The 20-track double album was released in 2003 along with Big Boi as part of a compilation album titled Speakerboxx/The Love Below. Raising question to if the legendary rap group Outkast had split, the album was released with rave reviews and to this day the album has reached 11x Platinum or rather Diamond certification. Nominated for 11 Grammy awards and wining 3, the album marked an incredible defeat and example of exploration of the creativity of both Outkast members as a whole.
Each piece of the album has its own appeal but I resonated with Andre 3000′s contribution, The Love Below, immediately upon hearing it. Mixing several genres into his music, he takes heavy influences of jazz, soul, funk, R & B, and Hip-Hop. Singing more than actually rapping, Andre’s voice takes you on an adventure of his emotions and the wild complexities of the male mind though the journey of the album. It’s an all to real well constructed story which I never get tired of hearing.
I’ve wanted to share my review and interpretation of this album for a while now, as I feel anyone who has honestly sat and appreciated the greatness of this masterpiece would appreciate it. I feel that this album plays an important role in my life to unmasking my own emotions about my love life and self-esteem as well as shedding light on emotions we all share; both male and female of any age or social status.
Anyone who appreciates and knows the impact of this this album, I automatically have a new respect for them when they tell me so. The essential understanding of the album makes me feel you have sen the world the way I see it. It deserves an honest and attentive hearing session from everyone. Hope this prompts you to take a listen.
Purchase SpeakerBoxx / The Love Below By OutKast on iTunes here.
THE LOVE BELOW (INTRO)- The concept of the album is basically one mans search for love. Exploring himself on the ride to unearthing his own emotions, he brings up the idea of denial in the male mind, the security and stability of a good woman, and the question “Do good women still exist?”
LOVE HATER – “Everybody needs somebody to love, before it’s too late” sings Andre among the orchestra of guitars, pianos, and drums. Its the battle between smooth Jazz and funky electric guitar that make the clash between being love prone and vulnerable versus guarded and stubborn to your true self. This fight with=in ourselves is a battle of the heart and the mind’ translated with Andres help to song form.
GOD (INTERLUDE) – In this honest interlude to the “Happy Valentines Day” record, Andre has a one on one with God. He discovers God is none other than a woman, a giving one at that. Asking the lady God about his future, he just wants to know will he ever find a good girl just for him? (or in his words “a sweet bitch” )
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY – “Everyday’s the fourteenth! ”, screams Andre. In a hilarious and church-like rhythm Andre preaches that you can run and hide from your own emotions concerning love, but you indulge and believe in silly dreams and ideas other than believe in Cupid himself. The groundhog, Santa Claus, and the Leprechaun - why not believe in Cupid himself? Get over yourself and tear down your walls, because eventually they will come down. “Aren’t you suppose to be some kind of playa or somethin?”
SPREAD – This jazz and funky drums infused record is truthfully silly. Basically Andre’s search for sexual pleasure and lust but in a very classy demeanor. Comparing the stare of a lustful woman to egg yolks flying on a pan, this man’s witty in his description of sex and getting ‘sprung’. Piano solo takes the whole record, plus the trumpet.
WHERE ARE MY PANTIES? – A all to real and honest representation of what I’m sure is the thoughts of millions on the typical “Morning After” sexual situation. Leading right into Prototype, this intrude is so real its scary.
PROTOTYPE – Again Andre 3000 keeps is completely real and honest with Prototype. Saying, I hope you’re the one I fall in love with but if not I’ll just test it out on you. So then, it’s not quite a “love” song but more like “I hope love” kind of song. He’s trying and that’s all that matters to Andre.
SHE LIVES IN MY LAP – This track has to be the one which gets me the most emotional from this powerfully honest album. The strange mind bending rhythm along with the woman’s simple but piercing words hit close to home. Describing a respectable well composed woman, he tells how she has the ability to just fall and un-robe her cool for him. “Living in her lap” at least in my eyes is a metaphor for his possession and admiration for her. She’s powerful but yet untouchable. He’s insecure and scared, shes making the effort to show her emotions, but he himself is his own enemy. His emotions are out in the open and he is scared. Almost crying out in dispar, this song is very powerful to me.
HEY YA! – The track which sent the album to the tops of the charts, this track is fun and refreshing. Self-explanatory.
ROSES – This song was made to be a hit. From its composition to its lyrics and over all flow. Tells the story of Caroline, a popular and conceded girl who in her own self-loathing goes for all the wrong guys. She thinks she has to be this certain image to be liked by all, but in the end being herself would do just fine.
GOOD DAY, GOOD SIR / BEHOLD A LADY - The hilarious and sophisticated Mr. Bentley Fonzworth lends his talent in a comical exchange of words between the two men. Leading into “Behold a Lady,” the two gentlemen introduce the idea of an actual WOMAN. No not just any woman, a LADY. Sophisticated, supportive, stable, honest, attractive, and classy. This is comparable to a candy-coated Unicorn in Andre 3000′s words. He’s appreciative of a lady figure and wants to know where can he find one?
