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Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

Big Boi and Andre 3000 of Outkast have remained brothers long before 1994's Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, which, like all of their proceeding albums, pays homage to their beloved ATL. Popularity grew on Aquemini, an album celebrating the duo's zodiacs, with the release of "Rosa Parks." 2000's Stankonia heightened this dynamic with "Ms. Jackson" and "So Fresh, So Clean." Outkast have become pioneers to the Dirty South for their clever rhymes, ambiguous beats, and ability to always produce something wholly original.

The initial idea behind Speakerboxxx/The Love Below came from Dre's personal experimentations with going solo. After talking with Arista execs and Big Boi, they agreed to split up on a conjoined double disc to explore their individual creative conquests, which end up so diametrically opposed, a comparison is impossible.

Speakerboxxx is Big Boi's contribution, a rather intricate package of insightful rhymes, layered with a variety of bass-lover's beats. First single "The Way You Move" features Sleepy Brown's crooning with Big Boi's beloved 808, a drum machine popularized among technoids. Andre produces some of Speakerboxxx's finest, from the throbbing explosions of "GhettoMusick" to the keyboard-clattered inspirations of "Church." A few of the Dungeon Family's finest show up on "Reset," the ultimate collaboration on Speakerboxxx, offering soulful sermons from Khujo Goodie and Cee-Lo of Goodie Mob. Big Boi gets political on "War," stressing on the lack of activism amongst Americans (Don't be patient, get up and stand up for your life), the ill use of mass media (the media shucked and jived now we stuck!!!), and disgust for the government (Politicians, modern day magicians, physicians of death).

While Big Boi's Speakerboxxx offers the relevant rhymes of the real Outkast, Andre 3000's lets loose on the lavish lullabies of The Love Below. First single "Hey Ya!" cultivates early Beatles infectiousness (Don't want to meet your mama) into the raunch rants of Justin Timberlake (Just want to make you cumma). Big Boi teams up with Dre on the simplistic "Roses," followed by the Princesque "Behold A Lady;" both expressing the same shocking revelation: men hate high maintenance women. "Spread" throws Dre's sex calls over some trumpets and risque cuts to get The Love Below to climax. Dre's animated persona becomes even more cartoonish on "Dracula's Wedding" when he assumes the role of Sesame Street's Count, featuring Kelis as his newly-found immortal lover.

While mass media is keeping rumors of an Outkast breakup a hot topic, one thing's for sure: Big Boi and Andre 3000 will both survive. Take it from Big Boi's last words on "Tomb of the Boom": Been spittin' it damn near ten years, why the f*ck we be quittin'? That's for sure.
Crystal at 11/18/2004 01:03:00 PM

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