Outkast mural draws tribute to legendary Atlanta hip hop duo

Credit: Tyler Estep/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Tyler Estep/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Big Boi — clad in a Falcons jersey and holding a ... well, we’ll say it’s a cigar — stares straight through you.

They are OutKast. And they are some 30 feet tall, painted in hyper-realistic black and white on the side of a streetwear boutique.

This is Atlanta's newest, biggest tribute to hip-hop royalty.

It’s tucked away in a back parking lot in the tragically hip Little Five Points neighborhood — and it’s already drawing crowds of hip-hop heads and Instagrammers alike.

"It's ATL all the way," says the artist, a Greensboro-based muralist known as JEKS.

JEKS was just finishing up work and posing for photos in front of his handiwork Sunday afternoon. But thanks in part to a social media boost from Big Boi himself, word was already out.

The massive mural — based on photos taken by iconic hip-hop photographer Jonathan Mannion — was painted freehand and went up in less than a week. It was created as part of the Outer Space Project, an annual international event aimed at beautifying public spaces.

Wish, a Little Five Points boutique, offered its wall space as part of the project.

The plan was always to feature OutKast, JEKS said. Things took off once Mannion was on board for a collaboration.

“Honored to have my photos chosen to immortalize two of the best to ever do it,” Mannion wrote on Instagram this weekend.

You won’t stumble upon the mural strolling the heart of Little Five Points. But head east down Euclid Avenue (or venture down the steep, narrow alley next to Planet Bombay) and you’ll find it soon enough.

You could also follow the crowds.

“Hopefully, this turns into an Atlanta landmark,” JEKS said. And things certainly seem to be headed in that direction.

Nelson Madison, 37, and his son were among the crowd staring and taking photos Sunday afternoon.

Madison said a public homage to OutKast was long overdue. He spent part of his childhood in California but is an Atlanta native.

And as he talked about how he felt when he saw some of OutKast’s first early-’90s music videos, he hit on many of the bigger reasons why the duo has meant so much to Atlanta -- and what the mural might mean, too.

“For me, it meant everything,” Madison said. “To explain to somebody what home was. It was the embodiment of what home was. Even that video, if you didn't know what Atlanta was, if you had never been to the South, if you'd never been to the city before. It represented my city.”

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