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Rap - Released October 31, 2000 | Arista - LaFace Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rap - Released September 29, 1998 | Arista - LaFace Records

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Rap - Released January 1, 1990 | Arista

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Rap - Released August 27, 1996 | Arista - LaFace Records

Though they were likely lost on casual hip-hop fans, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik was full of subtle indications that OutKast were a lot more inventive than your average Southern playas. Their idiosyncrasies bubbled to the surface on their sophomore effort, ATLiens, an album of spacy sci-fi funk performed on live instruments. Largely abandoning the hard-partying playa characters of their debut, Dre and Big Boi develop a startlingly fresh, original sound to go along with their futuristic new personas. George Clinton's space obsessions might seem to make P-Funk obvious musical source material, but ATLiens ignores the hard funk in favor of a smooth, laid-back vibe that perfectly suits the duo's sense of melody. The album's chief musical foundation is still soul, especially the early-'70s variety, but other influences begin to pop up as well. Some tracks have a spiritual, almost gospel feel (though only in tone, not lyrical content), and the Organized Noize production team frequently employs the spacious mixes and echo effects of dub reggae in creating the album's alien soundscapes. In addition to the striking musical leap forward, Dre and Big Boi continue to grow as rappers; their flows are getting more tongue-twistingly complex, and their lyrics more free-associative. Despite a couple of overly sleepy moments during the second half, ATLiens is overall a smashing success thanks to its highly distinctive style, and stands as probably OutKast's most focused work (though it isn't as wildly varied as subsequent efforts). The album may have alienated (pun recognized, but not intended) the more conservative wing of the group's fans, but it broke new ground for Southern hip-hop and marked OutKast as one of the most creatively restless and ambitious hip-hop groups of the '90s. ~ Steve Huey
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Rap - Released November 14, 2001 | Arista - LaFace Records

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Rap - Released April 26, 1994 | Arista - LaFace Records

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Rap - Released December 13, 2005 | LaFace Records

A lot happened to OutKast between the moment they began to think about making a movie and the release of Idlewild. In 1998, no studio would back the movie they were plotting. Fast-forward eight years, past a fourth successive classic album, a double-disc blockbuster, and countless breakup rumors, as well as moonlighting gigs involving supporting actor roles and a successful dog kennel. Along the way, OutKast's first movie took on an entirely different shape, from Aquemini to Idlewild, and the duo attained enough star power to gain the support of HBO and Universal. After a series of delays with its soundtrack, Idlewild reached theaters in August 2006. Set in the prohibition era, Big Boi plays a speakeasy owner, while Dré is the relatively introverted piano-playing son of a mortician. These roles are no stretch, and they cross paths in only a handful of scenes; this all befits the together-but-separate presentation the duo has maintained for a few years. That presentation holds true throughout Idlewild's soundtrack, which doubles as the sixth OutKast album. Big Boi and André 1936 share little space on a disc that's not so much a series of misfires as it's filled with shots that reach their targets, albeit softly and with little trace of impact. Rich with color and energy, mischievous asides, and biting observations, the album presents fresh ideas every couple of minutes. However, at the same time, it just keeps on going, and even its highlights fall short of OutKast's past and fail to transcend its assortment of inspirations. Little of it sticks. The music of the '30s seeps through a handful of tracks, the best of which is led by Big Boi protégé Janelle Monaé, a young vocalist who stomps and sways through her time in the spotlight. Despite Dré's likely position as the driving creative force behind the whole project -- and its further strides away from what his detractors think he should be doing -- he's far more effective as an MC than a singer. When it comes to rapping, he's "bored" with "no dragon to battle," yet the verse containing that proclamation outstrips just about all the lines he croons. "Hollywood Divorce" is an exception, where he does triple duty (producer, MC, vocalist) and guides Big Boi, Lil Wayne, and Snoop Dogg through a modern-day version of "Burn Hollywood Burn." Big Boi is the album's saving grace, still every bit the undervalued force with scythe-like rhymes and gazelle-like moves. Idlewild is certainly a spectacle, and an occasionally entertaining and enlightening one at that, but it translates into an elaborate diversion when compared to what this duo has done in the past. ~ Andy Kellman
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Rap - Released September 23, 2003 | Arista

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Humour/Spoken Word - Released December 10, 2013 | Zero Live

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Rap - Released November 1, 2004 | LaFace Records

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Rap - Released January 1, 2001 | LaFace Records

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Pop - Released November 15, 2004 | LaFace Records

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Pop - Released August 7, 2006 | LaFace Records

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Rap - Released June 26, 2006 | LaFace Records

Pop - Released June 20, 2006 | LaFace Records

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Pop - Released August 29, 2006 | LaFace Records