Solo Albums: n/a
Group Albums: Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994), ATLiens (1998), Aquemini (1998)
Biggest Hits: "Player's Ball" (1994), "Elevators (Me & You)" (1996), "Jazzy Belle" (1996), "ATLiens" (1996), "Rosa Parks" (1998),
The André 3000 you remember may have a Silky Johnson perm and suspenders, but before the perm, before the Grammy's, and before the money Dré was just a teenager with a fade in a Braves jersey who wanted to be heard. Big Boi, the other half of OutKast, wasn't born with a fur coat and a glass of Crown Royal, he earned that. There was a time before the duo were two dope boys in a Cadillac. They were, at one-point, just two dope boys rapping in the Tri-Cites High School Cafeteria.
A 19-year old André kicked off one of the best five-year runs in rap history with the release of the duo's first single, "Player's Ball." The Organized Noize produced track marked OutKast's introduction to the world, and the public braced for the duo's debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.
The debut album was just the beginning, not only for OutKast, but also for Atlanta as a whole. The debut album kicked down the door for the rest of the Dungeon Family, and Atlanta as a whole. As André said amidst boos at the 1995 Source awards, "The South got something to say." The south did have something to say and thanks to releases by Outkast and fellow Dungeon Family group Goodie Mob the south was beginning to be heard. Southerplayalisticadillacmuzik put Outkast on the map. They were being heard, they were being watched and they acted accordingly following their debut with the classic ATliens. The album further defined OutKast's sound; their Atlanta slang and southern twang made it cool to be from below the Mason-Dixon line in the rap industry.
André has always been eccentric and creative, these characteristics were in full effect on Outkasts third release, Aquemini. Outkast received their first Grammy Nomination for Aquemini. The commercial and critical success was made possible by the groundwork laid down on their first two offerings. Each album pushed the boundaries further and broadened the definition of rap.
Big Boi and André's genre-bending music redefined the genre as a whole. The 5-year span was not just one of growth for Dré and 'Twan, but also for rap as a whole. Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, Atliens, and Aquemini changed the meaning of what it was to be a rapper, using elements of gospel, funk, blues, and jazz to create something new. We owe our liberal definition of rap today to the rule breaking and pioneering outcasts; André and Big Boi. The permed André of the "Hey Ya!" video is not possible without the cornrowed André of the "Player's Ball" video, the same way that Speakerboxx/The Love Below is not possible without Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. Thankfully we have one of the greatest 5 year runs to look back on and remember what made Speakerboxx/The Love Below, the best selling rap album of all time, possible. — Austin Weatherly