's verse on "Return of The G" is one of my all time favorite verses, not to mention his work on the title track, where he floated over the track. Now, don't get me wrong, Big Boi definitely killed tracks, and his work on the title track is some of my favorite work from him as well. As the resounding horns of "SpottieOttieDopaliscious" hit, the album reaches its apex. This album is an experience, or as Andre says "Outkast, Aquemini, another Black Experience"

Rating: 10 out of 10

This was the album that put Outkast on the HUGE mainstream level. It's their most experimental album, and it's amazing. The biggest difference in this album is that Organized Noise's production is barely used, and while Earthtone put a lot of production into "Aquemini", this album was full of experimentation that really tested the limits of hip hop. "Gasoline Dreams", "Spaghetti Junction", the first single "B.O.B.", even one of their biggest hits, "Ms. Jackson" all stick out as songs that do NOT sound like what hip hop sounded like in 2000. And that is the beauty of "Stankonia". It tests the listener. The lyrics are immaculate as always, the guests, the instruments, the rock-tinged vibes, the darker elements all combine to create an album that when looked back in time, might be considered a pure classic.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below-
This is an Outkast album, that is not really an Outkast album... It's two solo albums, one by Big Boi, and one by Andre. The music on these albums range in sound, with Big Boi's "SpeakerBoxxx" sounding like he stuck as close to the testing the limits of hip hop method that Outkast perfected on "Aquemini" and "Stankonia". Andre, however, came with a more R&B/funk sound with "The Love Below", where he only raps a few times on his album. The double album would go on to be Outkast's most commercially successful album, going diamond, cementing their place as hip hop legends(as if three, maybe four classics in a row didn't do it already....). The standout songs on "Speakerboxxx" for me, are "Ghetto Muzick", "The Way You Move", "Reset", and "Knowing". The standout songs on "The Love Below" are "She Lives In My Lap", "Spread", "Prototype", "Pink and Blue", and the closing song, which might be Andre's best work ever, "A Life In The Day of Benjamin Andre(Incomplete)".

Rating: Speakerboxxx: 8 out of 10
The Love Below: 7.5 out of 10

This is technically a soundtrack, to the motion picture. It's labeled as an Outkast album, and I guess to fulfill a contractual obligation, it was released as such. The music here, however, is still very good, just uneven. There's not a cohesion to this project as I'd like. Andre's musical ambitions sometimes stretches beyond the realm of just actual good music. While it seems creative in essence, it doesn't always translate well, on such tracks such as "A Bad Note", "Greatest Show On Earth", and "Makes No Sense At All". Andre's singing ability comes into question on some of these songs, but he shines on "Mighty O", "Hollywood Divorce", "Rooster and PJ", and one of my favorite songs here "Chronomentrophobia". Overall, I did enjoy this album, I just wish it was a bit more cohesive. I think Speakerboxxx/The Love Below also had the same issue, with a similar lack of cohesion album wise, that makes this just a collection of really good songs. To be fair, I get this is a soundtrack and it does fit good with following the story the movie told, so it does gets points for that, but if listening to this as simply an Outkast album.... it just lacks something.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Big Boi Solo Albums

Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty-
Big Boi, after being tired of waiting for Andre to come out of his.... hiatus, retirement, or something of that nature, comes with his first solo album, and the album is a solid project. Big lets his eccentric side show here, while keeping it ATL on the verses and the beats also. Organized Noise adds some great production, and Big garnered a nice hit with "Shutterbugg" as well. Standout tracks here are "General Patton", "Shutterbugg", "Night Night", "You Ain't No DJ", and "Fo Yo Sorrows".

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors-
I actually enjoyed this album more than his first solo. The cohesion flowed better to me, and the songs that were strong, are amazing here. "The Thickets" shines with the smooth beat and the Sleepy Brown feature, just flows beautifully. "Mama Told Me" was a hit featuring Kelly Rowland, and "In The A" were also popular tracks. The flow of this album, makes it the better of the two solos, and I'm interested to see what's next for Big Boi, since it's apparent another Outkast album is NOT on the horizon.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Well, that'll do it for me and the discography check, I think next time, we'll do something that's not hip hop related, and take a look into the vast discography of the King of Pop.... Michael Jackson. Stay tuned.



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