10 Years Of OutKast And ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below’
When Andre 3000 and Big Boi dropped their fifth album, the double-disc Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, on September 23, 2003, it was hard to tell what the album would do. The duo, long known as one of the leaders of the Southern hip-hop world, was certainly delving into new territory, with each member essentially crafting a solo album, then the two stitching them together to form an eclectic mix of funk, soul, blues, jazz, psychedlia and hip-hop. The album would go on to sell more than 11 million copies in the U.S. alone, becoming one of only three hip-hop albums to receive the RIAA’s Diamond certification and eventually landing as the highest-selling hip-hop album of all time. But something shifted after the album came out—the duo, for so long an indestructible force, was drifting apart. With Andre focusing more on his acting career and Big Boi reacting by throwing his energy into his solo work, rumors abounded that the two had broken up. Not even 2006’s Idlewild—the film and soundtrack, which would be their last official release together—could dispel the rumors, and these days neither of the two can get through an interview without being asked whether there will ever be another OutKast project. They say they haven’t—and never will—break up, but the much-rumored seventh album has taken on a mythic, Detox-like status.
Today, on the 10th anniversary of the release of their biggest album, XXL has compiled an exhaustive timeline of OutKast’s collective mentions in the media—the album delays, the label issues, the breakup rumors, and, of course, the accolades. Three Grammys, numerous Billboard chart distinctions, and acclaim from all corners of the hip-hop and mainstream worlds has come along in the past decade, and we’ve tracked it all, leaving their solo and side hustles alone. Here’s to the possibility of a new OutKast project some time in the future…we’re just not sure if we’ll ever believe it. —Dan Rys (@danrys)