OutKast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)
Label: LaFace, Arista
Just the idea of Outkast releasing a double LP with one disc starring Big Boi and the other starring Andre 3000 was classic. It was their fifth album, and their previous four efforts were all incredible, so why not change things up a bit? Plus, it was clear that they were each moving in different directions musically, so it was a chance to give us an Outkast album that represented each head attached to the monster.
What resulted was both Big Boi and Andre 3000 creating huge hit singles. Big Boi's "The Way You Move" was enormous in its own right, but Andre's smash "Hey Ya" was absolutely through the roof. It was the catchiest, most danceable song of the year. Both songs hit No. 1 on Billboard.
Beyond that, each album was overloaded with goodies, displaying every facet of their music-making talent, including 3 Stacks new knack for singing, which was most effective on "Roses" and "Prototype." It had pop appeal, but the gangsters could vibe with it, too, and it wound up winning the Grammy for Album of the Year—a landmark moment for hip-hop. - Daniel Isenberg