Celebrating 25 Years of Outkast’s Aquemini with HARD2EARN Podcast and Michael “Blue” Williams

by SU Staff
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On September 29, 1998, the world was introduced to Outkast’s third studio album, Aquemini. Twenty-five years later, the album still holds the same level of admiration as it did back then. As a testament to this, the HARD2EARN podcast, hosted by Torae and Bonsu Thompson, produced a live podcast conversation in Atlanta, GA at the legendary Stankonia Studios to celebrate the anniversary. In this blog post, we will dive into the conversation and behind the scenes moments shared by Outkast’s former manager Michael “Blue” Williams.

The live episode kicked off with Thompson expressing gratitude for the two Brooklyn boys celebrating one of the greatest albums of all time. He referred to Aquemini as a courageous album that continues to stand the test of time, mainly because Outkast doubled down on its weirdness. At a time when New York rap stars like DMX, Jay-Z, Big Pun, and Noreaga were dominating the rap game.

Torae and Bonsu went on to revisit and rate each of the album’s 16 tracks from one to ten in front of a live Atlanta audience. They gave major praise to songs like “Return of the G” for its outstanding production by Organized Noize, and the title track “Aquemini,” which best highlighted the unbeatable chemistry between Big Boi and Andre 3000.

The hosts then invited Outkast’s former manager Michael “Blue” Williams as a special guest to share his reflections on his time with the dynamic duo. Williams noted that he remembered Dre and Big being motivated by artistic evolution, and that’s why they weren’t afraid to take risks. He also shared some extraordinary behind-the-scenes moments from the making of the album. For instance, he revealed that the album’s name, Aquemini, came about by combining the zodiac signs of both members.

Throughout the podcast, Williams shared stories about the challenges of being Outkast’s manager and how he learned to navigate the record industry on their behalf. He also talked about how he helped the group expand their brand beyond music into other areas like fashion and film.

Williams also took listeners behind the scenes of the untitled track at the end of Aquemini, which revealed a spine-tingling moment when Big Boi came up with the idea of having a group of people chanting the word “Forever” in the background. That’s why this track is known to forever as one of the most unforgettable hip-hop outros of all time.

It’s been 25 years since Outkast gifted us with Aquemini, and the album continues to influence generations of musicians. Its fearless experimentation and refusal to fit into a particular box set it apart from the rest. The HARD2EARN podcast allowed us to dive deeper into the iconic album’s history and gave us a chance to relive some of the behind-the-scenes moments that make it so special. With Michael “Blue” Williams as a special guest, they celebrated the duo’s musical journey, artistic choices, and business ventures that go beyond music. It’s a testament to just how much of an impact Outkast has had not just on the music industry but on the world as a whole.

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