Outkast Aquemini Review: Finding the Sound

February 24, 2017.

    Aquemini is the Georgia’s rap duo third studio album and arguably their best. Coming off their breakthrough classic ATLiens, people didn’t expect Outkast to change the sound that they started. Big Boi and Andre 3000 experiment with a lot of live instrumentations, actually being one of the first albums to try it out. This album also started to put Andre 3000 on everyone’s top rappers list, now with that being said I still think Big Boi held his own against Andre on almost all the songs. The first song ‘Return of the G’, Andre and Big Boi clap back at haters and the allegations that they are gay. They do this with a fast flow but kind of an underwhelming hook. Overall still a strong way to start off the album. Next was the single from the album and grammy nominated single “Rosa Parks”. This song is sooooo catchy, and was definitely where everyone heard a new side of the rap duo as they never made a groovy radio hit like this before. Sadly the real Rosa Parks didn’t like it…But anyways, they somehow got a member of the Wu-Tang clan, Raekwon, on the song “Skew it on the Bar B” (I swear I’m not making these titles up). Raekwon fits well with the duo, and again we get a really catchy hook which will start to become a trend. This song also got the duo a lot of recognition on the east coast because they got a New York rapper like Raekwon on the track.

Now, we have come to, in my opinion, the best song on the album and I would even go so far as to say the best Outkast song ever, the album title song, “Aquemini”. All the verses are great from Big Boi and Andre, but it’s the last verse of the song that goes will go down in history. Andre switches up his flow on the verse and does a damn good job of quadrupling his time, keeping the same rhyme scheme for the entire thing. Often considered to be one of his best verses, and one of the best verses in any hip hop song in general. Arguing against it would be a strong task. Nothing more to say about it. Here’s a link to a video rap genius did where the rhyme scheme is broken down https://youtu.be/JNZV-psCCIg.

Ok, now that the best song is out of the way, I can move on. The legendary George Clinton appears on the next song, “Synthesizer”, and recently you will recognize him from Kendricks song, “Wesleys Theory”. “Synthesizer” is a commentary on how society is beginning to favor synthetic products of all kinds while opposing natural human experience. Funny how right they were on this song. “Slump” is the next track and one of the only tracks that doesn’t include Andre. Big Boi is joined by two members of the Dungeon Family as they describe their experiences selling dope. A catchy hook without Andre is actually a surprise that it turned out to be a great song. Again on the next track Andre doesn’t get a verse, but he does make it into the hook of “West Savannah”. Both two verses feature Big Boi reminiscing about his experiences from his original hometown of Savannah. What makes the track so great is the smooth hook. We then move on to one of my personal favorite Outkast songs, “Da Art of Storytellin’” (Part 1). Both the members tell the story of girls they met but Andre’s story takes a dark turn as the girl he was thinking about ends up dead in a bathroom with a needle in her arm while simultaneously being pregnant. This sad verse contrasts the catchy beat and the upbeat hook. It’s a real slap in the face. The hook grabs you and doesn’t let go through the entire song, and I really dug it. The second part goes into more attention of detail, and is about a love-and-lust tale from Part 1 that applies it to an account of a Biblical Apocalypse. After we get “Mamacita,” which has to be the only song that feels out of place on this album. Most albums have a song that make you question how it made the final cut… this is one of those songs. Corny lines from all the performers and a sloppy hook overshadow Andre’s best attempt to create a powerful verse. SAD! The next track, “SpottieOttieDopaliscous,” is my JAM. This song makes me wanna go on a relaxing drive, with nothing but the road ahead. The horns makes the instrumentals my favorite on the album. There is no rapping on the song just talking but still is so cool. If I had a instrumental to play every time I walked into a room it would be this song. Again, they tell stories in this song about the nightlife and girls they meet. “Y’all scared” is a posse rap with Outkast and three other rappers you won’t know. It’s an ok song, nothing special, but another good verse from Andre (surprise surprise). On the second last song we get big man Cee Lo Green as a feature. The song “Liberation” is about freedom – freedom from hatred, inequality, and all the obstacles people face in their community that can get them distracted from their goals. Soooooo smooth in so many ways. Either it being the hook, or Erykah Badu’s verse. Great song. The last song “Chonkyfire” has awesome guitar riffs in the instrumental and I think the only song where Big Boi outshines Andre on the whole album.

Overall the album is incredible. Outkast experimented in so many ways and it payed off. However, I need to take points off due to the wack song “Mamacita”. Almost all of them are great tracks, but my favorite tracks were “Aquemini,” “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Part 1),” and “Liberation.” Thanks for reading, hope you check this classic rap album out. I will have albums posted soon.  

Grade: 9/10

Dakota Theriault

SplittingEdge Reviews. 

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