ATLiens by Outkast (1996)

24May11

For most dipshits, the existence of Outkast began in 2003 when ‘Hey Ya’ hit their local Top 40 radio station. If you were around for ‘Player’s Ball’, or at least made it into the Outkast camp by ATLiens, you hate everyone who loves ‘Hey Ya’. Such is life as a music fan. Outkast is easily in the Top 10 of musical acts currently making records, so you gotta just accept that there will be naïve fans, and take them along with those who genuinely appreciate and love the Atlanta duo.

But forget all that…ATLiens absolutely changed the game in 1996. Hip hop was in an awkward phase, already immersed in gangsta rap and the east/west coast nonsense. Outkast stayed above all that, and did so without stopping to talk about why they weren’t involved in those scenes. They just kept making good music. ATLiens isn’t quite a concept album, although there are alien-influenced themes throughout. “Greetings Earthlings” at the jump of ‘Two Dope Boyz in a Cadillac’ is an obvious example, and the title track ‘ATLiens’ is up next with a few alien noises in the background. “Throw your hands in the ayerrr…” ‘Wheelz of Steel’ keeps the tempo moving, and might be the best single song on the record. But just as I say that, ‘Jazzy Belle’ (and its dope remix) swoops in for its shot at the best-track title. Who knows. Who cares. I definitely remember buying the cassette single for ‘Elevators (Me & You)’, and making up different hooks every time I listened to it like “yo auntie and yo grandpappy too”. Just hit Play on this album…the good stuff keeps coming. A highlight near the end of the record is ‘Millenium’, but if you’re not listening to the whole record then just go buy Speakerboxx and never come back to my blog.

I have no clue how these 2 guys found each other…it’s almost as serendipitous as John and Paul. But thank goodness they did, because the glorious sounds and verses that Outkast introduced to rap just about SAVED the genre during a transitional time where real artists of this kind were desperately needed. No gangsta shit here…no dominating affiliations beyond the occasional Atlanta shoutout…just hotness.

And I replied that I had been goin through tha same thing that he had
True I got more fans than the average man but not enough loot to last me
to the end of the week, I live by the beat like you live check to check
If you don’t move yo’ feet then I don’t eat, so we like neck to neck

music turtle recommends: OH YAY-ERRRR!

What do you think about this album? Comment below

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