ATLiens officially turns 23 Tuesday and it remains one of Outkast’s most riveting and heralded work. The second studio album by Andre 3000 and Big Boi marked a huge change in the group’s direction. Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik was released two years before and although it was well received it was just a fraction of the innovation that the duo was set to embark. In honor of one of the greatest Hip-Hop albums ever released, here’s some tidbits that have been collected over the years about its release.
1). A Face Records hated “Elevators (Me & You)”
Similar to Player’s Ball which nearly never saw the light of day, Outkast’s record label also didn't like Elevators and thought that it would hurt the perception of the group. Andre and Big Boi felt so strongly about the song being a single, that they took it to radio without the knowledge of the label, an uncommon practice at the time. It ended up being their hottest charting single at the time.
2). ATLiens was Andre and Big Boi’s first time Producing
The two are credited on 5 songs off the album, "ATLiens" , "Wheelz of Steel", "Elevators (Me & You)", "Ova da Wudz", and "E.T. (Extraterrestrial)" Because of the fact that they watched Organized Confuzion (the production team and mind behind Outkast and Goodie Mobb) so many times, the two felt comfortable and empowered enough to try their hands at production. Big Boi tells Spin Magazine, that it was the first time they went out and brought equipment. The tools included and MPC3000, an ASR-10 synthesizer, a Tascam mixing board, and a drum machine. Not bad work at all for their first try!
3). It was one of the first platinum albums recorded in Patchwerk Studios
The story behind this staple among Atlanta rap superstars is quite interesting. Patchwerk Studios started off in Los Angeles as NFL prospect, Bob Whitfield opened it to help his friend, west coast MC Ras Kass record and release records. Once he was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1992, he chose to move the studio operations there as well. Years later, Outkast used it to record the entire album. It has also been home to Ludacris’ first two albums, early projects from TI and Gucci Mane, and many more.
Check out some of the history of Patchwerk studios below: (via Native Instruments)
4). ATLiens marked major changes in both Andre 3k and Big Boi’s life which helped spark the changes in their sound
Beyond the typical changes of young artist coming into sudden fame and popularity, the duo went through a slew of personal changes. Andre turned vegan and became increasingly spiritual. Big Boi had recently had his first child and took rapping more serious than ever. Big Boi explained to Spin Magazine how Andre was so proud that he buckled down and take everything more serious. "Dre [would] always be like, 'I love how you just buckled down.'- Big Boi said. " Like, 'Man, goddamn you’re serious about that daddy shit.' I’m blessed that God put me on this path. It also brought a sense of restraint. Just not being out here wilding." Big Boi also lost his aunt during the recording of the album. He was grieving while the entire Dungeon Family went to Jamaica and he stayed behind. Many of these changes are why the album captured so many essential topics and was darker and more in-depth than their first release. We often forget how some of these changes can drastically effect the production of what we're hearing.
What was your favorite song from ATLiens?