OutKast is an American hip hop duo based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Its original musical style was a mixture of Dirty South and G-Funk; since then, funk, soul, electronica, rock, spoken word poetry, crunk, chopped and screwed music, jazz, and blues elements have been added to the mix. The duo consists of André "André 3000" Benjamin (formerly known as "Dre") and Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, both from the Atlanta area.
OutKast is one of the most successful hip-hop groups of all time, having sold over 20 million copies of its eight releases: six studio albums, a greatest hits release, and Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, a double album containing a solo album from each member of the duo. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is one of only four hip-hop albums to be certified diamond in the US for shipping over 10 million units. Despite the group's commercial success, it has maintained an experimental approach in its music and is widely praised for its originality and artistic content.
Benjamin and Patton went to Tri-Cities High School together in East Point, Georgia, and became musical rivals, challenging each other to freestyle MC battles on a regular basis. They eventually teamed up, and were pursued by Organized Noize, a group of local producers who would later make hits for TLC and Xscape. While searching through a dictionary, Big Boi and André 3000 came across the word "outcast" and decided this would be a perfect group name, for at the time the hip hop industry was dominated by East Coast and West Coast rappers who saw southern rappers as outcasts. They simply changed the "c" in the word into a "k". OutKast, Organized Noize, and schoolmates Goodie Mob formed the nucleus of the Dungeon Family organization. They said that they were inspired by the Nashvillins.
OutKast signed to LaFace Records in 1992, becoming the label's first hip hop act and making their first appearance on the remix of labelmates TLC's "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg". In 1993, they released their first single, "Player's Ball". The song's funky style, much of it accomplished with live instrumentation, was a hit with audiences."Player's Ball" hit number-one on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart.