Outkast - Aquemini

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2003-01-05

It takes a few listens to sink in, but on Aquemini, Outkast have pulled off a rare feat in hip-hop: they've made a good record that's a masterpiece of subtlety. What's more, it's their third record, and they've yet to fall into a rut--and that alone puts them in line for an award. The Organized Noize production crew is sublime, working with live musicians and crafting hook-filled soundscapes that complement Big Boi and Andre Benjamin's melodic patter. (See "Rosa Parks," "Chonkyfire," and the epic "Liberation" which features Erykah Badu, Cee Lo, and Big Rube--and clocks in at just under nine minutes.) Classy and intelligent, Outkast haven't sacrificed anything in their quest to make challenging, innovative hip-hop that forgoes idle boasting for the duo's message. A sample, from the title track: "Now, question: is every nigga wit dreads for the cause? / Is every nigga wit golds for the fall? Naw / So don't get caught in appearance."--Randy Silver

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