OutKast is an American hip-hop duo, comprised of Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin (formerly known as “Dre”) and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton. Having sold over 20 million records with six albums under their belt, OutKast is easily one of the most successful hip-hop groups of all time. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, a double album representing a solo album from each member of the duo, achieved diamond status, selling over 10 million units, a feat only two other hip hop albums have ever accomplished. OutKast’s commercial success corresponds to the duo’s critically acclaimed, distinct and experimental sound, which is rare for such a mainstream rap group.
Benjamin and Patton, both from Atlanta, Georgia, went to the same high school together and would regularly engage in rap battles, only to later team up and form OutKast. In 1992, the newly formed duo signed to LaFace Records and became the label’s first hip hop act. In 1994, their full length debut, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, which included hits such as Git up, Git Out and Player’s Ball, which would reach #1 on the Billboard Rap Chart. OutKast’s second album, ATLiens, released in 1996, reached #2 on the US album charts and includes hits, ATLiens and Elevators (Me and You), which would become the group’s first Top 20 hit.
Outkast’s third album, Aquemini, also reached the #2 position on the charts at the time of its release in 1998. The album earned the very rare “5 Mic” rating from The Source magazine, which is equivalent to a 5 out of 5 rating. A year later, the duo ran into legal troubles with Rosa Parks over the title of one of the album’s singles, which bore Parks’ name. After five years of legal contention, the suit was eventually settled with neither OutKast or LaFace Records having to admit any wrongdoing. In 2000, the duo’s fourth album, Stankonia, also debuted at #2 on the album charts and would ultimately go quadruple-platinum, thanks in large to such hit singles including: B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad), So Fresh, So Clean, and Ms. Jackson. Ms. Jackson would become the pair’s first pop crossover hit, achieving the #1 ranking on the US pop singles chart. In 2001, OutKast would receive two Grammy Awards, one for Best Rap Album for Stankonia and the other for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for Ms. Jackson. That same year, the duo would release a greatest hits album, Big Boi and Dre Present…OutKast, which included three new tracks. The following year, OutKast would receive Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for The Whole World, one of the new tracks off the record.
In 2003, OutKast released a double album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. The album, which was basically two solo albums by each member, would ultimately become the duo’s best selling album debuting on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart at #1 and achieving diamond status. Hits such as The Way You Move, Hey Ya, and “Roses” would keep the album at the top of the charts for several weeks. The album would go on to win the Grammy Award for the 2004 “Album of the Year”. OutKast’s next album will be the soundtrack to their film Idlewild, which is scheduled to be released on August 22, 2006.