On this day, September 23, in hip-hop history…
2003: Following the success of their crossover Billboard Hot 100 hit single “Ms. Jackson” and releasing their greatest hits album Big Boi and Dre Present: OutKast, OutKast was on a career high, finally garnering mainstream success and attention. However, instead of following the proven successful formula of working as a group, Big Boi and Andre 3000 decided to create two separate solo albums and sell them as a double album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
The double album was not what OutKast’s record label, Arista, wanted. After the success of “Ms. Jackson,” Arista wanted a similar sound. The label did not like the idea of separate albums and did not like that Andre was singing instead of rapping. Arista played it safe, only shipping 500,000 copies of the album to stores. The album sold out fast in stores and the label was unable to ship more copies quickly because of the fold over packaging of the album was hard to manufacture.
Despite these issues, SpeakerBoxxx/The Love Below sold 503,000 copies in its first week, debuting at the top spot on the Billboard chart and beating out Dave Matthew’s solo album, Some Devil, that was released that same day. It was the second biggest debut for a double album in Soundscan history. SpeakerBoxx/The Love Below ended up having the number one spot for seven weeks total. Both of the album’s first singles, “Hey Ya!” and “The Way You Move,” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The album won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2004, being the second hip-hop album to do so and the first time a hip-hop group has won that award. As of today, the album is certified diamond, selling over 11 million copies (over 5.5 albums per disc). —Ariana LaBarrie