2004 Men of the Year

outkast-2.jpgOutKast had 2004 wrapped up before the year even started. Already on the short list of greatest rap groups of all time, Atlanta’s Andre “3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton were in midascent to total pop-culture dominance when the calendar flipped. Released late 2003, their bold, double-disc opus Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was on its way to selling over five million copies (earning just the third diamond plaque the RIAA has ever bestowed upon a hip-hop album), while their twin tower singles—“Hey Ya!” and “The Way You Move”—held the top two spots on Billboard’s pop charts for eight weeks running. When “Hey Ya!” finally dropped from No. 1, in February, “The Way You Move” replaced it. That same month, at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, they took three trophies, including the big one, Album of the Year.

It was all the result of a novel production process. Andre, bored with a rap game he’d been pushing the boundaries of for years, wanted to make another kind of music. Big Boi, always the duo’s tether to the streets, wanted to keep it hip-hop. So they recorded separate albums—Andre’s The Love Below, an eclectic collection of purple-funk love ballads and genre-melting hummables, like “Hey Ya!,” and Big Boi’s Speakerboxxx, a hood-certified juke joint full of monstrous 808s, state-of-the-art rhyming and smooth, brass-backed come-ons, like “The Way You Move”—and released them as one under the OutKast rubric. Together, they cast an awfully wide net. Pitched an awfully big tent. OutKast became that rare phenomenon in pop music—the act loved by everyone and their mothers. And everyone’s mothers’ dentists’ aunties’ plumbers. And…

Anyway, XXL got the guys on the phone recently to learn what that’s like.

XXL: What are your fondest memories from 2004?
Big Boi: The craziest was the back-to-back performances of “Hey Ya!” and “The Way You Move.” Whether it was on Leno or Letterman or the VH1 Awards, BET Awards or MTV—whatever it was—it was just back-to-back. At one point, we was running from one award show and going to the next one to perform. We were moving maybe nine to 10 pieces in each of our setups, to go change clothes and jump into your suit and go ahead and do it, man. It was a lot of fun.

How did it feel to lock down the Grammys?
Dre: Shit, man, that was amazing, to be honest with you. I mean, OutKast, we been around since ’94. But a lot of people, believe it or not, that was their first time hearing about OutKast. So a lot of people don’t even know that I rap, which is funny. To get that kind of award and have old OutKast fans be like, “Oh, y’all just now catching on?” You know, it’s kinda cool.

Big Boi: I flew like maybe 40 of my family members out there that never been out of Georgia—aunties, cousins, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandmama and everything. So to have my family and Dre’s family out there to enjoy it, and we win and celebrate after that, you can’t beat it. It was like a big-ass family reunion. I mean, the energy in the whole house, and when the music cut off and they announced “Album of the Year.” First rap group to win Album of the Year—period.

——- Read the rest of our OutKast feature in XXL’s September 2007 issue (#95)

XXL Staff Picks

Songs of the Year:
“Lean Back,” Terror Squad
“Slow Motion,” Juvenile featuring Soulja Slim
“99 Problems,” Jay-Z
“Tipsy,” J-Kwon
“Slow Jamz,” Twista
“Jesus Walks,” Kanye West
“Stomp,” Young Buck featuring Ludacris & T.I.
“Go DJ,” Lil Wayne
“You Don’t Know Me,” T.I.
“Drop It Like It’s Hot,” Snoop Dogg

Albums of the Year:

Encore, Eminem
The College Dropout, Kanye West
Kamikaze, Twista
Crunk Juice, Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz
Straight Outta Cashville, Young Buck

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  • FMAN


  • FMAN

    encore eminem was one of the albums of da year, get da fuk outta here

  • gangsta!


  • Roc

    Encore? WTF? Slow Jamz is Kanyes song, what a very sloppy post.

  • Rockcity

    Yes i agree Oukast did their thing, initially when i thought about who would be 2004 MOY i thought It would be Kanye and completely forgot about Outkast. And yes this post is sloppy.

  • John Brown

    NO, SLOW JAMZ wasnt Kanye song. He produced it and had a feature. Thats it! It was TWISTA song and then they put it on Kanye’s Dropout album (just like every other freakin artist did that year). Oh Ill do the feature but I also gotta add the song to my album. Now how the F*CK is TIPSY song of the year (well one of them). And also TRICK DADDYS “THUG MATRIMONY” should be consider album of the year. And “LETS GO” that was one of the song of the year…yall f*cked up this year…

  • Incilin

    How da fuck did “Encore” make that list?? That shit was so terrible. How come “R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece” isn’t on the top album list? Or even the poorly recieved “Street’s Diciple” Both of them was a better than
    Encore” although they aint sell like it.

  • sk

    yes must agree “Encore” was a hot mess I had the blankest stare on my face like WTF am I listening 2

  • Trizzle

    ATL Shawty

  • unit

    Lloyd Banks-Hunger for more??

  • mr 512

    What about Lil wayne’s the carter…that was a classic > 2004 is being represented all wrong

  • http://www.xxlmag.com?p=13091 magnum xl

    what about lil wayne????

  • Stax On Deck


  • mimi

    omg Encore should be the album of da year!!!!!

  • WTF

    umm Lloyd Banks-On Fire. how the fuck was that not on and stomp was? hunger for more definetly shud have been up there

  • Cuban Link

    co-sign at Unit, no Thug Matrimony.Hunger for More was fire.

    First time I listened to Encore, I skipped all the tracks with gay names, so I really liked it till I got to the track after Mosh, where it went downhill.I skipped every track until I got to the one with Obie and 50, and then started listening again.Till this day I have never heard Puke or Rain Man.And I hope I never will.

    and 99 Problems shouldve been in ’03, when it came out.

  • DoubleClutch

    Where the Carter I on this list. That album started the buzz of Wayne being the best rapper alive (which he said at the end of his single “Bring It Back”). They need to take off Young Buck’s & put Wayne’s over it.

  • http://www.myspace.com –MJ–


  • http://myspace.com loony

    Lloyd banks..LOL, are u kidding. OUTKAST SOLD 10 Million, Lloyd Banks like 2. Go to sleep

  • Rodjilius

    kinda obvious outkast was gettin this one they did it real huge that year

  • Dude

    I’m black, I’m Gangsta, WTF? Eminem is a white rapper, so he sucks, Encore sucks….hahaha

    no…really now… U Fuckinn Clowns crack me up


    Lolz dude…U clowns crack me up hating on Shady

    that shit was his worst album and it sold 5 mill
    Yes its supposed to be on that list