28 Days of Album Cover Blackness With VSB, Day 16: Outkast's Aquemini (1998)

Illustration for article titled 28 Days of Album Cover Blackness With VSB, Day 16: Outkast's Aquemini (1998)
Photo: Outkast ‘Aquemini’ (LaFace)

“Even the sun goes down, heroes eventually die, horoscopes...often lie, and sometimes “why”/Nothing is for sure, nothing is for certain, nothing lasts forever/But until they close the curtain, it’s him and I, Aquemini.”


If you’re a fan of hip hop, and especially the “golden” era, then you probably both know and love Outkast. The group, comprised of Atlanta duo André 3000 and Big Boi, are legends in the game. They have classic, innovative albums to their credit and 3000 is even a frequent presence in GOAT rapper conversations.

One thing they were also known for was their album covers. Outkast’s ATLiens is often considered one of the greatest hip hop albums covers ever. And so is today’s entry: Aquemini,—illustrated by Greg Hawkins and art directed by DL Warfield—which for our purposes is abso-posi-lutely Black AF. Dubbed on the album cover sticker as the player and the poet, let’s just roll that beautiful Black footage.

First off, 3000 and Big Boi are dressed to the nines. Big Boi looks like he went and got the most expensive suit Harold Penner had so he could be suited and booted for the Player’s Ball. And you cannot miss the Stacy Adams. Whew, chile, if you ain’t want a pair of Stacy Adams at some point in life I don’t know who raised you. He has a perm, a cane, a hat and a pimp chair. You love to see it.

And then 3000 is outchea lookin’ like he raided the ‘70s, but only the cool fly shit. I mean that yellow outfit looks like some cool, superfly shit that only the baddest mofos would rock. He has a perfectly coiffed afro and that bangle is one I want. In fact, I want this whole outfit. But the rest of the album cover ALSO levels up the Blackness.

The beautiful Black women in the background lookin’ like that TCB was hittin’ just right. The red Cadillac with the personalized license plate to read “Aquemini” says successful Black man in any decade. Because Outkast, as a group, has always been on the afro-futurism tip, there’s a spaceship in the background as well because the future is in outer space. And there are Black people in the futureword to Alisha Wormsley. And let’s just keep it 100: The title of the album is a portmanteau of the zodiac signs of Big Boi and André 3000—Aquarius and Gemini—and that’s straight out of the Black mama playbook. In my head, that was the first sighting of Aquemini as a word, but there are probably a few kids named Aquemini running around. We’re a creative people, ya know.

I love this album cover like I love this album like I like this group.

And that’s word to Hollywood Courts (RIP).


Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.


Mr Boomman

Outkast was one of my favorite dynamic duos. I watched something on the Tube talking about what Andre was doing and where he was. I was shocked to learn that he felt that he wasn’t a great rapper. I’m like dougie... do you not realize how many quotables you have on these here skreets?? I still have their TAPES. I bought a cassette player a few months back and was jamming to Aquemini, reminiscing “My God”.