Outkast, the iconic hip-hop duo consisting of Big Boi and André 3000, went on a hiatus in 2007, marking a pause in their musical collaborations. The split was a result of both artists pursuing individual paths rather than a fallout. Big Boi focused on his solo music career, releasing albums and performing live shows. In contrast, André 3000 stepped back from music, channeling his creativity into acting and other artistic endeavors. Despite the pause in making new music together, the duo’s bond remains strong, proven by their reunion for performances at various festivals in 2014.
Who were Outkast?
In case you haven’t heard of them, Outkast was an incredible hip-hop duo from Atlanta that was formed in 1992. The members were the Atlanta-based rappers Antwan Patton, aka “Big Boi,” and André Benjamin, aka “André 3000”. Despite the years and thanks to its successful musical career, the duo is considered one of the most original and influential American acts of all time. Big Boi and André 3000 achieved substantial commercial success and critical recognition while active, but mainly from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s.
Their musical style was very diverse, primarily Southern hip-hop, but they also dared to try other genres like funk, jazz, techno, and psychedelia. This wasn’t a problem for them; they always knew how to blast the stage with amazing songs that included excellent lyrics and memorable tunes. Although the Atlanta group was at its best, they’ve been on hiatus since 2007, and perhaps you may be wondering why. Before finding out what has happened to them since then, let’s take a quick look at their career and why they decided to split.
Here’s one of their most famous music videos:
How was the hip-hop duo formed?
Antwan and Andrea first met when they were only 16 years old; they lived in the same neighborhood and attended the same high school. Back then, they dreamed of becoming massive stars, so they started participating in rap battles at their school cafeteria. Thanks to their natural talent, they decided to become a duo, and it wasn’t long after that a group of local producers known as Organized Noize discovered them.
The group was initially meant to be called “The Misfits” or “2 Shades Deep,” but as those names were already registered, they decided to go for “Outkast.” Their debut album, “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik,” was released on April 26, 1994, and it immediately became a sensation all over the radio and charts. This first work marked a before and after in the music as it is considered to lay the foundations of southern hip-hop.
Outkast discography and awards
After their first project, Outkast’s fame continued increasing, and they recorded five more albums, including one compilation album, one video album, one soundtrack album, and a total of 32 singles. They created memorable songs, but probably their greatest hit was in 2003 with ‘’Hey Ya!’’, which topped the Hot Billboard 100 for nine weeks. The tune won many awards, like a couple of MTV Awards for Best Song and Video and, most importantly, a Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance.
Regarding their awards, they have six Grammy Awards in their vast collection, making them one of the most successful hip-hop duos of all time. It’s estimated that André 3000 and Big Boi have sold around 20 million records since their debut, which gained magnificent critical acclaim from giants like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork Media.
The hiatus and solo projects
Unfortunately, Outkast went on a hiatus in 2007, which seemed incredibly surprising for their fans due to their massive success. This decision was revealed after Big Boi announced plans to release a solo album in late 2006, and although many people were not happy about it, there was nothing to do.
Rumor has it that André 3000’s attitude drastically changed; he allegedly started to behave as if he was superior to his mate. It is also said that Big Boi felt frustrated because the duo’s projects weren’t going out the way he wanted due to André’s conduct. Of course, this is just gossip, but the truth is that they have done different solo projects since their break.
On the one hand, Big Boi was busy raising three kids after Outkast split and building his solo career. On July 5, 2010, he finally released his first album, “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty.” His work was a hit and applauded because it represented the reemergence of an older hip-hop style. Up to 2022, he has released three more albums; “Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors” in 2012 and “Boomiverse” in 2017.
In addition, Big Boi has his basement recording studio in Atlanta; it’s called “Dungeon 2019,” and he produces and records his material there. Big Boi’s music has appeared in essential commercials and served to promote some major series and TV programs like Game of Thrones. One of his most outstanding achievements as a solo rapper was performing along with Maroon 5 at the Super Bowl LII halftime show.
On the other hand, André Benjamin isn’t really in the music industry anymore; in 2019, he said in a podcast that his focus wasn’t there at the moment. He clarified that he still plays sometimes but is not too motivated to work on another serious project anytime soon. Instead, the rapper followed a different path away from music and adventured to start a career as a Hollywood actor.
His first role was minor participation in “Hollywood Homicide” in 2003, but it wasn’t until “Be Cool” in 2005 that he was given his first significant role. There he had the opportunity to work with big stars like John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, and more great actors. After that, he didn’t stop and continued making more movies, proving that he had a hidden talent that no one would have expected.
The long-awaited reunion
Despite their different projects after their hiatus, Big Boi and André 3000 reunited on stage again at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival back in 2014. This performance came with a special surprise that the duo would be performing at more than 40 festivals due to their 20th anniversary.
Outkast finally went on tour the whole summer of 2014 and ended in the place where their fame started; Atlanta. They had their last live show on September 26, 2014, which included special guests like Janemme Monáe, Kid Cudi, Future, Bun B, 2 Chainz, Childish Gambino, and many more.
With an excellent career, Outkast is undoubtedly one of the most transcendental hip-hop acts; they didn’t only change that genre, but they also paved the way for new rappers. Sadly for us, sometimes artists want to go in a different direction and split, just like they did. Despite the many rumors of a strong disagreement between Big Boi and André 3000, they’ve proved to be great friends after all this time.
The fact that they are no longer making music doesn’t mean they didn’t care about each other, and luckily their bond goes far beyond working together. Of course, it’s sad that they took a hiatus despite their thriving success, but they left us behind an exceptional music legacy.