By Kelly Kilian
The album ‘Speakerboxxx/ The Love below’ is the first album in which the members of Outkast completely separate and conform to their own genres. It is literally an album with a divided cover and two individual discs.
Released on 23 September 2003 in the US by La Face Records, this hip hop album was the first to win the Grammy award for album of the year. Although produced as an Outkast album, ‘Speakerboxxx’ is solely the work of Big Boi consisting of tracks based in a southern hip hop according to The New York Times. ‘The love below’ is the solo work of Andre 3000 which includes a genre of styles such as jazz, pop, soul and funk.
The duo each produced a hit single “Hey Ya” from ‘The Love Below’ and “The Way You move” from ‘Speakerboxxx’ both reaching number 1 on the Hot 100 US Billboard. The album was compared by an ‘allmusic’ review to the Beatles in the 1968, had they created solo albums. It was given a rating of four and a half stars by ‘allmusic’, 91 out of 100 by ‘Metacritic’, and 8 out of 10 by ‘Pitchfork’.
Although not a huge fan of rap it is agreeable that “The way you move” by Big Boi in ‘Speakerboxxx’ is worthy of being labelled a hit single. Big Boi’s confidence in his work is expelled through this song. He raps in a subtle and smooth rhythm which is quite unique and makes the song a fun listen for even the most anti-rap audience.
‘The love below’ being the project of Andre 3000 is far more RnB related very sing-a-long in a way. Although “Hey Ya” was labelled the hit single of his album, the one I truly enjoyed was “Roses”. “Roses” intro has a classical jazzy sound and then moves into a mixture of dance, funk, electro beats and even a rap verse by Big Boi. This song is a ‘get on your feet and jam song’ and it reminds what Outkast was before this divided album, MIND BLOWING, INSPIRING and UNIQUE.
There is no doubt that this album hosts some great tracks. However it seems that in this separation of their work the group ‘Outkast’ may have lost their X factor.
: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, although created under the ‘Outkast’ name. Stand alone in the eyes of its artists as well as its audience.