Outkast, Aquemini

Hua Hsu

By Hua Hsu

on 08.23.12 in Reviews



Released a few months after Still Standing, Outkast’s third album marked a turning point for the duo. They produced most of the album themselves and it feels intimately “theirs.” This was an album obsessed with balance, equilibrium, how righteousness and evil complemented one another — even the title was a play on their increasingly unlikely partnership (Big was an Aquarius, Andre a Gemini). This embracing of difference resulted in a record that was both celebratory (“Rosa Parks,” which sounded like nothing ever before) and paranoid (the George Clinton-assisted “Synthesizer”), futuristic yet rustically local, hungry for love yet still untrusting. You could get lost in Aquemini‘s worlds — the intersecting lives of “SpottieOttieDopaliscious,” the back-in-the-day folks Dre and Big left behind on “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Part 1).” In retrospect, perhaps this was the beginning of the end, this intense exploration of the-playa-and-the-poet chasm. At the time, though, that space-between represented — and sounded like — vast, open possibility.