Outkast, ATLiens

Hua Hsu

By Hua Hsu

on 08.23.12 in Reviews



Emboldened by the success of (and perceived slights toward) Southernplayalistic, Dre and Big Boi put a great deal of thought into their follow-up. It had only been a couple years since their debut but they were no longer kids, and they tweaked their personas accordingly, as “Two Dope Boyz (in a Cadillac)” — with its “Welcome, earthlings” robot intro — showed. If Atlanta was too exotic and strange for the hip-hop establishment, then why not embrace your alien status? ATLiens was a far more confident and ambitious record than their debut, full of the unafraid, almost absurdist swagger (“I’m cooler than a polar bear’s toenails,” Big Boi famously bragged on the title cut) and quiet pensiveness that would power their next few albums. No longer recording exclusively in the Dungeon, Dre and Big began making their own beats, including the singles “Jazzy Belle” and “Elevators.” Despite its futuristic imagery and feel, there was already a sense of nostalgia and appreciation for where they’d come from. “Every day I sit while my ni — a be in school/ Thinkin’ bout the second album at the Dungeon shootin’ pool,” Big raps, describing just a couple years before.