OutKast - Speakerboxxx / The Love Below (4LP)


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At a time when experimentation is taboo in most commercial rap, that’s all OutKast seem intent on executing. Firstly, this double album has no cohesive link, other than the fact that it sounds like a pair of solo albums stitched together to demo exactly how Andre’s yin works to augment Big Boi’s yang.

Andre 3000’s Love Below disc rates as the more eclectic of the two, given that he’s turned in his emcee credentials to become a full-on funk-soul-jazz vocalist who mostly sings about items of love ("Happy Valentine's Day"), carnal lust ("Spread"), and female adoration ("Prototype"). Minus the big band schmaltz of "Love Hater" and cheesy cover jobs ("My Favorite Things").

As is to be expected, the Big Boi disc Speakerboxxx is less arty, more gangsta and worldly, and features the less-progressive guest raps of ATL crunk purveyors Lil’ Jon and The Eastside Boyz ("Last Call") and Jay-Z who rhymes the hook on "Flip Flop Rock". Unlike Big Boi, Andre keeps his collaborations to a minimum, once crooning alongside Norah Jones on the cool yet sappy "Take Off Your Cool", and once with Kelis. Boi fulfills his Dungeon Family duty with flying colors by flipping some dirty southern up-tempo raps over electro beats on "GhettoMusick".

The album features the singles "Hey Ya", "The Way You Move" and "Ghettomusick".

Heavyweight quadruple vinyl produced by Arista Records in 2003. Gatefold sleeve.

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