PINK AND BLUE – This track begins with an Aaliyah “Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number” sample and switches to a simple synthesizing rhythm. The theme for this song is that the colors ‘Pretty Pink’ and ‘Baby Blue’ represent all of us as adults. No matter how old we may be, or however mature we think we are, the concept of love and lust brings us back to our baby-like tendencies. I always say it to myself but men are literally big babys. They need attention, nurturing, care, love, and all their needs to be met – selfish in a way they pay no attention to the enormous effort we put into making their day just a little bit more easier!
LOVE & WAR – A small reminder by Andre that to make love, not war. Lets resolve it all, because the end is near. There’s no use to fighting when we can make a beautiful song together…..right?
SHE’S ALIVE – Such a strong message told in only so much words and though the use of soundbites. Describing the struggles of a single mother raising a child, the frustration and testament of a woman echos though out the song. “Don’t tell me what God can’t do, I made sure you had, I never felt like you should be deprived of anything” says one mother in the piece as Andre praises this notion singing that though it all, without having the help of a man, with nothing but her own, she was successful and she lived though it all for the love of her child.
DRACULA’S WEDDING. FEAT. KELIS – I love this song. Definitely one of my favorites. With the metaphor of a vampire to light, Andre descripes the fear of a man to commit and to love. Don’t we all fall into this type of issue at some point in our young lives, no matter our gender. We are tough and intimating, rather we might scare others or be fearless ourselves, but when that right person comes along…we are frightened. “My castle may be haunted, but I’m terrified of you” screamed Andre. Great way to add humor to such a deeply personal subject. Kelis’s addition to the track is perfect as she plays along with the vampire game and assure Andre to not fear her, shes not the sun nor does she have silver bullets. Actually shes a great counter and makes great sandwiches. Oh Kelis, how I love thee. There’s no need to fear someone who deserves your love. Don’t run away, give it a chance…
MY FAVORITE THINGS – Ever watched the Sound of Music? Then you might be familiar with the classic melody sung by Julie Andrews, this is a few of “My Favorite Things” A movie classic. And though Andre’s interpretation, a jazz infused acid sound trip. I love this rendition of the famous melody filled with energy and excitement, its refreshing. Worth putting o repeat as you just continue to hum over… “these are a few of my favorite things!”
TAKE OFF YOUR COOL FEAT. NORAH JONES -No matter how short and sweet the lyrics to each song hold, Andre’s power to use a minimal amount of words to express so much emotion is genius. This song only recites three lines but makes a simple and sweet message. “Don’t be so cool, I want to see you” – take off that exterior, and reveal your self to me.
VIBRATE - With a beat composed of a “rewinding” sound, he manages to make this song gloomy but again powerful. “Motherfuck the wagon, come join the band,” Andre chants as a message to all Bandwagon followers. Telling us that there’s no need for anyone else. Life is going to get overwhelming, some people aren’t going to be there when you need them. Keep your own tabs on yourself, watch your own back, and yes God sees you, but no need to be embarrassed. The future is in your hands.
A LIFE IN THE OF BENJAMIN ANDRE (INCOMPLETE) – In an honest freestyle, we get exactly what the song title says, A short summary of Andres life up to the point of this album. Its incredible at the amount of skill and ease that goes into any Andre lyric especially one which literally tells a story of his life. From his first album to when he met Erykah Badu and then had a son. All in 5:11. Shaking my head at the dexterity of Hip-Hop music today.
Earlier this week pop superstar Rihanna gave the world a glimpse into whats to come off her seventh studio album with the track titled, “Diamonds.” Revealing a more ‘mature’ Rihanna, the song is co-written by the star her self and accomplished songwriter Sia along with producers Stargate and Benny. With haunting lyrics which echo with a view of love we aren’t used to hearing from Rihanna (in contrast to the desperate love of “We Found Love” or the sexually filled “Birthday Cake”) the song “Diamonds” is great change of pace for Rihanna.
In his rendition of the sure-to-be hit “Diamonds”, Miami producer Miami Marci does an impeccable job of turning the love-ballad into a energy-filled dance track. Listen to the track below and be on the lookout for Marci’s upcoming project CHRISTOPHER THEORY coming out October 1st on 2DOPEBITCHES.
Check out more about Miami Marci at MIAMIMARCI.COM
Wow. Ten years. The death of anybody celebrity or not is tragic. The death of this artist marked in a time in my youth where I was in middle school and just discovering new friends along with myself. Ten years ago ? Man , does that mean I’m getting old because I distinctly remember the career and death of Aaliyah.
We all should know the story. Ten years ago on this day , Aaliyah Danan Haughton was one of nine people aboard a twin-engine plane that crashed seconds after taking off from the Bahamas . All nine died. This occurred right after shooting that video for her newest single “Rock the Boat” off her last self-titled album. The plane was bound for Opa-Locka Airport in Miami, Florida and the crew included her makeup artist and a virgin executive. The investigations of the plane crash that followed her death found many causes for the possible tragic event such as fault from a pilot with a criminal history of possession of cocaine , they investigators also suspected that the plane was overloaded which made it harder to handle in fight and so on. Either way , we are only left with memories of Aaliyah and what she contributed to the world of R&B in her life and now in her death.
Of course you know I’m going to drop some of my favorite Aaliyah jams for this special day. Enjoy.
Check out the original report from MTV reporting the crash back in 2001.
Also check out this letter Drake wrote to Aaliyah on her birthday last year. How sweet.
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