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Outkast- Speakerboxxx/The Love Below?

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For a while Outkast, Big Boi and Andre 3000, have been on the cutting edge of rap and hip hop music. Thier previous effort was widely lauded as a rap masterpiece. And now they bring us eager muthaf***ers a new project.

For some reason (and no, I’m not going to research why because it’s not relevant to this review) Andre and Big Boi decided to fly solo and release two cds. “The Love Below” belongs to Andre 3000 and “Speakerboxxx” is Big Boi’s creation. One package, two cds.

On what is traditionally the cd cover you have a picture of Big Boi sitting in a woven chair with peacock feathers. He’s wearing a white, furry pimping coat. In the rear tray insert is the second cover, Andre 3000 sporting a smoking gun. The cd booklet follows the same split theme. The one half is for Big Boi. Flip the booklet over and the other half is for Andre. The biggest split, however, is in the sound of each cd.

The Love Below
Andre 3000′s disc is what ventures most from the Outkast sound. Previous fans will probably find this cd the least accessable. There isn’t too much rapping. Instead Andre discovers his R&B soul and sings for all he’s worth. The first two tracks are probably my favorite, as they utilize a marvelous lounge feel to them.

The current single from the joint set is “Hey Ya”, and that song is being appriciated by rap and non-rap fans alike. Even indie rock fans are salivating at the mouth over it. I personally found the song to be kind of boring. It’s not bad, but no where near song of the year as many critics are hailing it.

There are a lot of interludes, postludes, and skits. “God (Interlude)” is a prayer of sorts. It’s spoken word over a backing piano. It gets kind of boring and is obviously sarcastic.

If you enjoy R&B “The Love Below” is a fine collection. It’s just kind of dissapointing for those of us who want to hear rapping.

Speakerboxxx
Big Boi stays truer to the Outkast sound. Big, loud, rap ditties fill this disc. It’s all (more or less) quality stuff.

“Ghettomusick” has an almost techno feel to the instrumentation while Big Boi weaves his rap magic. The song immediately grabs the listener and refuses to let go. This song should be big as a radio single.

My favorite tracks (four and six) feature horn parts. They remind me of something early Chicago (the band) would do. I am a sucker for a good horn part. Especially when used as tastefully as that.

This cd also features a lot of interludes, postlues, and so forth. The one that really annoys me on this cd is track 10, “Bamboo (Interlude)”, that features what I believe is Big Boi’s son. Father and son talk a bit, then Big Boi’s son sings a song. Afterword the son says “motherfucker” and everyone bursts out laughing. C’mon. The kid is, like, 4 years old. I feel sorry for any of his future teachers.

All in all, this is a worthwhile release to pickup if you’re fond of the rap/r&b genres. You can pick up up relatively cheap at Circuit City rather than shelling out the $20+ at places like Barnes and Noble.

About The Theory

  • http://multimedea.blogspot.com Dew

    Who loves Outkast? Dew loves Outkast!!
    I have loved Outkast since Player’s Ball. They have always been one of the most underrated Hip Hop acts today. Andre 3000 is a genius. Admitttedly I was disappointed at first, not hearing a lot of rhymes from him. But once I actually gave his album a chance I was excited at what I heard. My Favorite Things and Vibrate are two of my favorite songs on the album.

    As for Big Boi you knew he would come with the fire as usual. Even though these are separate discs they are still very much a collaborative effort. 3000 produced alot of cuts on Speakerboxxx. An example would be Ghettomusik one of my favorite Speakerboxxx tracks. But none compare to Church. I love the end of the song where they really put you in the southern mood to ‘praise the Lord’.

    Outkast spelled Outkast, you got to love that.

  • Eric Olsen

    Dew, they were BY FAR the best thing about Saturday Night Live in an otherwise dull show. Great tunes, great energy, and dig the crazy fro!

  • http://www.temptationwaits.com visualsimplicity

    Let’s see, I believe they made a 2 CD in one package because the two of them had different ideas for the new album so they just decided to each do what they wanted, thus the 2 CDs. They kept it under the OutKast name because they wanted their fans to know that there is no “going-solo” controversy and that they were still very much together.

  • The Theory

    Actually, I very much doubt that, VS. since writing this article i’ve read several interviews and it seems that Andre’s musical direction is drifting farther and farther away from Outkast. I predict that they’ll do, at the max, one more album together before splitting up.

    Besides, how many other artists release solo albums, but package them together as such, whether or not they are breaking up?

