Thankfully, earlier this year the group announced a reunion tour with the unbelievable plan to headline at least 40 different music festivals this summer. Confirmed dates include Coachella Valley Music Festival, Sasquatch! Music Festival, and New York’s Governors Ball Music Festival. With such a packed performance schedule, there surely will be a revival of beloved OutKast tracks and albums on music streaming sites, digital media stores, and at our neighborhood record stores.
Not sure where to start where attacking the OutKast catalog? Or want a brief refresher course? Or do you want something to play through a Bluetooth speaker at a summer BBQ? Here are a couple of albums and tracks that we find essential to prepare for “The Summer of OutKast.”
Aquemini – When released in 1998, OutKast’s third album received moderate reviews from critics, however, it quickly gained universal acclaim as a fully conceptualized example of late 90’s hip-hop that pushed the boundaries of the definition of hip hop. Aquemini stands as a turning point in OutKast’s musical canon, and sets the stage for their more experimental albums.
Stankonia – Their forth studio album is known for its considerable change in style from OutKast’s previous laid-back and mellow efforts to a faster higher energy tempo. Inspiration for this album was found in the music of Jimi Hendrix and Prince. This album not only reflected the turn of the century, but made hip hop once again sound experimental and menacing. Though not the magnum opus of Speakerboxx / The Love Below, Stankonia is easily their most musically challenging and experimental album to date.
Speakerboxxx / The Love Below – the fifth studio album by the group is their most commercially successful album. However, the double album format of Speakerboxxx / The Love Below sadly began pointing towards the inevitable break in the group’s relationship. The double album fully encapsulates their musical ambitions and experimental sound while still appealing to mainstream audiences. It received universal acclaim from critics, and earned significant praise for Big Boi’s consistency on Speakerboxxx and for Andre 3000’s psychedelic, pop, funk, and jazz-fusion on The Love Below. Though technically not OutKast’s last album, that honor is reserved for the Idlewild soundtrack; the duel album format of SpeakerBoxxx / The Love Below and its popular tracks like “Hey Ya!” and “The Way You Move” makes it a classic album in any genre.
With a sizable OutKast tour scheduled for the summer, taking a brief listen though their catalog can prepare you for a likely epic summer music festival season.