Outkast, the hip-hop mega duo featuring Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, is credited with putting Southern rap on the map. They made their debut in 1992, hitting their peak in the late 90s and early 2000s. Apparently, producers at Nickelodeon felt the group was big enough to invite them to perform on the network’s hit live sketch comedy series All That.
They performed their hit “Rosa Parks” on the All That stage in 1999. The song was from their third full-length studio album Aquemini. The group was introduced to the stage by Nick Cannon and Kenan Thompson in a sketch dressed as two women who work in a convenience store. They become bored once the radio goes to commercial break and tells the audience and viewers to avert their attention to the stage.
All That ran from 1994-2000, with a reboot that aired from 1002-2005. The show was big for featuring the hottest acts in R&B and hip hop music.
Though the song is titled “Rosa Parks,” it has very little to do with Parks’ work. The exception is the lyrics: “Everybody move to the back of the bus.” Metaphorically, the song likens Rosa Parks’ act of defiance and heroism to OutKast paving the way for a new sound in hip hop, letting other artists know they are competition.
Per a report from Medium, Rosa Parks’ lawyers didn’t find the song honorable. The group was sued, with the Civil Rights icons’ lawyers accusing them of “misappropriation of Parks’ name.” But the judge didn’t agree, taking the side of OutKast ruling that the song was an “expressive work” and protected by the first amendment.
In spite of the drama, “Rosa Parks” was nominated for Best Song by a Rap Duo or Group by the Grammy’s. They didn’t win, but won the same award a year later for their hit “Ms. Jackson.”