Monday, May 9, 2011

I'd Love To Turn You On #32 - Outkast – Aquemini (LaFace)

Outkast's third major album, Aquemini, in the opinion of this Twister, is one of the best hip-hop albums ever made.
This album is filled with fun, distinctly late 90's Southern Rap, but peppered with amazing beat experimentation and lyrical expression that has become the trademark of Outkast. The duo – consisting of Andre 3000 and Big Boi – conveys their distinctly Southern upbringing in the Atlanta area by creating a collection of interspersed conversations and vivid lyrics that illustrate their community. In the bittersweet “Da Art Of Storytellin', Parts 1 & 2” they use the rhythmic style of rapping indicative of Southern Rap at the time to express the story of women they grew up with and how one particular woman's tragic end solidifies their resolve to go on living. The mix of amazing beats, chorus and the stories paint such a good picture that it's hard not to empathize while listening to Aquemini, song to song.

Outkast made a promise in the title track of this album, “Even the sun goes down, heroes eventually die, horoscopes often lie, and sometimes why nothing is for sure, nothing is for certain, and nothing lasts forever, but until they close the curtain, it's him and I, Aquemini.” It was a promise they eventually couldn't keep, but it's a broken promise that has lent itself to the premise of this album.
Their particular blend of blues, horns, and sighing guitar riffs paired with anthemic lyrics in tracks like “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” and “Rosa Parks” threw this album to double platinum status and Andre and Big Boi into the spotlight with it.  Since then, they've had three more successful albums (including a double album comprised of their solo projects) and even a full-length musical movie that revolved around music from that album.
Ultimately, this album epitomizes a time in late 90's hip-hop that is untouchable to most hip-hop artists today.  More importantly it is a descriptive, musical history of the best hip-hop duo the world has seen yet.  Aquemini is one of those albums that an artist makes that signifies the artist at their peak.  Sure, there may be some amazing tracks and successes before and after, but there is always one album that is 100% indicative of that artist; Aquemini is that album for Outkast.  It's a great introduction to the duo, and an amazing re-listen for any fan that hasn't played this one in a while. 
- Berstler

No comments: