OutKast Rocks Coachella And Here’s Why: Ranking The Best OutKast Albums

At this point in hip-hop’s storied history, I thought the chances of an OutKast reunion were as likely as Biggie doing the Nae Nae at a Super Bowl halftime show.

But Coachella, the annual arts and music festival, has a reputation for resurrecting the dead. They already brought 2pac back.

Friday night, OutKast rose again. Check out the performance before some salty record label removes the vid!

This performance – 90 minutes of wall-to-wall classic hits – is why I’m a fan of hip hop. Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton aren’t just a pair of eccentric Southern rappers, they’re pioneers, constantly pushing hip hop in new directions. When I give current Southern rappers a hard time for being lazy and uninspired, blame OutKast. They never made excuses. They were always reinventing, always setting trends.

They were always dope.

Let’s look back at their classic catalog, ranking their albums from worst to best. This list excludes their 2001 compilation and Big Boi’s pair of solo albums (both his 2010 and 2012 sets are well worth your time).

OutKast is arguably the greatest rap group of all time. Here’s the proof.

6. Idlewild (2006)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: No matter how great the performer, there’s always that one album that is the black sheep of an otherwise stellar discography. Mediocrity, thy name is Idlewild. The score to the film of the same name certainly wasn’t a total failure, it was just more disjointed and rushed that what we were accustomed to.

Forgotten treasures: “Morris Brown,” “In Your Dreams,” “Hollywood Divorce”


5. Stankonia (2000)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Stankonia is the album that transformed Kast from Southern rap stalwarts to mainstream superstars. Since this was many fans’ first brush with OutKast’s greatness, they consider this album to be the pinnacle of their careers. Longtime fans know better. Don’t mistake me, though, Stankonia’s chaotic combination of funk, gospel, soul and hip-hop has stood the test of time.

Forgotten treasures: “Gasoline Dreams,” “Slum Beautiful,” “Humble Mumble”


4. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: I remember OutKast fans being a little nervous about this one back in ’03. Wouldn’t two solo albums divide the chemistry and creativity that Dre and Big Boi spent a decade building? How dare we question the Mighty O. Speakerboxxx and The Love Below were two vastly different albums, but both were spectacual in their own right. 3 Stacks took on the role of a 21st century Jimi Hendrix while Big Boi proved that outside of Andre’s shadow he’s one of the greatest MCs of all time. The level of creativity here couldn’t be contained to just one disc.

Forgotten treasures: “Flip Flop Rock,” “Bowtie,” “A Day In The Life of Benjamin Andre (Incomplete)”


3. Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: And so it begins. OutKast’s debut is nearing its 20th birthday (!!!!) and it’s still the measuring stick for Southern hip hop. Consider it Dre and Big Boi’s coming of age tale – two young men enamored with the lifestyles of pimps and high-rollers but grounded by the realities they face daily in the hood. Fans could relate. And of course, the duo’s mind-bending wordplay and Southern slang made every bar instantly quotable. It’s one of the last great albums from hip-hop’s ’90s Golden Era.

Forgotten treasures: “Crumblin’ Erb,” “Myintrotoletuknow,” “Funky Ride”


2. ATLiens (1996)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: I wrestled long and hard debating the placement of ATLiens over Kast’s debut. I think this album has a razor-thin edge over its predecessor simply because it was such a huge creative departure from anything we had ever heard in hip hop. Andre and Sir Lucious traded in the Caddys for spaceships, steering clear of the era’s bling and excess to tackle more meaningful issues. It was a huge risk, and it paid off.

Forgotten treasures: “Mainstream,” “Ova Da Wudz,” “Two Dope Boyz (In A Cadillac)”


1. Aquemini (1998)

Soul In Stereo rating: 5 stars out of 5

Edd said: There is no album in OutKast’s catalog, and few in rap history, that can stand next to Aquemini. The album married Southern hip hop with 60s soul straight out of Stax Records, producing some of the best tracks the game has ever seen. Some may prefer their more commercially successful outings, but Aquemini is the album that made OutKast legendary.

Forgotten treasures: “Mamacita,” “Return of the G’,” “Skew It On The Bar-B”

How would you rank OutKast’s albums? Speak out in the comments below.


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