Speakerboxxx / The Love Below is the long awaited sequel
to 2000’s Stankonia, the album which launched Outkast into the mainstream
with hits such as Ms. Jackson and B.O.B. Stankonia was Outkast’s
fourth LP and featured tracks inspired by 70’s soul, funk, and R&B
to create one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time.
Their new album is actually two albums rolled into one, Speakerboxx by
Big Boi and The Love Below by Andre 3000. The first being a real sequel
to Stankonia and the latter being a completely new direction for Outkast.
A lot of Hip Hop fans are going to be disappointed with The Love Below
as this is not a rap album. In fact there is no rapping at all from Andre
who simply reveals his fantastic singing voice. Andre has recently gone
public about his loss of interest in the hip hop sound saying that he
would prefer to be playing an instrument in his next live performance,
he has even pulled out of the recent Outkast tour to promote the album.
And this album certainly does reflect the growing musical differences
between the two artists.
With collaborations such as “Take Off Your Cool” featuring
Nora Jones, a fantastically mellow chill out track and Dracula’s
wedding featuring Kelis The Love Below could easily have been released
as a separate album and placed in its own category at the record store.
The first single from The Love Below “Hey Ya” is nothing short
of a musical revolution which cannot really be placed into any category
of music, rather it defines a whole new style unique to Andre 3000. And
the rest of the album is pretty much the same touching on moments of Jazz,
funk, soul and rock music to create a fantastic new sound.
Of course Speakerboxxx comes hard with more electric 70’s funk
over hard beats and collaborations with Jay Z on the fantastic “Flip
Flop Rock”. Outkast have always been way ahead of their time with
a sound that cannot be copied by anybody and Speakerboxxx continues this
trend. Big Boi’s flow continues almost flawless on nearly every
track with fine moments on “The Rooster” and of course the
first single “Way You Move”.
Overall this album is great piece of music history which should not be
missed by anybody. I have played The Love Below to friends of mine who
do not like rap music and they have all loved it. In fact I have to say
that of the two, The Love Below was my favourite album as it really delivers
something different from today’s barrage of Gangsta rap wannabes.
This album offers something for everyone and is an essential addition
to any music collection.