They never really broke up, but after six years OutKast is reuniting. In November, sources close to André 3000 and Big Boi dropped clues that the ATLiens would be appearing together at Coachella. The duo’s appearance at the April festival will reportedly be followed by a tour, also.
Since Big Boi and Andre 3000 starred in the film ‘Idlewild’ in 2006, for which they also produced the soundtrack, André 3000 has delivered knock-out performances on tracks by Frank Ocean and Ke$ha, among others, while Big Boi has released a pair of acclaimed solo albums, ‘Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty’ in 2010 and ‘Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors’ in 2012.
Now, as Coachella approaches, we’ve gone through OutKast’s exemplary catalog to detail their 20 best songs. There are plenty of otherworldly rhymes, bombastic beats and genre-bending tunes. OutKast has lived up to its name, indeed. Agree? Disagree? That's what the comments section at the bottom is for.
20. ‘Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac)’ from ‘ATLiens’ (1996)
Big Boi and André 3000 went to war here. On this brief cut, they mercilessly dissed wack rappers, and established themselves as grade-A rhymers and Southern rap ambassadors who, at the time, were just one LP deep.
19. ‘Hollywood Divorce’ f. Lil Wayne & Snoop Dogg from ‘Idlewild’ (2006)
On 'Hollywood Divorce,' OutKast ventured beyond their Dungeon Family and enlisted Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg to explore the trappings of fame. The four rappers knew of which they rapped, and the dizzying layers of top-tier lyricism made you pay attention, whether you were famous or not.
18. ‘Humble Mumble’ f. Erykah Badu from ‘Stankonia’ (2000)
Don’t give up. Don't re-route your dreams. Judge not lest you be judged. Those were the messages that OutKast dropped -- in a more imaginative manner -- on this spirited collaboration with André 3000's former flame Erykah Badu.
17. ‘Benz Or A Beemer’ from ‘New Jersey Drive’ Soundtrack (1995)
André 3000 and Big Boi turned the trick of blasting materialism and crime, while name-dropping two of the most desired cars on the market. True, they detailed jacking cars in order to stick with the ‘New Jersey Drive’ storyline, but it’s handled deftly.
16. ‘Roses’ from ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below’ (2003)
The eternal tale of a lover scorned got the OutKast treatment here. As Three Stacks slyly sang, real guys go for real down-to-Mars girls. Lesson learned.
15. ‘So Fresh, So Clean’ from ‘Stankonia’ (2000)
Big Boi got his floss on on the first two pimptastic verses from this funk-drenched track. André 3000, meanwhile, imagined clever ways to provide the ladies with Vitamin D.
14. ‘ATLiens’ from ‘ATLiens’ (1996)
'ATLiens' proved that the duo could deliver a crossover cut without losing its signature sound and style.
13. ‘Aquemini’ from ‘Aquemini’ (1998)
Big Boi’s street savvy and André 3000’s cerebral approach got equal shine on the title track from the pair’s third album.
12. ‘Ms. Jackson’ from ‘Stankonia’ (2000)
OutKast skipped a generation and rapped this song to the mamas of baby-mamas. Among the gems: your "grandchild is a baby, not a paycheck" and "forever never seems that long until you’re grown." Wise words.
11. ‘Liberation’ from ‘Aquemini’ (1998)
This Cee-Lo, Erykah Badu, Big Rube and Joi-guested song was a soulful mediation on liberating the minds of others, while wrestling with the challenges inherent in modern society. Clocking in at nine minutes long, this cut from 'Aquemini' was also liberated from the conventions of the modern pop song.
10. ‘Elevators (Me & You)’ from ‘ATLiens’ (1996)
The first single from OutKast’s second album demonstrated that André 3000 and Big Boi were more than simply Southern players. Over a skeletal, thunderous beat, Big Boi reflected on the group’s success, while Dre voiced his displeasure with the disconnect between the fans’ perception of his success and the reality of his life. Somber, stirring and stellar.
9. ‘Hey Ya!’ from ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below’ (2003)
It’s another sad love song from OutKast, but this solo effort from André 3000 possessed the verve of a '60s pop song.
8. ‘B.O.B.’ from ‘Stankonia’ (2000)
By the time OutKast got to ‘Stankonia,’ André 3000 and Big Boi had shown they could pull off any sonic mélange. They closed 'B.O.B.' with a guitar solo, turntable wizardry and chants from a gospel chorus. Magical music-making.
7. ‘SpottieOttieDopelicious’ from ‘Aquemini’ (1998)
André 3000 kicked this spoken word-like selection with a tale of the unfortunate incidents at a club in Any Hood USA. Big Boi detailed the drama of living life outside the law while trying to provide for a child. Two gut-checks for those sleepwalking through life.
6. ‘Crumblin’ Erb’ from ‘southernplayalisticadillamuzik’ (1994)
More wake-up call than herb ode, this laid-back cut’s title masked its true mission. It’s about getting out of the trap and being nice in all aspects of your game in the process. The Curtis Mayfield-esque chorus, delivered by the velvety voices of Patrick “P-Funk” Brown & Brandon Bennett, was pure bliss.
5. ‘Return of the ‘G’ from ‘Aquemini’ (1998)
André 3000 trampled his naysayers on this impassioned song. He dissed no-good parents and OutKast doubters, while Big Boi followed a similar path to those who questioned the direction the pair took on their second album.
4. ‘Hootie Hoo’ from ‘southernplayalisticadillamuzik’ (1994)
The ultra-funky bass from Colin Wolfe served as the backbone for this anthemic tag-team exercise in verbal gymnastics. Big Boi and André 3000 kicked player rhymes and asserted their street stripes with pure chest-thumping machismo.
3. ‘Rosa Parks’ from ‘Aquemini’ (1998)
With just two verses and nearly three minutes of instrumental, chorus and refrains, this song broke the mold. Big Boi and André showcased their nimble lyricism, but 'Rosa Parks' was all about the lush music. The harmonica solo after Dre’s verse demonstrated that OutKast had the artistic insight to push rap’s limits without saying a word.
2. ‘Git Up, Git Out’ from ‘southernplayalisticadillamuzik’ (1994)
With a vocal assist from Goodie Mob (then known as the Goody Mob), this soulful gem introduced the type of edutainment the Dungeon Family would become famous for. Life lessons get dropped throughout the cut, which clocks in at more than seven minutes. Time well spent.
1‘Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 1)’ from ‘Aquemini’ (1998)
Of all of André 3000’s magnificent lyrical escapades, his stunning verse here was arguably his best. He asked his female friend what she wanted to be when she grew up. “She said alive.” Chilling and brilliant story rap. Classic.