Outkast (stylized as OutKast) is an American hip hop duo formed in 1992, in East Point, Atlanta, Georgia, composed of Atlanta-based rappers André André 3000 Benjamin (formerly known as Dré) and Antwan Big Boi Patton. They were originally known as Two Shades Deep but later changed the group’s name to OutKast. The group’s original musical style was a mixture of Dirty South and G-funk. Subsequently funk, soul, rock, electronic music, spoken word poetry, jazz and blues elements have been added to the group’s musical palette.
The pair’s fourth album, Stankonia was released in October 2000 to positive reviews. The second single, Ms. Jackson, combined a pop hook with lyrics about divorce and relationship breakups, particularly André’s breakup with singer Erykah Badu; the titular Ms. Jackson character being a doppelgänger for Badu’s mother. It was at this time that André changed his stage name to the current André 3000.
OutKast spent 2 years working on their 5th effort, before releasing a double album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, on September 23, 2003. It is essentially two solo albums, one by each member, packaged as a single release under the OutKast banner; the two members also appear and co produce on each other’s discs for a few songs apiece. Big Boi’s Speakerboxxx is largely a funk and Dirty South blended party record; André 3000’s The Love Below features only brief instances of hip hop, presenting instead elements found in funk, jazz, rock, electronic music, and R&B.
The video for Hey Ya! is based on The Beatles’ landmark appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The video’s storyline has The Love Below—a fictional band with all members, through the use of special effects, played by André—performing in London. Hey Ya! was the number one song on the very final weekend of American Top 40 with Casey Kasem. It was also number one a week later on the very first weekend of American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest.
The first two singles from the album(s), which were released nearly simultaneously, Big Boi’s The Way You Move and André 3000’s Hey Ya! spent ten weeks at number one on the Hot 100 singles chart, with Hey Ya! spending nine weeks and The Way You Move taking over for one week in February 2004. These singles were seen as a breakthrough for the hip-hop industry.