- September 27th, 2010
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Andre 3 stacks of Outkast is in my Top 10 Favorite MCs not just because he’s an incredible lyricist but because he’s an incredible person. His line of work whether it be music, film or fashion has always been different & a representation of his individuality & creativity. In this rap game most MC’s seem to look or sound like another & everyone. I respect Andre for remaining true to himself & being one of few who push the envelope. For these reasons and many more he is a true Light Bringer.
I hate it when bands fall back and say, “We’re underground; we don’t want to make money.” Because it’s not really about making money; it’s about exposing everybody to what you’re doing. And I want to do that. It’s harder to be a success, globally, and be artistic. Harder to have that balance than just to be artistic when nobody understands you. You can just sit at home and do it yourself and have nobody listen to you.” Andre 3000
In high school, Benjamin (who was then performing as “Dre”) met Antwan “Big Boi” Patton. After a few lyrical battles, the two teamed up to form Outkast. Shortly after graduating high school, the duo were signed to the Atlanta-based LaFace label and released their debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, in 1994. Buoyed by the success of the single “Player’s Ball”, the album went platinum by the end of the year and Outkast was named Best New Rap Group of the Year at the 1995 Source Awards.
On their next two albums, ATLiens and Aquemini, Outkast experimented with their sound by adding elements of trip-hop, soul, and jungle. Benjamin’s lyrics in particular took on a more surreal, space-age tinge. At this time Benjamin took up the guitar and painting and became involved with singer Erykah Badu.
Outkast’s fourth album, Stankonia, saw Benjamin take on the new name of Andre 3000 (largely to distinguish himself from Dr. Dre) and increased the group’s crossover appeal with the single “Ms. Jackson”, which hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written in the aftermath of Benjamin’s breakup with Badu and was a fictionalized account of the disintegration of their relationship.
In 2001, Outkast released a greatest hits album, Big Boi and Dre Present… OutKast, which contained three new tracks. One track, “The Whole World”, won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Later that year, Benjamin participated in the Dungeon Family group album, which saw a number of prominent Atlanta-based hip-hop groups combine into a supergroup.
In 2003, Outkast released Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, a double album which highlighted the differences in the musical styles of the group’s two members. Benjamin’s half of the album, The Love Below, garnered the most attention from mainstream audiences, with the popular singles “Hey Ya!” and “Roses”. The album’s fourth single and video (Benjamin’s third), “Prototype”, was released shortly after. Big Boi’s Speakerboxxx spawned the #1 hit “The Way You Move” and the relatively successful “Ghetto Musick”. The Love Below was, unlike Speakerboxxx, an exercise in funk, jazz, and alternative music, featuring mostly sung (instead of rapped) vocals from Benjamin.
He returned to rapping in 2007, after a hiatus from the genre, appearing on various remixes, including: “Walk It Out”, “Throw Some D’s”, “You”, Jay-Z’s “30 Something”, and original songs such as UGK’s “International Players Anthem”, Devin the Dude’s “What A Job”, Fonzworth Bentley’s “Everybody”, and with big Big Boi “Royal Flush” and the leaked single “Lookin For Ya”. He also appeared on John Legend’s latest album, Evolver, on the track “Green Light”, which was released on October 28, 2008. Prior to the release, Benjamin commented: “It’s going to be a surprise for a lot of John Legend fans, because it is a lot more upbeat than John is—than people think John is. I was actually happy to hear it. This is a cool John Legend song.”