Name a rapper that Andre 3000 ain't influenced.

Andre 3000 is one half of the best duo in rap history. Jay Z has gone on record dubbing the ATLien "a genius". Eminem stamped him as best rapper. What Outkast has achieved in the world of Hip Hop for rap in itself is spectacular. Outkast was one of the firsts groups to manifest the idea of "epic" hip hop instrumentals that didn't involve a common continuous loop but, rather, incorporating build-ups and live instrumentation. Outkast debuted their first single, "Player's Ball" in 1993 and at the 1995 Source Awards, Andre 3000 declared that "the South has something to say" after winning an award for Best New Rap Group, responding to the boos being echoed in the room due to negativity surrounding the East Coast vs. West Coast tension. The soon to be prophet continued to pave his ground. With the meeting of the minds collaboration with the popular alternative group, Gorillaz and with GQ breaking the story of Andre 3000’s highly anticipated solo album; he continues to innovate through experimenting with his passion for music.

Their debut LP, Southernplayalisticadillamuzik was followed up by their second album, Atliens, which dropped in 1996 with the duo building their own sound, it was filled with electric funk, soul, jazz and hip hop, accompanied with their thick southern slang and accents. When Aquemini dropped in 1998, Outkast finally secured their bookmark in the hip hop history books with a phenomenal breakthrough record. Andre's musical genius proved to stand out as it was this groundbreaking album with a sound beyond its years. It built a foundation to uphold their legacy, an undeniably flawless declaration that they weren't shooting for the stars, they were aiming for a galaxy.

The duo started to experiment with their limitations and shattered through walls of creativity, enhancing a formula that included various styles/genres of music and it is, in my opinion, one of the top 5 albums in rap of our time. It’s also the album that showcased why Andre 3000 is one my top 5 favorite emcees ever. His lyrics may be a bit much for the average mind to reach but the majority of his lyrical density is definitely not so much of a rapper cliché. Andre 3000 was a trailblazer in a sense that he was indeed one of the firsts to introduce androgyny in Hip Hop where he was wearing skirts, singing in falsetto and wearing wigs and it made him seem female-ish and/or "gay". Hip hop began to alienate him, but the funny thing about this is, as his clothing became more abstract, his lyrical technique improved (the irony) and on the opening track "Return of the G" he snapped, responding to his critics:

Them niggas that get the wrong impression of expression
Then the question is Big Boi what's up with Andre?
Is he in a cult? Is he on drugs? Is he gay?
When y'all gon' break up? When y'all gon' wake up?
Nigga I'm feelin' better than ever what's wrong with you?

In the title track, Aquemini:

Twice upon a time there was a boy who died twice
and lived happily ever after but that's another chapter
live from home of the brave with dirty dollars
& beauty parlors & baby bottles & bowling ball Impalas
& street scholars that's majoring in culinary arts
You know how to work bread cheese & dough
from scratch but see the catch is you can get caught
Know what ya sellin' what ya bought so cut that big talk
Let's walk to the bridge now meet me halfway
now you may see some children dead off in the pathway
it's them poor babies walkin' slowly to the candy lady
It's lookin' bad need some hope
like the words maybe, if, or probably more than a hobby
when my turntables get wobbly they don't fall
I'm sorry y'all I often drift I'm talkin' gift
so when it comes you never look the horse inside it's grill
of course you know I feel like the bearer of bad news
Don't want to be it but it's needed so what have you
Now question is every nigga with dreads for the cause?
Is every nigga with golds for the fall? Naw
So don't get caught in appearance
it's Outkast Aquemini another Black experience Okay.”

More than anything, Andre melts into a spoken word messenger with his avant reflective delivery of the verse above. It's him becoming more comfortable with himself speaking on the normals of everyday life rather than trying to floss. We found Andre indemnifying his views on woman, love, explaining his everyday struggles and more than anything, fleshing out his inner storytelling emcee. My favorite line is "street scholars majoring in culinary arts"; it’s so simple, yet so overflowing in novelty, he's finding the commonalities inside of drug dealing and labels it in comparison with the similarities of a chef and "cooking up". The way he dabbles with the metaphors above is unmatched with any rapper in hip hop. This whole verse above to me was what pushed him into the light as more of a lyricist. He walks the line with a good balance of being socially conscious and having street credibility. He possessed depth and reason in his music but without doing it like KRS-One, where it's not coming off authoritative and preachy but rather making people dance. There was definitely influence by George Clinton; as he is also an artist who took similar risk but found his niche. He's what every rapper wishes to be: comfortable enough in their own skin, he does it without fault and is a flexible and polished emcee.

