Album: ATLiens

It has always been obvious that OutKast was ahead of their time, but almost 20 years after its release, “Elevators” makes it easy to hear how forward-thinking the Atlanta duo really was. The song was OutKast’s first single off their second album ATLiens, and it was a step forward from the Southernplayalistic slick talk of their debut. With nimble rapping and skillful storytelling, the young rappers—barely in their 20's at the time—got more honest, detailing the lives of two struggling artists trying to find success amidst jealousy and misconceptions. The sparseness of "Elevators" was a huge departure from the layered richness that was hallmark of their first album. Lyrically, it was relatable and down-to-earth, but sonically, “Elevators” was out of this world. It was like the laid-back, Southern soul of Goodie Mob floating in orbit. In the decades following the release of this song, we’ve heard a lot of rappers brag about being from outer space, but few have taken us as high as OutKast with 1996’s most hypnotizing rap song. —Jacob Moore