Monday, August 24, 2009

Throwback Series #2: Outkast - ATLiens (1996)


It is not very often that a rapper or group releases three consecutive classic albums, yet Outkast (Big Boi & Andre 3000) did just that starting with their first album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik in 1994 and following shortly after with both ATLiens in 1996 and Aquemini in 1998.

For this Throwback Series post it was hard to choose which album to review because all three of these albums are so downright amazing that I could talk about all of them for days. However, I chose ATLiens because, to me, it feels the most timeless. The album is definitely more refined in its production quality and rhymes than Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, but not over-refined or progressive like that of Aquemini. This combination makes ATLiens stylistically feel the most raw, yet at the same time quite polished. I will post all three albums for download so you can see what I mean.

ATLiens Tracklist
01.    You May Die (Intro)
02.    Two Dope Boyz (In A Cadillac)
03.    Atliens
04.    Wheelz Of Steel
05.    Jazzy Belle
06.    Elevators (Me & You)
07.    Ova Da Wudz
08.    Babylon
09.    Wailin'
10.    Mainstream
11.    Decatur Psalm
12.    Millennium
13.    E.T. (Extraterrestrial)
14.    13th Floor/Growing Old
15.    Elevators (Onp 86 Mix)

The album starts off with one of Outkast's best and most memorable intros, You May Die flowing right into one of the most epic beat drops imaginable with the start of the second track Two Dope Boys (In A Cadillac). Next comes the title track, ATLiens [Video] with a bumping beat and chorus that'll rock your head like a metronome once you stop focusing on Andre 3000's verse so intensely. Then the album changes its feel a bit, slowing down the beat for Andre and Big Boi to drop knowledge about unscrupulous women on Jazzy Belle [Video and song remix] and then spit the real about their past and present on the track Elevators [Get it...they are moving up in the world]. On Babylon, their social commentary about drugs, sex, and guns is their unique way of presenting the environment they've been raised in. Then the hypnotic beat of Mainstream is a calm point before Decatur Psalm, which combines a dark beat perfectly with a gospel inspired chorus. On Millennium, Andre shines light on the track with his superb visual rhymes. The next song E.T. (Extraterrestrial) has no drums, but gives the listener the chance to really listen to the slang and unique flows of both men. Finally, the album ends with 13th Floor (Growing Old), which is a soft piano-infused beat that hits an emotional soft spot. The rhymes on the whole album are "Out of this woooooorld". Are you Alien?

Make sure this album stays on your disc platter, because it really never loses its flavor.

Peep the old school Outkast Video below...

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