On August 27, 1996, ATLiens was released. If Southernplayalisitccadillacmuzik put Outkast on the map, then this album put them on a different planet. It still had that oh-so-solid Organized Noize production, but Big and Dre’s otherworldly lyrical concepts were starting to stretch out, as was their almost-perfect attention to detail that eventually rose up fully formed on Aquemini. Its a perfect bridge between their beginning and their future, and damn its a sturdy one. If its been a minute, go back now and give it a re-listen. You won’t be disappointed.
To celebrate the release of this classic, we at Outkast.com have come up with some of the best moments from the album. Enjoy and if you don’t own it yet, buy ATLiens in the official Outkast store now.
Click “Read More” to see the Top 5 Moments From ATLiens…
5. Big Rube on “13th Floor/Getting Older”
Its not official until Big Rube speaks, and any time he opens his mouth, genius comes out. This poem/speech/rap/verse/whatever you call it is no different. When he opens up with the instruction to “Conceive true deception and multiply it a million-fold… Visualize the yin and yang in a battle so intense that we get ’em confused”, you can almost hear your own brain frying.
4. Big and Dre splitting verses on “Wheels of Steel”
Outkast is one entity, two complimentary forces that connect and collide to create something gorgeous, like the verses on this track. Whenever anyone talks about Outkast being a “duo”, THIS is what they are referring to, whether they know it or not. This track is the best example of their amazing interplay up to this point. The way the verse switches between Big and Dre without missing a beat sounds like one being spitting from two faces.
3. That Noise on “Elevators”
You know which noise we’re talking about. That little beep that pops up every once in awhile. Take that dubbed out bleep away and the song loses something vital (case in point: just listen to the “DNP 86” remix of the track) , especially in the chorus. You know every time you sing “Slammin cadillac doors” out loud you either hear that little beep in your head or you even sing it out loud. It first pops up at :39 seconds in this video.
2. Dre’s second verse on “Babylon”
Dre’s verses on this track, especially the second verse where he details a young man’s “sinful” discovery of the female species, are revolutionary. “They call it horny because its devilish.” It was pretty clear that he was pushing his creative limits on that verse, something he would continue to do throughout his career. “Babylon” was one of his early tastes of the infinite.
1. Big Boi’s opening verse on “ATLiens”
Just as “Babylon” was to Dre, “ATLiens” was to Big Boi. He took another huge leap forward with his style right out the gate on this track, jumping back and forth across the beat, switching speeds, linking his lines together in ways that no one had heard before. Observe:
Well its the M-I-Crooked letter/ ain’t no one better/
And when i’m on the microphone you better wear your sweater/
Cuz i’m cooler than a polar bear’s toenails/
There he go again…talkin that shit/
Corners like I was a curb/
I struck a nerve/ And now you ’bout to hear the southern player serve…
And it goes on and on…actually, both verses here are some of the best raps ever put on wax, but there is just something about the innovation in that opening verse. Set the bar even higher for any rapper to come afterward.
Alright, now go play the damn album and discuss YOUR favorite moments right here in the comments. Enjoy it, and stay tuned for more right here.