Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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The leap forward that turned André 3000 and Big Boi into leaders of the hip-hop avant-garde.

Aquemini is the connective tissue between Outkast’s beginnings as local heroes in Atlanta and the duo’s full-fledged pop stardom. While their first two LPs featured no shortage of André 3000 and Big Boi’s tongue-twisting rhymes and the Dungeon Family collective’s off-kilter beats, Aquemini was the creative leap forward that turned an already critically acclaimed group into thought leaders of the hip-hop avant-garde.

Aquemini’s sound is a mix of the distinctly Southern and the distinctly alien—nowhere more so than on the single “Rosa Parks,” built on hollow snares and punishing bass but beaming with earthy acoustic guitars and a harmonica solo courtesy of André’s stepfather, Pastor Robert Hodo. It’s an album that prophesied the future of Atlanta—a misunderstood scene that was once dismissed as “regional” but eventually became the center of the rap universe itself. Aquemini drew the map.