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By the time Aquemini was due to drop in the fall of 1998, no one knew what to expect from the-soon-to-be-iconic OutKast.

They’d gone from red clay players to extraterrestrials – down-to-earth to out-of-this-world – in the span of two albums. But if the contextual leap from their Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik debut to ATLiens was fueled by an Afrofuturistic flight of fancy (and, lest we forget, their feelings of alienation from hip-hop’s East Coast vanguard), then Aquemini was OutKast’s return mission home.

Not only were Antwon “Big Boi” Patton and Andre “3000” Benjamin eager to prove that they were still down, they wanted to lift the ‘hood a little higher.

The resulting mix was earthy and ethereal – a perfect bridge between their artistic extremes. Dre was producing more, following the blueprint inherited from mentors Ray Murray, Rico Wade and Sleepy Brown of Organized Noize. Big was penning the hooks that would help turn OutKast into celebrated pop stars. And Mr. DJ was churning out some serious beats on the drum machine. By collaborating with some of Atlanta’s finest instrumentalists on record, they created one of their most experimental and musical releases to date.

Read the whole story over @ Creative Loafing.

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