The 10 Best Outkast Songs

They're regarded as the best Hip Hop group of all time, and we're looking back at Outkast's best tracks.

BYJosh Megson
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Next April will mark 30 years since legendary Southern rap duo Outkast burst onto the Hip-Hop scene with their debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Andre 3000 and Big Boi rose to rap supremacy. Many fans and critics regard the duo as the greatest Hip-Hop group of all time. Outkast is well-remembered for their thought-provoking lyrics, funky beats, and overall unique and everlasting sound. Here's a look at 10 of Outkast's best songs.

10. "So Fresh, So Clean" (2000)

"So Fresh, So Clean" is the perfect anthem for anytime someone puts on their best outfit and looks in the mirror. The song was the third single from Outkast's album Stankonia. Rico Wade of Organized Noize created the now iconic chorus while he sang in the shower one evening. Sleepy Brown recorded the chorus the following day, an interpolation of Joe Simon's "Before the Night is Over." Along with the chorus, Big Boi and Andre 3000 drop some of their smoothest flows over a funky, southern beat as they describe their "playeristic" nature. "So Fresh, So Clean" is a smooth, sexual anthem and an all-time classic.

9. "Hey Ya!" (2003)

Perhaps Outkast's most famous song, "Hey Ya!", came from the group's double album Speakerboxx/The Love Below. Twenty years after its release, "Hey Ya!" is still on many DJs set lists and can be heard at almost any social gathering nationwide. The song is an upbeat, acoustic-driven, '60s-esque pop song delivered entirely by Andre 3000. Yet, the lyrics detail a failing relationship as Andre profoundly questions what keeps couples together. While "Hey Ya!" veers away from the sounds of much of Outkast's discography, its creativity, rejection of genre, and lyrics lead to its greatness. Lines such as "What's cooler than bein' cool, Ice Cold" and "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" are still quoted today. "Hey Ya!" is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable songs ever.

8. "Git Up, Git Out"( 1994)

"Git Up, Git Out" is the third single from Outkast's debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. Along with verses from Big Boi and Andre 3000, the track also features Cee-Lo and Big Gipp of the Goodie Mob. Big Boi and Andre were 19 years old at the time of the song's release. The subject matter of "Git Up, Git Out" reflects the adolescent desire to overcome circumstances and make something out of life. In their verses, each rapper contemplates the impact of their decisions, including dropping out of school and using too much weed. Andre's verse is particularly contemplative as he describes his childhood and his uncertainty with the meaning of existence. "Git Up, Git Out" also questions systems of government that have held each rapper down, and the song's content is unsure, rebellious, and philosophical.

7. "B.O.B. (Bombs Over Bagdhad)" (2000)

"B.O.B" is one of Outkast's discography's most experimental and ambitious songs. It meshes Hip-Hop with drum and bass rhythms, a gospel choir, and an electric guitar. At the turn of the 21st century, Outkast felt that much of the Hip-Hop had become stagnant and formulaic. They looked to break genre boundaries with songs such as "B.O.B." The song moves at 155 beats per minute, making it one of the fastest rap songs ever. Andre 3000 and Big Boi supplement this with frenetic flows and delivery.

"B.O.B" also features a Jimi Hendrix-esque guitar solo halfway through as a gospel choir repeats the phrase "bombs over Baghdad." "B.O.B" is a prime example of Outkast's ability to venture into territories yet to be explored by most Hip-Hop artists of their time.

6. "Elevators (Me & You)"(1996)

"Elevators" was the first single from Outkast's sophomore album ATLiens. The song perfectly captures the spatial, otherworldly atmosphere of the album. The instrumental for "Elevators" is funky and shares characteristics with the "lo-fi" genre of music. At its release, "Elevators" was the highest charting song in Outkast's discography as it reached No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Ironically, Andre 3000's final verse on the song describes how far the group had left to go and the hunger the duo still felt to succeed in Hip-Hop. About this, Andre raps, "I live by the beat / Like you live check-to-check / If it don’t move your feet / Then I don’t eat / So we like neck-to-neck."

5. "Ms. Jackson" (2000)

"Ms. Jackson" was Outkast's first No. 1 hit. The song is a profession of love to the mother of the narrator's romantic partner. It also tells the story of issues that arise from having a child out of wedlock. "Ms. Jackson" depicts Outkast's storytelling ability at its finest, and the lyrics are inspired, in part, by Andre 3000's relationship with Erykah Badu and her mother. The track is vulnerably apologetic and combative at the same time. It shows Outkast's ability to intertwine emotion and storytelling with a catchy, pop-like chorus that resonated with fans. "Ms. Jackson" is one of Outkast's most famous and commercially successful songs, yet the song is also deeply personal and intimate.

4. "Da Art of Storytelling Pt. 1" (1998)

"Da Art of Storytelling Pt. 1" was the third single from Outkast's album Aquemini. True to its title, Big Boi and Andre 3000 tell the stories of two love interests from their pasts. Big Boi's story is of a brief sexual encounter with a woman named "Suzy Screw," which ends after he gets what he wants. However, Andre 3000's story takes a darker turn as he tells the story of a woman named "Sasha Thumper." Andre tells the tale of the two's connection, Sasha's life, and her eventual death by overdose. The song and the stories within are haunting, and the synth-heavy instrumental adds to the evocative atmosphere of the track. "Da Art of Storytelling Pt. 1" is the pinnacle of Hip-Hop storytelling at its finest.

3. "SpottieOttieDopalicious" (1998)

"SpottieOttieDopalicious" is a seven-minute psychedelic escapade into Outkast's experiences within Atlanta's nightlife. The song features one of the most iconic horn riffs as Big Boi and Andre 3000 give spoken-word verses. Meanwhile, Sleepy Brown sings in the background. The song is lyrical, and Big Boi and Andre 3000 deliver their verses like poetry. "SpottieOttieDopalicious" displays Outkast's unique experimentation and storytelling ability. The song is more of an experience than a piece of music. Artists such as Beyoncé, Lil Wayne, Childish Gambino, and J. Cole have all sampled "SpottieOttieDopalicious"; the song is truly one of a kind.

2. "ATLiens" (1996)

"ATLiens" serves as the perfect introduction to the world of Outkast. The song's title plays into the group's geographical home of Atlanta and their place as foreigners in the Hip-Hop scene. In addition, the content of the song reflects this sentiment. The beat begins with a sound effect reminiscent of those in movies where aliens first appear. Big Boi and Andre 3000 deliver verses that pay homage to their Southern roots and contain phrases that establish their "alien" vernacular. The chorus of the song is pitched up and sounds almost otherworldly. "ATLiens" is slick, powerful, and contains everything that makes Outkast legendary.

1. "Aquemini" (1998)

"Aquemini" is a nostalgic reflection on the bond between Big Boi and Andre 3000. As the chorus notes, "Nothing lasts forever / But until they close the curtain / It's him and I, Aquemini." Along with the chorus's somber tone, Big Boi and Andre 3000 deliver some of their greatest verses. Andre 3000's second is mainly one of, if not the best, rap verse. Almost every word rhymes as Andre raps about philosophy, his "alien" nature, and his response to criticism about his outlandish behavior and personality. "Aquemini" displays Outkast at their technical best, as well as at their emotional best. The song serves as a sort of manifesto for both Big Boi and Andre 3000's beliefs on the world, the Hip-Hop scene, and their place as "outcasts" within each of those places.

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