On this day, August 27, in hip-hop history…
1996: As we come of age, young people often want to branch out and look beyond our surroundings to find new avenues to explore in our lives. OutKast recorded their debut album when they were only 18 years old and had established themselves as burgeoning young artists in the Southern hip-hop scene but a trip to Jamaica changed their outlook on life. As they discovered a new spirituality amongst themselves, the duo wishedto become more than the southernplayalistic avatars of their first album looking to the stars and their remarkable sophomore album, ATLiens was the result.
In a lot of ways, ATLiens is the true artistic birth for OutKast. While Andre 3000 and Big Boi found remarkable success with their debut album, it would be their second album that first showcased their desire to expand beyond the conventions of southern rap music that became the duo’s trademark. ATLiens showcased a spacier, atmospheric sound that seemed as if it were birthed on Mars but raised on the hot streets of Decatur. Lyrically, the boys showed maturity for their young age highlighting a new spirituality that looked to the millennium more than than the the hard-partying players of their debut.
For their effort, ATLiens was rewarded with artistic and commercial success debuting to rave reviews from critics and a number two charting on the Billboard. The album would become certified by the RIAA as double platinum over the years while spawning some of the finest singles of their career including “Elevators (Me & You),” “Jazzy Belle” and the title cut, “ATLiens.” Over the years, the acclaim would grow where fans and critics recognized ATLiens as a landmark achievement for OutKast and one of the finest hip-hop album of all-time.