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Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below

R&B and Rap & Hip-Hop album by Outkast

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Biggest isn't quite best

  • Dec 3, 2009
  • by
This is the clear #1 if it's a single album, as about half the songs on each part are magnificent. That said, there's still enough here to call it one of the best of the decade. The litmus test: if "Hey Ya!" comes on the radio, are you gonna grin and dance, or turn it off? I sure can't turn it off.

Of course, the album is much more than "Hey Ya." For starters, on the Big Boi side, the almost-as-ubiquitous, almost-as-awesome hit "The Way You Move" dominates conversation immediately, but a closer look reveals a fantastic run of tracks on the first half of the album, like "War" and "The Rooster." A later deep cut, "Flip Flop Rock," reveals Outkast at their best: a Killer Mike guest appearance calls back to their hit single "The Whole World" but the track is polished off by a stunning guest appearance from Jay-Z.

The Andre 3000 side, The Love Below, has higher highs and lower lows, but still some great music. I loved "Roses" but can't stand it now, while I waver between liking and hating "Prototype." On the other hand, "Dracula's Wedding" and "Happy Valentines Day" remain fantastic songs.

I wish I had the power to redo the album as a single, 70-minute long disc, cause the songs are there. But still, in the tradition of The White Album and Sandanista, there's something appealing about a glorious mess.

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More Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below reviews
review by . December 29, 2009
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below released in 2003. In my eyes this was one of the best releases to happen to hip hop in a long time. Growing up listening to Outkast, it is amazing to see how both Andre and Big Boi have matured musically and as people. When I first heard of the concept of this double album I was perplexed but yet excited to see how it would work.       To understand why I named this review slept on mostly we need to think about Outkast's career as a whole. For …
review by . January 02, 2006
posted in Music Matters
Splitting up Hip-Hops most dynamic and explosive duo is interesting - however not quite as fulfilling as the two working in unison. That said, if this is the direction the geniuses wanted to go for an album, they have more than earned that right over their years of genre altering rap. I was excited, but nervous, buying an album that splits Big Boi and Andre 3000 onto different albums. I have always felt that the genius of the group was that they kept each other grounded just enough, and kept each …
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About this album


At a time when experimentation is taboo in most overground rap, that’s all Outkast seem intent on executing. Firstly, this double CD has no cohesive link, other than the fact that it sounds like a pair of solo albums stitched together to demo exactly how Andre’s yin works to augment Big Boi’s yang. Andre 3000’sLove Belowdisc rates as the more eclectic of the two, given that he’s turned in his emcee credentials to become a full-on funk-soul-jazz vocalist who mostly sings about items of love ("Happy Valentine's Day"), carnal lust ("Spread"), and female adoration ("Prototype"). Minus the big band schmaltz of "Love Hater" and cheesy cover jobs ("My Favorite Things"), Andre’s disc is sick (meaning great). As is to be expected, the Big Boi disc is less arty, more gangsta and worldly, and features the less-progressive guest raps of ATL crunk purveyorsLil’ Jon and The Eastside Boyz("Last Call") andJay-Zwho rhymes the hook on "Flip Flop Rock". Unlike Big Boi, Andre keeps his collabos to a minimum, once crooning alongsideNorah Joneson the cool yet sappy "Take Off Your Cool", and once withKelis. Boi fulfills his Dungeon Family duty with flying colors by flipping some dirty southern up-tempo raps over electro beats on "GhettoMusick". By the timeCee-Losermonizes on "Reset",SpeakerboxxandLove Belowrate mostly as majestic and inspiring, with the ...
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Artist: Outkast

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