Outkast's fourth studio album, Stankonia was released in 2000 and because of the hit Single "Ms. Jackson", the album helped them garner mainstream success as well as debut ranking at number 2 on the U.S Billboard 200 chart. It was also around this time that Andre 3000 would publicly state he was bored with rap. In 2003, the platinum hip hop group, Outkast debuted Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, it was a project where both rappers dropped solo albums and Andre's solo project didn't exactly fall under the terms of what one might qualify as "Hip Hop". He experimented with this album; it encompassed a bevy of R&B, soul, and funk, essentially a non-rap album. Actually, there was only one song where he was rapping and that was the last record on that album, a song dedicated to Erykah Badu called "A Life in the Day of Benjamin André". He dipped his paintbrush in a different array of extremely daring musical expressions and the board for the Grammys found this Outkast LP fitting enough to be awarded as the Album of the Year. He began to appear in movies, TV shows, and even had his own TV show plus mediated a clothing line. Once the mainstream media started praising him, he never truly returned back to rapping. He stopped spitting consistently just in more measured doses. But he remains dope as ever.

I remember it so vividly. I praised Andre 3000 every time I would engage in a conversation about the top 5 emcees and everyone would give me strange looks. He returned to rap pastures around 2007 after his hiatus, causing lyrical assault on various remixes including "Walk It Out", "International Players Anthem", "Throw Some D's" and that was when everyone started quoting his lyrics and calling him a genius. He became very picky with his collaborations and when he did pursue a beat he made it a point to shine regardless. And his guest appearances never stopped being impressive. His contributions to music have been mind boggling and innovative, he's unconsciously added to the growth and maturity of the rap game in such a positive way, giving life to a new generation of rappers who are willingly able to truly, freely connect with not only their audience but themselves. Because of his imagery and musical range, he's been mentioned in the same vein as the one and only Prince himself, and with all the barriers he's managed to pass in his 19 years in the industry, it's hard to argue a claim like that would be an exaggeration. I guess Lil Wayne said it best “gotta stand out
 like Andre 3K."

DOWNLOAD: Outkast – Aquemini | Mediafire
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  • anthony

    answer: Andre 2000.

  • http://twitter.com/AshyYetClassy BazookaJoe

    really miss peas?? niggas just wanna hear music not read fuckin essays..dumb bitch. 3 stacks!!!!!

  • Da bul

    Aye, Meka and Shake, put me on! This chick writes hip hop articles like high school essays, fuck with a good writer

  • Illailler

    Don't listen to the hate Miss Peas keep doin ya thing GIRL !!!!! LOL

  • http://. Captain Hindsight

    Andre 3000 isn't THAT influential

  • http://ear2ear.tumblr.com ear2ear

    I enjoyed the read...and I definitely agree. Andre 3000 is the only hip-hop act that's truly transcended the genre yet at the same time remained a pillar of the genre. His fan base is definitely the most diverse. He resonates with hip-hop heads and teenage suburban girls. Haha. He maintains his artistic integrity and still manages to reach the masses with a sound and flow that's unique to him. Really have a lot of respect for this man.

  • Galaxy Traveler

    SMH @ the irony of BazookaJoe clicking the post, being too ignorant to read it, and calling people names. Fuck. Your. Existence.

    Andre 3K should be celebrated in music like Mozart, Elvis, The Beatles, & Michael Jackson. Yeah there were plenty of other rappers & nice acts before him that were dope who dropped a classic or two, but Andre pushed the boundaries & took creative chances before it was really accepted by the masses. While Big Boi is dope in his own right, Andre stayed true. Dude is a genius in my book. I haven't been too keen on his features since Int'l Players Anthem, but I'm def looking forward to his music in the future.

    /rant

  • Mike Tomlin

    So picky with his collaborations that he tossed his hat in the ring with Ke$ha? Please.

  • http://charlesblack.bandcamp.com/ CharlesBlack

    I agree. More than just his lyrical ability, I think what resonates with people is his lack of fear to do something abstract. All of what he has done, from the jazz influenced tracks on The Love Below, to his consistency with lyrics, to making a decision to wear a wig for a show has propelled him into a place that no MC has gone. We've had fearless artists in hip hop, but arguably none as dauntless as him. That bravery is something that other artists look to, and aspire to have. I really enjoyed this article, you guys should have more of them.

  • Mickbigga

    nice write up. i couldn't agree more with miss_peas. It's a shame that kids of the newer generation won't get out of themselves enough to know that a legend is blessing the mic, instead of some dude on that ke$ha, drake or wayne song. I seriously can't wait for his solo joint to come out. He's finna shut the game down once and for all. Nobody is gonna be able to fuck wit it.