  • http://multimedea.blogspot.com Dew

    But I take that as a sign to their solidarity. Andre’s album would have reached a far more complex audience had he not been packaged with Big Boi. In their ten year history you have not seen any problems or spats because they take them as they come deal with them and move on. They have more than said that they(their friendship) are bigger than music.

    Andre has stated more than once that he is bored with the present state of hip hop, hence The Love Below. I believe he will always play a hand in OUTKAST moves just not the way the audience would want him to though.

    Long live the ‘Kast!!!

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    I was totally amazed by the performance of Outkast on SNL last week. It was about music, not image, not some bullshit rapping about how bad they were, not booty shakin’ (well, okay, maybe some), it was about the music.

    If it doesn’t outrage anybody, I’d say Outkast have become the new De La Soul.

    Or maybe they have Clintonesque ambitions.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    I was impressed with “Hey Ya,” which I think is easily the most catchy song of the year – in a good way. But the other song I didn’t care for, probably because I really do not care for rap. “Hey Ya,” however, that’s the kind of thing that happily sticks in my head and follows me around for days – and never gets old. If I knew the rest of Andre 3000′s disc was of this quality, I’d happily shell out the money for the set. I may just have to take a chance on this sometime soon . . .

  • The Theory

    I still think Hey Ya is a terrible song.

  • http://www.temptationwaits.com visualsimplicity

    I just read the Rolling Stone interview on OutKast, and I think I’ll retract my previous comment (it was something I read from somewhere a couple weeks back). You might be right TT, but it’s still very much uncertain. Here’s a quote from Big Boi though, “He always say that [he doesn't want to tour]. He always say, ‘I don’t know if I’m-a-do another record.’ Always. For the past three, four records. ‘I don’t know if I wanna do it.’ Then he always come back around.” Indeed it’s uncertain, but leaves some promise and hope to fans.

  • The Theory

    I agree. Hard to know for sure, seeing how none of us are fortune tellers, however, I personally think that Andre has gotten his taste of freedom with this solo recording, and will find it hard to go back and collaborate completely again.

  • piano?

    It’s guitar in God (Interlude), not piano. Are your ears broken?

  • ACo

    I found the love below the most intreguing. If you listen to the love below indepth, you actually will realize that all the songs together tell a story. Its about Andre meeting a girl at a club, falling in love with her, then realizing that she is a B**ch, then once again finding another girl. listen to the lyrics, it all makes sense….or maybe im just crazy.

  • Sandra Smallson

    I love Andre 3000. He truly is Ice cool:) I do not like Big Boi’s lead single.

    Hey Ya..I can’t get enough of. “Lend me some sugar, I am your neighbour” Shake it like a polaroid picture…dont wanna be your mama, just wanna make you…(fill in the gaps:) Its a fantastic song and I love the lyrics. High energy all the way through. Plus, I now feel some physical attraction for Andre that I never felt before:)

    Tip for the gals, no better song to do your morning work out to. I listen to it everyday, now know it word for word:)

  • http://smackedface.blogspot.com Smacked Face

    I just can’t get enough of Outkast’s The Love Below. Speakerboxx is great but Andre’s effort is truly sublime. I loooove the Shuggie Otis styles of Prototype, the hilarious, inspired lyrics of God and Roses, the way Hey Ya! instantly transforms a too-cool-for-school dancefloor into a bunch of goofy, grinning, Charlestoning fools – I even had to have a solitary shimmy in my lounge after getting back from the pub last night…

  • Eric Olsen

    Couldn’t agree more Smacked, I just got through writing about this for a Grammy thing and I was astonished how good the two are together, but especially The Love Below. Astonishing.

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    I like Andre’s side better.

    Then again, I am not really into hip-hop or rap.

  • Darnell

    To quote Andre on Hey Ya: “Ya’ll don’t hear me, ya’ll just want to dane…” That quote says so much. Most of you, except ACo, missed the point.

    Andre’s CD is a love story- probably about himself. Its about unlocking the inner love under the male bravado…thus the titile of the CD. Andre is a genius- bottom line. Listen to the CD again while reading the liner notes. May help to be a little dusted.

    If you’re still confused just listen to “Spread”, “Where are my panties?”, and “Prototype” in order.

    “Do you dudes listen to music or do you just skim through it…”
    – Hova

  • Eric Olsen

    I don’t think it’s much of a secret that it’s a love story, or at least a story about the pursuit of love.

  • Jake Butchbach

    i want to know the lyrics to number 21 on the love below…i can kind of understand it but i want it in writting… i have a hunch that they are talking about making extasy and giving it to people at there shows…and i just want to know for sure!

  • Brittnie

    Crash,crash.crash into a ditch just playing

    Now that’s a tight verse.