September 23rd, 2003. That was the date Outkast dropped arguably the most influential album sonically in the history of Hip-Hop, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. This was their 5th and most successful studio album to date.
The southern duo comprised of Big Boi and Andre 3000 weren’t always as heralded as they are now. During their earlier days, their sound was considered “weird” and their appearance didn’t help much either. From the perms in their hair, to the colorful ensembles, blouses, and even skirts, there wasn’t a more fitting name for a Hip-Hop group of that caliber.
Of course as their careers went on, people gravitated to their unique sound, but this was the album that you can say changed the landscape of what Hip-Hop is today. That’s not to say that their prior work wasn’t amazing or influential, but this project was the ONE.
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was a double album done differently. Speakerboxxx was Big Boi’s album with a Funk influence and The Love Below was 3 Stacks album with psychedelic, pop, funk, electro, and jazz styles. They clearly showed that Hip-Hop can be versatile in their sound. As you can see now, that was a direct influence from them.
The sounds on this album are very prevalent in some of the greatest artists to come after. From the style of music, to the autotune, to some of the funk and R&B vibe, it was an album that created a new wave. You can hear this direct influence in artists like Kanye West in his album 808s & Heartbreak and Drake’s So Far Gone. So now take those two artists and see how many people they’ve inspired with the sound that was birthed by Outkast.
As for the commercial success, this is one of the highest selling albums in Hip-Hop history. Spearheaded by the smash single “Hey Ya!”, the album went Platinum 11 times, which makes it a certified Diamond album. (You go Diamond when you sell 10 million albums or more)
Happy 14th Anniversary to Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below!