An Ode To My Favorite Outkast Album, ATLiens, Which Is Now 20 Years Old » VSB

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An Ode To My Favorite Outkast Album, ATLiens, Which Is Now 20 Years Old

Outkast’s sophomore album, ATLiens, turned 20 years old on August 27, 2016. I would like to talk about it.

For as long as I live, I will never forget where I was the moment I heard “Elevators (Me & U)” for the first time. I was on my way to pick up my boy E. from work at Kmart (RIP) on Highway 20 in Madison, AL. That Kmart, now closed, couldn’t have had any idea how much loot they got taken for when our friends all started working there. I never personally stuck them for their papers but I was definitely an accomplice via being the getaway driver too many times to count. For whatever reason, there was no security sensor on the exit through the Garden Center and all the employees knew it. They also didn’t lock up video games back then. You can see where I’m going with that. Kmart? My Their bad.

In Madison, a fast-growing suburb of Huntsville, Alabama, we only had one radio station that played hip-hop, WEUP. And because that station was trash, we’d always have to pray to get the signal from Birmingham’s radio stations (about 90 miles to the south). Well, this particular day, the signal was coming in and as I pulled into the parking lot to pick up E. and whatever video games he may or may not be permanently borrowing, I heard the craziest beat start to play. And then I heard Andre’s voice.

“One for the money, yessir, two for the show/a couple of years ago off Headland and Delowe…”

Now, for most people, they probably had no clue what in the world he was saying, but as somebody for whom an entire half of my family lives in Atlanta and whose grandmother went to church off of Headland Drive in East Point, I was familiar with the area. Then the hook…hit.

“Me and u, yo’ momma and yo’ cousin too…”

atliensBruh. I was done. I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard. The beat, the hook, the flow. And it was a new Outkast song. Outkast was already the greatest thing to happen to hiphop (to me) in the history of everything. But a new song that sounded like this? It was pure euphoria. And that meant we were getting a new album. To this day, you cannot convince me that the “Elevators” isn’t one of the greatest hip-hop songs ever. It’s perfect. It’s perfect in the way that kittens playing with yarn and listening to “Player’s Ball” is perfect. It could only have been more perfect if one of the kittens playing with yarn listening to “Player Ball” had on a Colin Kaepernick jersey…in 1996. And it makes sense that “Elevators” is damn near perfect, because it’s one of the songs on my favorite Outkast album, ATLiens, which as of two weeks ago is now twenty years old. Growing old.

Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik is more lauded because it set the tone and really put Atlanta on the map, and it should be more lauded for that purpose alone. Until “Player’s Ball” in particular, Atlanta didn’t really have a visual. No passion. Now we got some. Aquemini got the coveted five mics from The Source back when that was a thing that mattered. Stankonia didn’t think outside the box, it realized there were no boxes and no U-Haul’s close. And well, we all know what happened with Speakerboxx/The Love Below.

“And the Grammy for Album of the Year goes to…Outkast.”

But for me, ATLiens is where it all came together and set the precedent for the rest. Outkast started producing (“Elevators” being their first production), Dre started to become Andre 3000. Big Boi wasn’t quite at Aquemini level lyricism yet, but almost there. But the production on this album was beautiful. It was atmospheric music twenty years before it (and Drake) was the very sound of hiphop (or rap music depending on how much of a purist you are) as a whole.

“Some go low to get high, it may hurt til you cry, you may die…”

The samples were dope. The beats were dirty and standard Organized Noize excellence. Big Boi was his staple braggadocios self, but Dre had morphed from ATL playa leaving women in the dirt who claimed to be having his baby on “Hootie Hoo” to recognizing that the sex he was having needed to be purposeful because the future of the world depends on it on title track, “Atliens”. Dre became the introspective everyman, rapping about the state of the world and his place in it while having realized that while he’s gained so much, he had gained nothing. Dre was, for a lack of a better term, enlightened.

There’s “Jazzy Belle” and “Babylon” and album-favorite “13th Floor/Growing Old” featuring the line that made guys everywhere take notice:

“I’ll bet you never heard of a player with no game…told the truth to get what I want and shout it with no shame…”

Mind.Blown. (not really.)

At this point, Outkast is one of the most successful duos in hiphop history. Andre 3000 has moved into acting and being awesome in various ways, including taking Uber Pool because he can do that. Big Boi is still making funky music and putting stank on it keeping it as Atlanta as only he knows how. But back in 1996, with the infamous sophomore jinx looming and coming off of a landmark and regional defining album, ‘Kast could have caught the fade, but instead they moved the goal posts and crafted an insular, tightly woven album about growth and understanding as men who were no longer novices to the rap game. They let their creativity drive the car and my life was better it. Not to mention the CD cover art, another of Dre’s naked women drawings, which I’ll ALSO never forget because of the fight it almost started.

