It all started back back in 1993, when R&B/Soul oriented label LaFace Records took a chance on signing a duo of teenaged rappers from Atlanta called OutKast based on their work with in-house production outfit Organized Noize.
LaFace previously struck gold (and platinum) when they picked up TLC and felt that the gamble might pay off again. OutKast were to be featured on the A LaFace Family Christmas compilation alongside TLC, and Organized Noize was going to handle the production on their contributions which ended up being singles; TLC’s “All I Want For Christmas” and OutKast’s “Player’s Ball.” However, an unexpected thing happened, OutKast’s holiday single started gaining traction and spins because no one realized it was a Christmas song (even with the sleigh bells throughout which are no longer audible in the mix).
The popularity of “Player’s Ball” grew significantly after Bad Boy’s Sean “Puffy” Combs (LaFace and Bad Boy were both Arista distributed labels) directed the video for their lead single which entered the regular rotation on both BET and MTV. The single caught fire on the radio, ultimately spending 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped Billboard’s Hot Rap singles for 6 weeks. LaFace’s first ever Rap act earned an RIAA gold plaque on their first single out the gate. Sales for the single and anticipation for the album were bolstered by radio and video airplay in addition to their exposure from performing on MTV’s Spring Break in San Diego which aired in late March.
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Photo: Big Boi