OutKast, Aquemini (LaFace, September 1998)

Aquemini (named for OutKast’s members’ Zodiac signs — Aquarius and Gemini) was OutKast’s third studio album. The album peaked at number two on both Billboard’s Hot 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop album charts.

Refusing to conform to Hip Hop’s “new” norms, Aquemini is futuristic-sounding that uses old school funk and live musicians to focus on social commentary that maintains OutKast’s hometown Atlanta vibes.

Though major critics adored the album, none of the three single releases (“Rosa Parks,” “Skew it on the Barb-B” nor “Da Art of Storytellin Part 1”) cracked the Top 50 of Billboard’s Hot 100. In fact, the lead single “Rosa Parks” caused Rosa Parks to sue the band over the use of her name. In the end, OutKast worked with the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development in creating educational programs about Rosa’s life. But, as critics pointed out, at a time where excess was emphasized, it’s nice when a commercially successful group is concerned with more than just the bottom line.

Producers include: Babyface, Donny Mathis, Organized Noize, OutKast, Antonio M. Reid and David “Mr. DJ” Sheats.