Friday, September 29, 2017

ON THIS DAY...19 years ago #OutKast dropped #Aquemini- JAYZ dropped 'Vol 2-Hard Knock Life' [details]

ON THIS DAY, August 29, 1998,  Outkast dropped their CLASSIC 'Aquemini' album!

Aquemini is the third studio album by American hip hop duo Outkast. It was released on September 29, 1998, by LaFace Records. The title is a portmanteau of the two performers' Zodiac signs: Aquarius (Big Boi) and Gemini (André 3000), which is indicative of the album's recurring theme of the differing personalities of the two members. The group recorded the majority of the album in Bobby Brown's Bosstown Recording Studios and Doppler Studios, both in Atlanta, Georgia.

Released as the follow-up to the duo's 1996 album ATLiens, Aquemini expands on the previous record's outer space-inspired compositions by incorporating live instrumentation. The commercial success of ATLiens allowed for more creative freedom for the group, which led to the members self-producing the majority of the tracks. The band employed a large number of musicians for the album, who frequently entered and exited the studio throughout the recording process and had a major influence on the writing development of the album's songs. Lyrically, Aquemini explores various themes including human nature, addiction, and interpersonal relationships.

The album was certified Platinum in November 1998, only two months after its release, and was certified Double Platinum on July 2, 1999 by the Recording Industry Association of America. Aquemini peaked at number two on both the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop charts. Four of the album's tracks had already or would later become singles, although some were limited (promotional) releases and not available commercially. The record also received rave reviews from music critics, who praised the album's musicality and unique lyrical themes. It was ranked at number 500 in the book version of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Aquemini received widespread acclaim from critics. AllMusic's Steve Huey called it "a stroke of brilliance". He praised the record for avoiding the "hardcore clichés" and summed up his review by saying that Aquemini is "a virtuosic masterpiece, and a landmark hip-hop album of the late '90s". Robert Christgau also commented positively on the album, stating that the record "evolved G-funk with denser instrumental crosstalk." Los Angeles Times writer Soren Baker complimented OutKast's "intelligent hip-hop" and commented that "musically, the collection supplies some of the lushest tracks ever included on a hip-hop record", noting that the music will "stimulate the mind, touch the soul and pack the dance floor." Q named it the group's "third best offering." Sia Michel of The Village Voice called it "an impassioned state-of-hip-hop address". In a brief review for Entertainment Weekly, Cheo Tyehimba qualified Aquemini as the hip-hop album of the year.

ALSO the same day JAY-Z drops 'Vol 2, Hard Knock Life'! Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life is the third studio album by American rapper Jay-Z. It was released on September 29, 1998, by Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings. It went on to become his most commercially successful album, selling over 5 million copies in the United States. In the liner notes of the album, Jay-Z gives his thoughts on various tracks. The lyrics to the fast-paced "Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99)" are also included. Vol. 2... became Jay-Z's first album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200, selling over 350,000 copies in its first week.[14] It is Jay-Z's best selling album as of 2013 and was certified 5x Platinum by the RIAA in 2000. By 2013, the album had sold 5,400,000 copies in the United States. The album won Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards. Though he won the nomination he boycotted the ceremony, citing what he sees as the Grammys' continuing disrespect of hip hop because they were not going to broadcast the rap nominations. He told MTV, "I am boycotting the Grammys because too many major rap artists continue to be overlooked. Rappers deserve more attention from the Grammy committee and from the whole world. If it's got a gun everybody knows about it; but if we go on a world tour, no one knows."

In a contemporary review for Playboy, Robert Christgau deemed Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life a progression from its predecessor, featuring more noticeable beats that would appeal to listeners other than just hip hop aesthetes. He highlighted the title track's "audacious Annie sample" and the production of Swizz Beats, who he believed took influence from postminimalist composers such Steve Reich and Philip Glass. "And whatever Jay-Z's moral values", Christgau wrote, "the man knows how to put words together and say them real fast." He later gave it a three-star honorable mention in his Consumer Guide book, indicating "an enjoyable effort that consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well treasure". In The A.V. Club, Nathan Rabin said the record was "an uneven if worthwhile" album whose best songs "strip gangsta rap of its superthug bravado and replace it with a more nuanced understanding of the human emotions behind the gangsta facade".[ Q called it "the epitome of mainstream hip hop" at the time.

Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life was later ranked number 46 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest albums from the 1990s!

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