  • danny_

    Great read.

  • YEAH, I SAID IT WHAT

    I DONT PERSONALLY THINK HE'S AS GREAT AS EVERYONE SEEMS TO BELIEVE. I ALSO HAVENT REALLY LISTENED EITHER BUT I THINK HE'S OVER EXAGERATED BECAUSE HIS STYLE WAS DIFFERENT. CALL ME IGNORANT/NIGGA WHATEVER BUT THAT WAS A LONG ASS WRITE UP, NOT SAYING IT WAS BAD BUT LONG.

  • Thinker

    ^^^ glad u admit to ur ways u dumb ignorant nigga. Now do read the article and do your research.

  • Sirron

    Keep em coming, its refreshing reading a knowledgeable piece about a single great instead of everyone arguing over a lame top 10 of what the un-musically-educated masses want to hear on the radio station repeatedly.
    As for Stacks Solo effort to be coming out, I really hope he's overly successful with it. My fear is, if its without the "OutKast Feel" (Half street, half Atlien) will it be too much Atlien and have people crooking their heads going "Huh?" An example of this would be Blu and Exile. Together the two are phenomenal, but Separately, I listen to blu's solo vinyl like sound and I say to myself, you my boy blu but I can't quite vibe out to this...
    I guess what I'm trying to say is Andre3k being who he is, is going to have the bar set pretty damn high. is he really meant to be a solo artist or does he need the balance of a Big Boi to put him on point?

  • xyz123

    This is what's wrong with this generation.. Too lazy to read?? To move your eyes back and forth for a couple minutes? Word? Whetever.. Anyways.. Andre 3k is a legend, and deserves every bit of praise he gets. The man is a genius.

  • http://www.twitter.com/fr3dmartins Fred

    If you're dumb/love ignorant music, André Benjamin is not for you.

  • Juanka

    If Blackalicious woulda had more recognition, I'd put Gift of Gab neck to neck with Dre (like he said on Elevators)

  • the truth

    one of the most overrated rappers ever. organized noize>>>3k and big boi. they have some of the best beats ever and fuck them up with wack ass flows trying to do double time (mostly big boi)

    didnt read all of it but LOL @ hes king of metaphors, hes not top 25

  • the realest

    ^ you niggaz sound stupid. dont ever disrespect a goat like 3stacks ever again. put up a verse from organized noise and i'll put up a 3stacks throwaway and its still son'n yo shit. or whoever shit. the fuck wrong wit niggaz now days. slow down on the weed. or pick up the weed. change something thats outta yall routines.

    and the page looks niiice 2dopeboyz. good shit.

  • thatrealshit

    outkast is one of the most influential and progressive hip hop acts of all time. u could play atliens and aquemini today and it still sounds ahead of its time

    ^ idk how u could say dude is overrated, bar for bar dre is up there with anyone in the game, idk how u could disagree with that if youve listened to all of outkasts material

  • #tybg

    I think many of these arguments can be applied to Lil' B. I love that nigga

  • Possum Aloisious Jenkins

    Still like Big Boi more.

    and stop riding Andre's dick so much,He's in my top 5 but dude haven't delivered much since Stankonia and Big Boi dropped one of the best albums of the last 5 years or so and people still got Dres balls in their mouth...

  • The Delorean Driver

    @the realest, now Andre 3k is definitely one of the illest and the only thing I can say is that I wish he made a solo RAP album but I can understand if thats not what he was feeling anymore creatively but another great artist that always lives in Andre 3ks shadow but is equally talented is Cee lo. He was always just as lyrical and just as expressive and when he transcended the art of rap he didnt just do it without fully explaining through the music why and how he planned to do it. He slow transformed but always kept hip hop somewhere in the mix and made it seem effortless. Now Andre did the same thing but the only difference is I think Cee lo made is transformation a little more epic. No diss to the great Andre 3k but you say you wanted a verse from another member so here goes

