#500: OutKast – Aquemini


OutKast, Aquemini

Release Date: 1998
Previously Owned: No
First time listen? Yes

OutKast, Aquemini
One day, I’ll pronounce “Aquemini” properly”

Impressions: Eclectic, Southern-fried hip-hop that is at times wildly creative, yet still funky enough to please most hardcore hip hop heads. I got no idea why I missed the boat on them at the time. I’m positive I would have listened to this a lot in 1998–as I was starved for quality hip hop. There was a huge gap in the mid ’90s after gangsta rap took over where I lost interest. I was getting older and society was tellling me I was supposed to leave all hip hop things behind and purchase the “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?” soundtrack and move on to the NPR-safe bluegrass/country revival thing that was in the air. (Shrugs.) Okay, while I did join an actual jug band at the time (I “played” washtub bass,) I passed on buying a ton of bluegrass albums. Meanwhile, back to Aquemini…Tons of P-Funk influence (George Clinton even guests on a track) but OutKast is more than mere revivalists. Andre 3000 and Big Boi cover lots of ground, with surprising guitars, orchestral arrangements and a wide-ranging view of music that would eventually help them leap into the stratosphere in the next few years. Setting this unconventional tone is “Rosa Parks” with its urgent ponging beat, acoustic guitar part, and harmonica solo. Funky, fleet, and rapping as fast as possible (without making mere speed their calling card,) not to mention lots of fun. Sometimes, the “skits” (a pet peeve of mine on hip hop records) slow things down a bit, but overall, nothing fatal. Digging the throwback autobiographical track “West Savannah,” dreamy “Da Art Of Storytellin’ (Part 1),” and the dubby marching band horns of “SpottieOttieDopaliscious.” All very satisfying.

Should this album be on the list? Well, it’s number 500, so it’s practically off the list. It might actually be perfectly placed. If forced to swap, I might have thrown a Roots album on instead. But, no complaints, this is visionary, endlessly creative and listenable hip-hop.
Starred Songs: Rosa Parks, SpottieOttieDopaliscious
Sneaky Track: Da Art Of Storytellin’ (Part 1) … Man, this jam just stuck with me:

Will you listen to this again? Yes
Rating: ★★★ 3/4


One thought on “#500: OutKast – Aquemini”

  1. Nice post man! I really liked it and agree with you on a lot of what you said. I came across this album on the rolling stones top 500. I am not a huge rap/hip hop fan but I did enjoy this album and thought they did a really good job. If you want to see the review on my music blog you can check it out and leave a comment if you want!

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