By Jessica Golich
Dust off your record collection; today is the 13th anniversary of Outkast’s otherworldly 2003 release, ‘Speakerboxx/The Love Below’, which is a solo album by each Andre 3000 and Big Boi jam-packed with creative mastery into one classic achievement for the legendary Atlanta duo. At 20 songs a pop with guest appearances from frontrunners such as Jay-Z, Killer Mike, Ludacris, Kelis, R. Kelly, Lil Jon and more, the eclectic duo brought to life a future funk with a spunky stomp that smashed the charts and soared right to the top. Through mysteriously meshing their underground hip-hop roots with an unadulterated artistic exploration into funky constitutes of gritty southern soul, ‘Speakerboxx/The Love Below’ debuted at number one on the U.S Billboard 200 during the week of October 11th, 2003. Cooking up a recipe for musical history and spewing out banger after banger is currently not foreign territory for either half of the greatest hip-hop yin and yang of all time whose influence is felt all across the ever-expanding genre board.
“Every action has a positive and equal reaction. Therefore, everything that goes around comes around in that fashion” – Andre 3000: ‘Knowing’
Big Boi branches out yet keeps it nitty and gritty while putting Atlanta on the map throughout his ‘Speakerboxx’ half that houses ones of Outkast’s standout chart-topping singles, “The Way You Move”, which has been cemented into hip-hop history as a unique funked out jam that effortlessly mixes elements of jazz, swing and soul laced together into pure musical gold. The third track in Daddy Fat Sax’s stash, “Unhappy”, melodiously permeates a soulful embrace that later smacks you in the face with lyrical depth and stirring inventiveness that showcases the broad range of talent that Big Boi is able to dabble into that influences getting our backseats rasslin’ from his idiosyncratic passion. The album forthrightly explodes into a blazing ebb and flow delivery that creates a world for fans to inhibit in anticipation of Big Boi’s eccentric partner in crime’s metaphors and dense rhymes.
Andre 3000’s slice of the pie, ‘The Love Below’, is an ice-cold musical trip into the woeful storms that erupt in the midst of the glistening, blood-red emotion stemming from relational encounters. Sex, love, romanticism and a downright off the wall brew of emotions sends electricity surging through listeners veins as Andre waxes and wanes through an atypical musical terrain. Andre outshines the hip-hop masses and soaks up the limelight while dishing out tracks such as the romantically rich, “Prototype”, the sensually soothing collaboration with Norah Jones in “Take of Your Cool” and the wondrous concoction that creates a vision of emotions tied to every one of the words, “Vibrate”. The album closes with the uniquely evolving “A Life in The Day of Benjamin Andre” that delivers a hypnotic beat over an engrossing story showcasing the intricate attention Andre embeds into his craft.
The frantic pace of ‘Speakerboxx/The Love Below’ put the legendary double album ahead of the rat race at it’s time and certainly showcases Outkast within their prime. Andre 3000 and Big Boi seamlessly blur musical lines and intrigue listeners to venture beyond their genre confines; reach into the archives and celebrate the mastery flowing through the album that serves as concrete evidence that Outkast has always been ahead of their time.