Includes an untitled hidden track at the end of THE LOVE BELOW CD.
Outkast: Andre "3000" Benjamin, Antwan "Big Boi" Patton.
Additional personnel includes: Sleepy Brown, Jazze Pha, Jay-Z, Killer Mike, Big Gipp, Ludacris, Rosario Dawson, Norah Jones, Kelis, Cee-Lo, Lil Jon, Mello, Slim Calhoun, Kuhjo Goodie.
Producers include: Andre 3000, Mr. DJ, Big Boi, Carl Mo, DoJo 5.
SPEAKERBOXXX/THE LOVE BELOW won the 2004 Grammy Awards for Album Of The Year and for Best Rap Album. "Hey Ya!" won for Best Urban/Alternative Performance. The song was also nominated for Record Of The Year.
Simply put, there is no band that does anything close to what Outkast does. Big Boi & Andre 3000 have consistently managed to maintain mainstream success while obliterating the limits of what is considered to be hip-hop. Frolicking at the outskirts of language, they throw every genre into a blender and make every musical turn sound organic. SPEAKERBOXXX/THE LOVE BELOW is actually two solo records fused together, the former by Big Boi, the latter by Andre 3000, with each mind working at an equally frantic pace to create a gloriously split sonic experience.
Big Boi opens with a techno intro that fades into industrial-style grinding on "Ghettomusick," before settling into more traditional, although far from ordinary, rap tracks on "Unhappy" and "The Way You Move." His most salient moment comes on "War," an uncompromising condemnation of American politics that strikes the perfect balance of righteous rage and measured speech. When Dre takes the reins, the concoction gets wonderfully weirder with everything from the piano bar pop of "Love Hater" to the call and response of "She Lives in My Lap" to the mystery mix of the outstanding single "Hey Ya!" Following the remarkable STANKONIA, SPEAKERBOXXX/THE LOVE BELOW cements Outkast's position as rap innovators and keeps them in the lead as the genre's primary visionaries.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (12/25/03, p.109) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Best Albums of 2003" - "The most original record to top the charts in 2003, hip-hop or otherwise..."
Entertainment Weekly (12/26/03-1/2/04, p.142) - Ranked #10 in Entertainment Weekly's 2003 "Records of the Year"
Entertainment Weekly (9/19/03, pp.83-5) - "...If released separately, [each solo CD would] be a candidate for Hip-Hop Record of the Year. Packaged together, they make a twofer whose ambition flies so far beyond that of anyone doing rap right now (or pop, or rock, or R&B), awards shows may need to create a special category for it..." - Rating: A
Q (01/01/04, p.83) - Ranked #8 in Q's "The 50 Best Albums of 2003" - "[T]wo fantastic voyages to the outer reaches of psychedelic funk for the price of one..."
Uncut (01/04, pp.84-7) - Ranked #18 in Uncut's "Albums Of The Year 2003" - "Wholly unexpected."
The Wire (01/04, p.38) - Included in Wire's "50 Records Of The Year "
Mojo (Publisher) (p.65) - Ranked #22 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "[SPEAKERBOXX is] a high-rolling hip hop odyssey, Andre's THE LOVE BELOW dreamy, playful, Prince-inspired R&B pop."
Mojo (Publisher) (01/01/04, p.60) - Ranked #2 in Mojo's "The Best of 2003"
Mojo (Publisher) (9/03, pp.99-100) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...The genius of past Outkast isn't diluted or diminished across these disks, rather it's doubled, expanded and explored. And crucially, confirmed..."