The Outlawz was a major hip hop band established by rapper Tupac Shakur during late 1995 after Shakur’s arrest in prison. Together, they were recognized for their association to Shakur. The Outlaws were a major crossover act in most major hip hop communities. For that reason, their albums always topped the charts.
The group achieved success through a variety of factors including talent, charisma and the group image. Their appearance was unique because it was created by the artist Tupac Shakur, who was black but looked like a Hispanic. The Outlaws often wore their long hair in braids and in many cases, they wore what appeared to be dreadlocks. They were also known for wearing baggy jeans. The album cover of their first album “Pimps” depicted them dancing.
Most of the Outlaws’ albums were geared towards creating high fashion statements. Their style was very different than that of other rappers at the time. The album cover of their second album “Xxplosive” showed several members of the group holding up the chains of the prison bars while their names were written on the prison walls.
Another feature of the Outlaws that made them popular was their “dubstep-like” style. Their lyrics took a heavy influence from the music of the era and included several songs that incorporated keyboards, drum programming and sampling from classic hip hop songs. This was a significant departure from most artists who made a conscious effort to create a mainstream sound. As a result, their popularity soared and the group’s third album “American Boy” was critically acclaimed and popular.
However, as their popularity continued to grow, additional members joined and various members performed with other groups such as Ice-T, The Firm and Neidermologie. This created a confusing situation for the group and their fans. Many people were confused as to which artist’s name they should use in order to distinguish which group they were really a member of. This led to legal complications which temporarily shelved the group from touring or releasing new music.
The band still exists today and has released several reunion albums. Members continue to tour with other groups and have made numerous guest appearances over the years on television shows including American Idol and The Simpsons. A new album, titled “The Godfathers: Songs From The New Black album,” is due out later this year. For fans, the long standing and colorful history of the Outlaws can be something of a mystery, but for those who know the group, it seems easy enough to appreciate the many achievements the band has achieved.