    Now my recitings are writing over rhythm's
    Regularly reinacts facts of my existance
    So what proof of my expertise, many emcees know of me
    Using unrequested serious infested poetry
    To prevoke what persistance
    For instance, I don't let the T.V. screen come in between my daily routine
    At a spot where me and my boy went
    Someone interrupted our enjoyment
    What do you know, an out of work emcee looking for employment
    But I'm still curteous with my greeting, brother I'm eating
    And his style sounded similar to someone elses
    So evidently he's been cheating
    But I couldn't question the destiny in which we meet
    So, you guessed it, I suggested that he just have a seat
    And then I explained to him that I remained in the mean time
    Mastering mysterious methods of writing
    Finding my piece of mind with soft music and moonlighting
    Then supernaturaly I forsee the beginning stages
    And then eventually pages get filled completely
    You see, I dive into the depths of my soul
    Seeking to explore the hidden treasure of a pure literature
    While these others are unsure
    Being that the deepness makes them doubtful
    Deliberatly delaying
    Saying they'll settle for whatever washes toward the shore
    Delirous from dilusion
    My feelings were no more direct so the conclusion is seclusion
    Because mixed belief create confusion
    To remain plain and simplistic, realistic
    Accurate, articulate and absolutely artistic
    Uninhibited, unadulterated, unstoppable
    Unfuckwittable and unforgettable
    But since I've been granted the power of choice
    Let God bet the voice he is
    So all the credibility be his
    So let these be words of wisdom and in the same breath be warning
    Son I shine like Sunday morning
    Woah

    Sometimes

  • http://wedontgiveableep.com LoveBaby J

    "Outkast debuted their first single, “Player’s Ball” in 1993 and at the 1995 Source Awards, Andre 3000 declared that “the South has something to say” after winning an award for Best New Rap Group, responding to the boos being echoed in the room due to negativity surrounding the East Coast vs. West Coast tension." If you ever need help with editing, shout me a holla gur-ro! Otherwise, I enjoyed reading this piece on Mr. Benjamin. The man hasn't even turned 40, but he's already considered a Southern Hip-Hop pioneer and a music legend. You have to respect that!

  • SMH

    @Miss_Dumbshit:: And all this happened just because you used to have him in your Top 5, I mean shit, without you telling all these PEEPS, Andre would probably be no where. And good thing you made this post for all the others that clearly don't see what your superior mind does. GTFO bitch... He's been the best before you knew wtf a top 5 was. STFU you dumb ass hoe. You are so irritating.

  • SMH

    Con't: Also, it's always awesome when someone "writes' a piece on a famous person but it's really a piece "big upping" themselves on how they "knew what was good" before anyone else? You want a fucking brownie button now you stupid hoe. How old were you when Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik or ATliens dropped? Did you still smell like peepee? S. T. F. U. Go read more on what happened before you realized anything about hip hop.

    She really says how Jay-z And Em co-sign Andre and she did BEFORE they did, so she must be on some 'next' shit. SHUT YOUR STUPID DIRTY FUCKING WHORE MOUTH, MISS_DUMBFUCK!

  • A$AP Alpo

    LMFAO @ SMH! He a Little B stan! $WAG Bitch! $WAG!!!!!!

  • jza

    GOAT

  • http://www.capturingthoughtz.com Monstar

    I actually like that the dope house puts these essay like posts out. Hip hop needs more of this. Those looking for just links to music check out the other 50-11 blogs out there. Thanks Miss Peas.

  • SmokinAces

    I think Dre is definitely top 5 category, but niggas really don't give Big Boi enough credit. Sir Luscious Left Foot is an undeniably dope album, Big's verses on all the Outkast albums have been top notch, and Speakerboxx was a better album than Love Below. I think Dre's more spacey, out there flow and eccentric personality give him TOO MUCH of a advantage over Big's spit fire, unique flow and more grounded persona.

  • SmokinAces

    BTW, how many MC's can fuck with Big Boi's punchlines?

  • JL

    @SmokinAces
    100% right on everything.

    Sorry but Andre singing isn't that special.

  • TimeWarp

    Outkast is the best duo in rap history? Best selling? Probably. But best rapper duo, in history. outright? Wow! That is one of the most outlandish statements I've heard in a while. A professional writer will tell you who their personal best is but rarely have I seen someone make such declarations like It was fact. 2dope need J.E.S. doing more of these articles to balance out the level of stupidity in shit like this.

  • Fred Herse

    @ the realest you niggaz sound stupid. dont ever disrespect a goat like 3stacks ever again. put up a verse from organized noise and i’ll put up a 3stacks throwaway and its still son’n yo shit.

    Do you mean organized konfusion?? organized noise did the beats for Dungeon family (Outkast Goodie mob ect). Did you read the article or just the c-section? oh and Pharoahe Monche is lyrically a few notches above 3 stacks hes just not as rich or regarded.

  • Stefan 136

    Good write-up. Also enjoyed the Below The Heavens write-up a month earlier. Keep these up!

  • safefone

    Good write-up.

  • ace boogie

    1 word for this: DOPE!!!

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