Getting Diddy to direct your first official music video is not a privilege that many artists can claim, especially those who aren't from New York. But that's exactly what happened to OutKast, as they attracted the hip-hop mogul's attention when their label's founder, L.A. Reid, gave him a copy of the "Player's Ball" single. The resulting video is simple, featuring no real storyline and mostly nondescript locations, but seeing Big Boi and André so young and hungry makes this video essential.
"Git Up, Git Out" Feat. Goodie Mob
The third single from Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, "Git Up, Git Out" was one of the more conscious songs OutKast ever released, with a chorus that urged youth to not "spend all your time tryin' to get high." With exhilarating and funny verses from Three Stacks, Big Boi, Cee-Lo and Big Gipp, this posse cut managed to never get too preachy, and was accompanied by an excellent video.
As Goodie Mob's debut album wouldn't come out until the next year, this was the first time that the world was introduced to Cee-Lo, and he showed signs of fame from the start. Beginning with an iconic scene of two versions of himself rapping to each other, the MC stole the show in "Git Up, Git Out," nabbing the song's first verse as well as the hook. With this video, 'Kast were able to give their friends a leg up to the big time, and showcase the variety of subjects they were capable of rapping about.
Though his attire in the "ATLiens" video was pretty wild, André 3000 didn't really become known as an avant-garde dresser until the "Rosa Parks" video. The video begins with him and Big Boi arguing over ideas for a new video, with 3000 wanting "space age futuristic" and Big Boi wanting "classic pimpin'", and clearly they decided to go for both. Contrasting with Big Boi's look, consisting of sports jerseys and warm up jackets, 3000 used sporting apparel in wildly different ways.
In this video, he appeared wearing football shoulder pads, and later, an umpire's chest padding, both coupled with accessories such as tiger print pants and huge sunglasses. This divide between the two members of OutKast would keep growing larger until it peaked at Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, when the stark differences in their styles would become the group's calling card.
"Watch for the Hook" - Cool Breeze Feat. OutKast & Goodie Mob
The first of two songs on this list in which OutKast appear as featured artists, Cool Breeze's "Watch for the Hook" is one of the lesser-known highlights of the group's career. A classic posse cut, with each participating rapper getting one verse, the song had a great, Tarantino-inspired video to go with it.
Seeming to borrow bits from "Reservoir Dogs" (the meeting around the table in a diner) and "Pulp Fiction" (André writhing around in the backseat of a car, apparently shot), the Dungeon Family crew put together a video as intriguing as all of their tongue-twisting verses. Big Gipp also deserves some credit for his performance in "Watch for the Hook," as his look and rapping style can be seen as direct influences on a younger rapper from Atlanta: Trinidad James.
If anyone ever tells you that hip-hop is boring, show them the "B.O.B." video. With its weirdly-altered colors, bonkers storyline, and contradictory images (most notably strippers twerking in front of a gospel choir), this song's video did what initially may have seemed an impossible task: it mached the actual record's batshit crazy vibe. Surrounded by kids, monkeys, B-Boys and a Lenny Kravitz lookalike, Big Boi and André had some of their most iconic moments in "B.O.B.," including the opening shot of Three Stacks lying on a bed in a poster-covered room, and Big Boi sporting a Lawrence Taylor jersey with one of the strangest hairdos he's ever rocked (and that's saying something). All of this was only fitting for a song that contains a guitar solo, a marching band-style snare drum, and a gospel choir.
This video is one of the few that OutKast ever made with definite concept, with a broken-down house serving as a metaphor for André and Erykah Badu's failed relationship. Both he and Big Boi try to make repairs on it during an oncoming storm, and are accompanied by a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, a turtle and an owl. The best moment might be when the owl seems to mouth along to André's famous "forever ever" line, one of many instances of the animals seeming to be in tune with the song by nodding their heads or walking across a piano. This is a very unique hip-hop video, and one that became very popular on MTV at the time of its release.
"The Whole World" Feat. Killer Mike
An OutKast song that never appeared on any of their studio albums, yet was still extremely dope, "The Whole World" got a video that seemed to be influenced by Cirque du Soleil. With André sporting outlandish facepaint in the style of Mexico's Day of the Dead celebration, a frenzy of tightrope walkers, clowns and acrobats engaged in various stunts around OutKast, who were accompanied by longtime collaborator Killer Mike. In the video, Mike plays a strong man who lifts up an entire car, and gets to showcase some of his vicious rhyming towards the end of the track. For a fun single that may be considered less essential than many of OutKast's other tracks, "The Whole World" had an absurdly fun video.
2014 marks the tenth year since "Hey Ya" was released, and the fiftieth year since The Beatles first played on "The Ed Sullivan Show." How are those two events linked? Well, the "Hey Ya" video is based on the Fab Four's landmark television appearance, which secured them widespread popularity in the U.S. Here, OutKast flipped the script slightly, setting the video in the U.K. and constructing a live band out of eight different versions of André. To play all of the parts, he had to perform the song 23 times during filming, moving from energetic frontman Ice Cold 3000 to relaxed guitar strummer Johnny Vulture. This video was a huge hit, topping "TRL" for 19 straight days and winning four VMAs in 2004.
Although an honorable mention goes to the "GhettoMusick" video, "Roses" is the second best video from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Using both of those album titles as names of respective gangs, André and Big Boi took some cues from "A West Side Story" and created a plot in which the two members feud over a girl, the "mighty fine" Caroline. André's hilarious as the star of the school musical, and the scene with Big Boi, Sleepy Brown and others walking down the hall while snapping is priceless as well. Katt Williams makes a guest appearance during the brawl at the end of the video, stealing the girl and asking, "Which one of you Speakerboxxxes hit me in the Love Below?" Along with the "Hey Ya" video, OutKast used the pinnacle of their commercial success to fund increasingly extravagant videos, most of which paid off handsomely.
"International Players Anthem" - UGK Feat. OutKast
Commonly cited as one of the best hip-hop songs of the '00s, "International Players Anthem" also has one hell of a video that features cameos from Three 6 Mafia, T-Pain, Chamillionaire, David Banner and Katt Williams (again). Set during André's wedding, this video is also the last one that Pimp C would ever appear in. You can't help but smile when he makes his first appearance, clad in an all-white, all-fur suit, just as 3000 says "I know you ain't a pimp, but pimp remember what I taught you." Emphasizing the differences between commitment and pimping, the song is a little less joyous than you may initially think, but you really wouldn't know it from the video, which is just an all-around great time.
R.I.P. Pimp C, and good luck to OutKast on their reunion tour.