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July 25, 2024

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Aquemini (Laface Records)

By: Dave Patsko

After two hugely successful albums in Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and ATLiens, Outkast has released their third solo effort, thoughtfully entitled Aquemini. Taken from morphing "Aquarius" and "Gemini," Aquemini has a long way to go to compare to the success and status that ATLiens and Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik enjoyed. The only thing one can expect from Outkast is creativity and innovation and Andre and Big Boi make sure to meet everyone's expectations.

Aquemini starts off with "Hold On, Be Strong," a powerful instrumental intro that sets the tempo for Aquemini. The CD then smoothly slinks into "Return Of The G," a track featuring a laid-back yet funky beat with dope verses from Andre and Big Boi. Andre contemplates: "Return of the gangsta, thanks ta/them niggas that get the wrong impression of expression/then the question is, Big Boi, what's up with Andre?/Is he in a cult? Is he on drugs? Is he gay?/When y'all gone break up? When y'all gone wake up?/Nigga I'm feelin better than ever, what's wrong with you? Get down!" Following "Return Of The G" is the smash single "Rosa Parks," which features a beat that will make anyone want to dance and even includes an ill harmonica solo! Big Boi states: "Many a day has passed, the night has gone by/But still I find the time to put that bump off in your eye/Total chaos, for these playas, thought we was absent/We taking another route to represent the Dungeon Family/Like Great Day, me and my nigga decide to take the back way/We stabbing every city then we headed to that bat cave/A-T-L, Georgia, what do we do for ya/Bull doggin hoes like them Georgetown Hoyas." Outkast shows that even though they can get deep and search even the darkest of souls that they can still rock a party with ease. Following "Rosa Parks" is "Skew It On The Bar-B," a joint effort featuring Outkast and Raekwon from the Wu-Tang Clan. Outkast and Raekwon, although featuring different styles, come together splendidly on this track and satisfy all. Big Boi comments: "I bust raps like "D" boys bust gats shit/We the type of people that don't bury the ax/Or the hatchet, everytime we see your link we snatch it/Riding round our hood talking that dumb shit."

Skipping ahead one track to "Synthesizer," Outkast is joined by P-Funk all-star George Clinton. The track is simply dope and George Clinton adds: "Conceived under the influence of toxic wasted doctors/computer bugging and debugging devices and vice versa, various viruses/performing with laser light precision and verbal incision/for a linguistic ballistic lobotomy mind fucking you of psycho sodomy/of the medulla oblongata exit your mind down your spine and out your behind/fuck you." George Clinton adds a unique flavor to Outkast's music and the result is simply spectacular. "West Savannah," "Da Art Of Storytellin' {Part 1}" and "Da Art Of Storytellin' {Part 2}" all feature fat beats with Dre and Big Boi trading dope verses. Although "Da Art Of Storytellin'" parts one and two share the same title, both songs are very much different and unique with distinct flavors and topics. The best song on the CD, though, is "SpottieOttieDopaliscious." The production immediately captures the attention, with a drum roll leading into a fat beat, incorporating live instrumentation in the form of guitars, drums and trumpets. Another thing that captures the attention is the simple but memorable chorus, "damn damn damn James." Guest artist Pat Brown sings: "Dickie Shorts and Lincoln's clean/leaning checking out the scene/gangsta boys Bligga's lit/riding out talking shit/nigga where you wanna go?/you know the club don't close til four/let's party til we can't no more/watch out here come the folks." The trumpets are intoxicating and make the listener think he/she is in a club listening to Outkast perform this song live. Andre, the poet, then comes in with a spoken-word verse where he talks about a club in Atlanta and the happenings that occur there. Andre states: "While the DJ sweating out all the problems and troubles of the day/while this fine, bowlegged girl fine as all outdoors/lulls lukewarm lullabies in your left ear/competing with "Set It Off" in the right/but it all blends perfectly, let the liquor tell it/"Hey, hey, look baby, they playin our song." Big Boi, not to be outdone, also utilizes the spoken-word rhyming style and uses it to tell about meeting a young lady and the difficulties a young father faces. Big Boi reflects: "Can't gamble feeding a baby on that dope money/might not always be sufficient/but the United Parcel Service and the people at the post office/didn't call you back because you had cloudy piss/so now you back in the trap, just that, trapped/gon and marinate on that for a minute." Outkast is known for including live instrumentation in their music and for using varied deliveries with their verses, but "SpottieOttieDopaliscious" is simply one of the most outstanding songs I have ever heard.

Any downsides to Aquemini are non-existent. Andre and Big Boi consistently deliver tight, crisp verses and the production is exquisite throughout the length of the disc. The guest artists joining Andre and Big Boi are dope as well. To put it simply, Aquemini is chock full of gifted artists performing above and beyond presently demonstrated capabilities while Andre and Big Boi remain stellar with little difficulty.

Outkast is the premiere rap group from the south. Many say Master P and the No Limit family are the cream of the crop when it comes to southern hip-hop. In all reality, Outkast and the other members of the Dungeon Family are the ones that keep the music real and still attain success while doing it. Since capturing everyone's attention with "Player's Ball," Outkast has proven that their music will range far beyond the "player" realm and cover all topics, no matter how abstract or simple. Aquemini is truly a wonderful disc and this reviewer highly suggests that all purchase it as soon as possible.

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