When artists are as well-respected and influential as Outkast are it can be hard to imagine a world where he or she isn't the pinnacle of rap. It's especially true for the younger heads (like myself) who didn't live through the initial rise of the ATliens like myself. That’s why a small little tidbit from Organized Noize’s Rap Radar interview grabbed my attention.
When the topic of Jermaine Dupri and Kris Kross’ “Jump” came up, Rico Wade offered up the following:
It [“Jump”] was right there in our immediate circle. Just so happened we missed the video. Outkast would have been in the video. We probably would have been in the video, but we had a meeting with Bryant Reid.
It’s crazy to think about Outkast almost being in the now-iconic video for “Jump.” I’ve seen them as legends for so long, and rightfully so, but thinking about them as extras in a Kris Kross video puts into perspective where Outkast was at the time. Even without the image of Andre rockin’ the "Player’s Ball" Braves jersey backwards, this blew my mind.
At the time it was Kris Kross, not Outkast, who was making major waves. “Crumblin’Erb” is timeless, but “Jump” reminds me of a very specific time and era. It's hard to believe Outkast has been around that long - 25 years?! - and it's even harder to imagine a time when Kris Kross was more popular than Outkast. How many artists or acts have been around for a quarter century? And how many are still just as relevant now, if not more relevant, then they were back when they started?
While I have you, can we take a few seconds to applaud Organized Noize? The ATL trio are legends who aren't ever recognized enough for their greatness. Endless Goat emojis. This podcast, and the insight they provided - like how Andre needed to focus more on “conviction” or how Big did the “Elevators” hook - is astounding. People don't realize how large of a role they played in not just production, but the development of Big and Dre. Without them there is no Outkast. Without them, Southern hip-hop might still be stuck in New York’s shadow.
So yeah, this small, cool story is about how Outkast was almost in the “Jump” video, but the real story is Organized Noize and all of their mostly unheralded contributions.