MF Doom

20 Definitive Blerd Rap Albums

10. Aquemini by Outkast (1998)


If 1996’s A.T.L.iens was merely peek into the future geeky possibilities of Outkast, then their classic followup Aquemini dropped like a full blown coming out party. MC’s André 3000 and Big Boi, backed by production team Organized Noize and the Dungeon Family crew, channeled the sonic and narrative world-building of Parliament-Funkadelic and Isaac Hayes, while adding their unique brand of Southerplayalisticadillafunkymusic. While their first two albums played on a lot of tropes of mainstream hip-hop, the duo was always a little on the margins. By the time Aquemini came around, André 3000 traded his wardrobe of throwbacks and braids for space-ready furry pants and turbans.

Outkast’s lyrical excellent is well documented, but their world-building deserves just as much praise. True to the fact that Andre 3000 noted publicly, and in his lyrics, that he wanted to be a comic book artist as a kid, the storytelling and imagery across the album’s 16 tracks are unparalleled. Once again joined by art director D.L. Warfield, who designed the comic book that accompanied their previous album, the visual aesthetic captures the tones therein perfectly – spaghetti-western meets blaxploitation by way of science fiction leanings. From track to track, Big Boi and Dre shift characters, narrative perspective, and genre with ease – “Synthesizer” the horror film starring George Clinton; “Da Art of Storytelling (Pt.1),” the Southern coming of age story; “Da Art of Storytelling (Pt.2),” the disaster film. Aquemini is the pinnacle of perfection for the true Outkast heads who were hip well before “Hey Ya!” — Jon Carlos Evans

Curator of the BlerdUp Podcast // Blerds out about: Comic Book Movies, Video Games, Hip-Hop, and Politics

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