This is an American duo who did some exciting things on the chart in the 2000s decade. Outkast consisted of Andre 3000 and Big Boi. They had actually released their first single in America as early as 1993, but in February 2001 “Ms Jackson” entered the lower end of the UK chart on import, such was the anticipation for this one. And then in March 2001, “Ms Jackson” became the song that turned them into big names.
This reached no. 2, to become their biggest hit in the UK, although this was a chart-topper in America. Going into 2002, next up were “So Fresh So Clean” and “The Whole World”. Now although these weren’t among their biggest hits, they are among my favourites by them. As well as the music channels, I remember the video for “The Whole World” being shown on ITV2.
This was on a show called Chart Choice, where they would show a music video or two when they had a five or ten minute gap in the schedule, and I always hoped that this one would turn up (and don’t forget Killer Mike, is he related to Stereo Mike from Bran Van 3000?). They were also appearing on the cover of NME by this point, bad luck for all those indie bands supposedly shaking the scene, but there’s no doubt that they were doing something rather innovative.
And they were also making the Grammy awards in the rap and urban categories their own, winning them for their songs year after year. After two more minor hits, by 2003, Outkast split… except they didn’t. They released a double album, that was actually two albums recorded individually by them, and then they were grouped together under the Outkast name, which offered rather different sounds.
In November 2003 “Hey Ya!” was released. And, in what was a rarity for this time, this seemed to go up the chart for several weeks, as the word spread that this was one of the catchiest hits on the scene. This reached no. 3, although this was another long-running chart-topper back in America. They continued to win several awards, and they probably argued over who got to keep them.
Going into 2004, they had further acclaimed Top Ten hits with “The Way You Move” and “Roses”, and they really were having twice the success of most acts. But by September 2006, “Morris Brown” missed the Top 40, and little has been heard of Outkast since. “Ms Jackson” briefly returned to the chart in February 2013, but that’s been it really. Maybe they really did split for good this time.