If you're into hip-hop and were living in the A in the 1990s, you'll know how much love folks here had for Outkast. Well, not all folks, with the success of their debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, the expectations were they would just keep doing that. When they dropped ATLiens (still my personal favorite), it threw many folks off. Outkast were not here to pump out new versions of Player's Ball, they were here to make music.
However, Outkast wasn't denying that Player's Ball was a genuine part of who they were with ATLiens. Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik was just as much a part of their core as their sophomore album. Thus was born Aquemini. Rodney Carmichael breaks it down well:
They’d gone from red clay players to extraterrestrials — down-to-earth to out-of-this-world — in the span of two albums. But if the contextual leap from their Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik debut to ATLiens was fueled by an Afrofuturistic flight of fancy (and, lest we forget, their feelings of alienation from hip-hop’s East Coast vanguard), then Aquemini was OutKast’s return mission home.
Not only were Antwon “Big Boi” Patton and Andre “3000” Benjamin eager to prove that they were still down (hence the tracks “Return of the ‘G’” and the inclusion of “West Savannah,” leftover from the first album), they wanted to lift the ’hood a little higher (“Aquemini,” “SpottieOttieDopalicious,” “Liberation”).
As part of their 2010 music issue, Creative Loafing Atlanta got Andre 3000 and Big Boi to breakdown each track of the album. It's a great read and listen.