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What I've Been Listening To: "Aquemini" by OutKast

As I’m sure you all are dying to know, what has Atticus Brown been listening to, on repeat, for this past week?

The answer?

OutKast’s third album "Aquemini", was released on September 29th, 1998.

This album sees the decorated rap duo expand their unique and creative soundscapes even further into corners of a familiar, yet unearthly realm of music. This album hits you as if you leaned into a right hook from Evander Holyfield himself.

Produced by OutKast, Organized Noize and Mr. DJ, this album continued to show that OutKast, although they sounded unlike any other rap group out at the time, and today, could push sonic boundaries and write pertinent lyrics that stand the test of time.

Throughout the album, André 3000 and Big Boi take turns rapping about issues plaguing the black community, relationships and even science fiction, through southern accents as thick as the synth bass lines and the wide array of percussive instruments that fill the album.

At the time of release, Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” dominated the charts, but this album could not be more different. Even to this day, no other albums capture what OutKast was able to do with this project, other than themselves in their other works.

The influence of "Aquemini" also cannot be understated, not necessarily sonically, but what it meant for the entire Southern region of the United States. With previous projects, OutKast was seen as just that, an outcast from the rest of the rap industry that was heavily split between the East and West Coast. But, OutKast always did their own thing and pushed the story of hip-hop as far as possible.

The South had not yet gained massive fame until OutKast helped the region attract attention, and now the South is where a large amount of mainstream hip hop originates, whether that’s Atlanta, Houston, Memphis, Miami or any other Southern city.

My rankings of the tracks on this album surely won’t be controversial, and I’m sure everyone can agree on a definitive ranking. Although, my ranking changes with each passing day.

  1. "Aquemini"

  2. "Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 1)"

  3. "Liberation"

  4. "SpottieOttieDopaliscious"

  5. "Synthesizer"

  6. "Skew It on the Bar-B"

  7. "Return of the “G” "

  8. "Chonkyfire"

  9. "Rosa Parks"

  10. "Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 2)"

  11. "Slump"

  12. "Y’All Scared"

  13. "West Savannah"

  14. "Mamacita"

  15. "Nathaniel"

  16. "Hold On, Be Strong"

With all of that being said, Aquemini is not only one of my favorite albums of all time but one of the most influential and best pieces of music to ever be created by any artist. I would advise anyone reading to check it out, and if not, you are certainly missing out.

And remember:

“Even the sun goes down, heroes eventually die / Horoscopes often lie, and sometimes ‘y’/ Nothin’ is for sure, nothin’ is for certain, nothin’ lasts forever.”

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