After rising to fame in the hip-hop world with their 1994 album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and its number one rap single “Player’s Ball”, Atlanta duo OutKast continued to earn commercial success and critical acclaim for their next two albums ATLiens (1996) and Aquemini (1998). In 2000, they reached new heights with the release of their fourth album Stankonia, earning widespread, mainstream success outside of the world of hip-hop.
On Stankonia, Big Boi and Andre 3000 sought to push the boundaries of rap by incorporating influences from outside the genre. Instead of listening to hip-hop, the duo immersed themselves in the sounds of artists like Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard while writing the record.
OutKast earned their first number one single, with “Ms. Jackson” reaching the top stop on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2002, they won Best Rap Album for Stankonia, while “Ms. Jackson” won Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
During the creation of Stankonia, OutKast frequently sought out collaborators by visiting clubs in downtown Atlanta. When they found a performer they liked, they would invite them to a “vibe session” at their studio to come up with ideas. One of those artists was Michael Render, aka Killer Mike, who would end up appearing on the album with a verse on “Snappin & Trappin'”.
Stankonia remains one of the most respected albums in hip-hop. Since its release, the album has sold over 4 million copies. OutKast were one of the first southern rap groups to achieve success that rivaled the powerful east and west coast scenes, and helped blaze a trail the rise of many subsequent southern hip-hop acts.