Allegedly, I told my girlfriend at the time that the CD cover art was what she looked like naked. She then allegedy shared that information with a dude I knew, who THEN told her that he’d like to see that. She then, allegedly, told me what he said and then we allegedly exchanged words. Now I wasn’t about to fight anybody over that, but I was 16 and had to defend my girl’s honor. Or something.

Thank you, Dre. Allegedly.

A lot has changed in music over the past 20 years, but no matter what has happened musically, both awesome and punch-a-grandmother-in-the-face-worthy, I always return back to this album as one that connected with me that continues to make me feel the same as it did when I was a 17 year old, pissing off my AP Calculus teacher, trying to navigate life.

“Trees bright and green turn yellow brown/Autumn caught em, see all them leaves must fall down, growin’ old…”

First they were some pimps, then they were some aliens…

…out of this worllllllllllld.

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Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Other_guy13

    Let me start off by saying Thank you PJ…this album is by FAR one of the best albums ever made. The intro….THE INTRO…”you may Die”….”what did I just start listening to?” Then you you hit me with 2 Dope Boyz… I’m vibing all the way until I get to Babylon’s first verse….from that point on I knew I was a fan for life. I was like they not gone do me like that…they did…I’m getiing all nostalgic n ish *listens to Atliens CD* https://67.media.tumblr.com/699bb8cd63b6a80607d162043d5d3271/tumblr_mzb3snFKZf1tppfzzo1_500.gif

    • L8Comer

      One of my favorite albums of all time as well. Def my favorite outkast album. Babylon is what got me. That first line had me like

    • EVER.

  • Medium Meech

    Did you see the art of organized noise on Netflix? Wait, who am I asking. It gave really good insight into early Outkast. My favorite part was Puffy conspicuously having a glass of Ciroc poured during his interview. We get it, Puffy, we get it.

    • Other_guy13

      Hmm…*goes to Netflix*

      • I told you about this!

        You slippin, fren!!!

        IT.WAS.DOPE>

        • Other_guy13

          But I didn’t see it when I looked it up

    • He wrote a post on it the day it came out on Netflix my guy.

      • Medium Meech

        Well CLEARLY he should have sent an email to the VSB regulars too.

        • panamajackson

          My bad. I was messing up. I mess up a lot. I’ll do better.

  • Kat

    Something about Outkast… They will be playing when I’m getting ready to leave this earth. Along with some Aretha. Cause you need soul and heat and collard greens when it’s time to go.

    Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik..
    ATliens
    Aquemini
    #inthatorder #of life giving

    After that well…..he stopped eating meat.

    • Mr. SD

      Aquemini is 1st..That’s my favorite hip hop album..and Im a NY’er, that’s BIG….lol

    • Dre met Erykah… No Shade

  • It really is just one of the best hip hop albums of all time. This album is just really groovy in a way I wish more hip hop albums would be.

  • HouseOfBonnets

    Outkast is in my mandatory wedding playlist for the pregame and the reception….. Enough said

    • Marry Me, lol!

      • Other_guy13

        Sorry bruh….I called Dibs long time ago

        • FML… (meanders back to drawing board)

        • Medium Meech

          I called honeymoon.

          • Other_guy13

            Wait….no…the honeymoon is implied in said dibs….see the bro-code

            • Medium Meech

              I see the problem, you’re using the NIV version of the Bro Code. I’m old school, I’m using that King James Old Testament version. But I think HoB should have final say over her wedding and honeymoon so I’m bowing out gracefully.

              • Other_guy13

                Yea…this got strange in a hurry lol…I respectfully remove my name from consideration

              • LadyJay?

                MM!!! Nice comeback!

        • AnswerMe

          Thought you were promised to Tambra?

          • Other_guy13

            I thought it was you…i’m so confused…

            • AnswerMe

              Nah you discarded me long ago.

      • HouseOfBonnets

        The reception lit lol

      • HouseOfBonnets

        *Checks back in on the thread and catches the previous convo*

        initial reaction:

    • I did a wedding once and the first dance was to Prototype.

      • Mr. Mooggyy

        The video was so weird it was genius!

    • HR Paperstacks

      Funky Ride gets played for the first dance.

  • KC

    I’ve been stuck on Aquemeni ever since the One Music Fest on Saturday (Never thought I’d get to hear Liberation performed live), but ATLiens is definitely my other favorite Kas album. Groundbreaking.

    • Other_guy13

      Liberation….live…where? And why did I not know about this?

      • KC

        The OMF in Atlanta had the Organized Noize reunion. EVERY artist other than Khujo (for health reasons) was there. Featured artists were there. It was the dopest day of my life. seriously. Liberation with Ceelo and Erykah there for their parts. Amazing. Watch for the Hook, Never Scared…….too many hits to mention

        • B-Dot Willz

          Watch for the hook live?? I already know it was dope.

        • Other_guy13

          I…no words….my heart hurts. I live in ATL man…stupid Grad School…FML

          • B-Dot Willz

            I live in Atlanta too and had no idea it was gonna be all of this at OMF

            • Other_guy13

              Right…nobody warned me….i’m so upset

            • KC

              It was rumored, but never confirmed. It was like a gift to the A! On paper it was Big Boi, Cee Lo, Goodie Mob and Killer mike in that order. What we got was an epic overload of ATL goodness with a lil Badu, TI and Kilo thown in for good measure.

              • B-Dot Willz

                Kilo? Now I’m really sad. I spent so much time learning the words to Na$ty Dancer and White Horse at a whisper so my mom wouldn’t know. I hate that I missed that.

                • KC

                  Yeah, but it was definitely a Dungeon Family party. It was crazy that featured artists would pop up on stage, perform their featured verse and fade into the background to groove with the rest of us. I was kind of amazed.

            • miss t-lee

              How y’all ain’t know? I live way over here and heard about it a few months back…lol

              • Other_guy13

                LIfe

                • miss t-lee

                  Nah.

              • B-Dot Willz

                lol I didn’t hear about it until Thursday but I think because I heard it was the “1st Annual One Music Fest” I figured it would be a little iffy.

                • miss t-lee

                  I saw the lineup and knew it would be hype. And then when they said “special guests” and Dungeon Family? I already knew what would happen.
                  I was right.

                • KC

                  It was the 5th year, you were woefully misinformed, I’m really sad for you right now and I’m not joking at all.

                  • B-Dot Willz

                    I too, am sad. *hangs head*

        • KaytotheBee

          One of my favorite songs. Joi’s voice is fire on that track.
          Sidenote: I was at One Music Fest. Badu was 40 mins late. I left because the stage she was on was standing room only (which was actually gravel) So I went back to my lawn chair..and missed Liberation..

    • Cleojonz

      Yes! Aquemini is my favorite. It just grooves so hard.

    • miss t-lee

      A few of my twitter followers were there and gave me the play by play on the festival.
      Sounded like it was so awesome.

  • Vanity in Peril

    I accidentally subscribed to google play music radio through nov because Amazon and I weren’t seeing eye to eye and I put on the random play for Outkast while I did some house cleaning.

    I legit forgot how deep their catalogue is and that every track bangs. BANGS!

    They are my favorite hip hop act. Hands down. They carry the fire that james brown passed to the jbs who passed it to sly who passed it to Maurice who passed it to george and bootsy who passed it to prince who alleyooped it to outkast, not snoop. Not dre. Well dre, but not THAT dre.

    • MsSula

      “They are my favorite hip hop act. Hands down.”

      Yup. Followed closely by The Roots.

      • fedup

        You get me, you really really get me.

  • B-Dot Willz

    This is crazy to me because just this past Saturday I spent the day with my little brother and we only listened to Outkast all day. The whole day he was like ” This is Outkast too?” ” They made this song too? ” I think I blew his mind. lol I’m also a little mad at myself for waiting until he was 12 to engulf him into Outkast.

  • Negro Libre

    Jazzybelle was my ish back in the day.

    ***Unrelated: HRC is giving this election away to Trump smh

    • L8Comer

      What happened now?

      • Negro Libre

        Check out the #DNCLeak on twitter.

        • L8Comer

          Yikes! Smh

          • Negro Libre

            Yeah, even Colin Powell’s getting caught up in the storm.

            • Mr. Mooggyy

              Colin Powell’s emails are more like, ” I told Hillary to keep me out of her shyt” emails! And “Trump’s a racist”! Real OG like!

            • L8Comer

              Those quotations from him were pretty funny… Everything she touches she messes up… with extreme Hubris, he said. Lolol, it is funny. But also tragic.

              There’s been rumors for years about her health too. Powell said she was working herself to death and didn’t look well. A few years ago a DOJ insider told me she wouldn’t run because she had health problems. I hope she really is okay health wise. At first I thought people were picking on her. Campaigns are tough. Now I’m starting to wonder what else will come out.

              • Negro Libre

                Colin Powell’s wife put her foot down when he wanted to run for president. That game comes at a huge cost.

                • L8Comer

                  I wouldn’t want that life either. Too many skeletons as well, so better stay under the radar.

                  • Negro Libre

                    I like money more than power, if I’m corrupt enough to get involved in politics, it’s lobbying all day.

                    • L8Comer

                      I think lobbying would be cool; always have. I’m with you though… I don’t want fame and influence and power isn’t a draw for me. I just want money so I can travel and eat good with my friends and fam.

              • Nik White

                Anybody can become ill campaigning, not eating or sleeping right. It doesn’t have to be anything serious.

                • L8Comer

                  That’s why I initially thought too. It’s gotta be grueling and I’m sure I’d get sick too. But idk… I do hope it’s all bs tho. Maybe she was sick a few years back and recovered tho.

                • Negro Libre

                  Ehh, but context matters.

                  If someone is saying and lamenting that you’re not fit to be into office, and all of a sudden you have a public display of illness…you’re falling into the trap of confirmation bias. To be fair, Obama’s team used that same kind of arguments against McCain. Once again, this is the political game.

                  • Nik White

                    True

        • Epsilonicus

          Will voters even care though?

          • L8Comer

            Nah. Not with Trump as the alternative. I think people are becoming disillusioned with her… but not enough to vote for Trump. The issue is the fatigue that comes along with this terrible election cycle may keep people away from polls, while Trump supporters are pretty enthusiastic to get out and vote

          • Negro Libre

            Not much, but I think it’s something that can be used against her.

            It also is most likely going to affect those who Bernie fans who are still hesitating to vote for Clinton.

    • Digital_Underground

      I still have the Jazzybelle CD single with the remix. I know I’m old!

    • Other_guy13

      Idk…it’s really infuriating. The media lets this man lie….and when challenged on if he is a liar the back down…it’s like the are afraid of him. And HRC…she just cannot get right. I mean…he does something everyday….EVERYDAY that would disqualify another candidate and nothing. Maybe this investigation will finally expose him….but what else do you really need to know to figure out he not the one. smh

      • Negro Libre

        I think we tend to overestimate how powerful the media is.

        I remember after Trump said that HRC was a bigot, he was being interviewed by a conservative who thought it was too much, Trump said, “Yeah, she’s a bigot…you like than one right??!” Trump started his campaign by openly admitting that he was corrupt and that he bribed politicians all the time, that should have disqualified him from the beginning…but it’s the public not the media that punishes people for lying and flip-flopping.

        • Other_guy13

          I agree but how else can we explain his rise? I’m legit afraid of his presidency exp as a POC. I do not see this ending well for us at all…and who are these 8% of African Americans? We need to have a conversation.

          • Negro Libre

            Conservatives do not rely on television media for their power as much as liberals do.

            Their money and main source of propaganda is radio, Fox News ain’t got nothing on talk radio.

            Unlike television news, where they always tend to have liberal and conservative talking points, on talk radio, there’s barely no challenge. So it’s pure unadulterated propaganda. I did a contract to do some web and mobile development for an assembling company in NH earlier in the year, and yeah all those blue collar guys were listening to talk radio from noon to the end of shift, M-F.

            Hearing what I was hearing, when my headphones weren’t on, I knew Trump was going to win early on, because these people were holding on to his words like white on rice.

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        I’m making peace with the fact that he’s going to win.

        Because America really wants to be that much of an a s s h o l e.

        • Other_guy13

          I’m holding out hope…however slim.

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            I believe in common sense.

            But I’m more aware than ever before humanity as a whole is generally stupid. We really cannot be trusted as a group to be better because only individuals can truly shine. As a group, we tend to fight against our own self interests for the sake of dismissing our fears.

            I no longer get it. I’m 32. I already know most of the difficulties I face now where in place years before I became an adult, and yet all these people out here want to do is pretend everything before the last 8 years never happened.

  • Objection

    For as long as I live, I will never forget where I was the moment I heard “Elevators (Me & U)” for the first time.

    I was in a hole in the wall club waiting for Bahamadia to come out on stage. It was only 10 people in the club. Keep in mind that 4 people came with me. The DJ put on Elevators (Crazy c Trunk Rattlin Mix). I knew from hearing this song OutKast album was going to be the bomb. Bahamadai finally came out on stage. She was piss because there was only a few people in the club. I felt so bad for her. All I could think about was going to get Outkast album the next day.

    • panamajackson

      Where was this?

      • Objection

        Columbia, SC

        • panamajackson

          Now it makes sense. Not that I think Bahamadia is a big draw, but 10 folks? Sheesh.

          • miss t-lee

            Only reason I ever saw Bahamadia is because she was opening for The Roots.
            Terrible set, which she ended by shouting out, “THANK YOU, HOUSTON!!!!!!” and leaving the stage.
            We were in Austin.

            • RewindingtonMaximus

              Uh ohhhh

              • miss t-lee

                Exactly.

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