“The onstage is just a kid having fun. It’s an outlet, playing dress-up, going out and having fun. It’s really kind of like kid instincts. My true self, Andre Benjamin, is more reserved than Andre 3000.” — Andre 3000

Formed

1992 – Atlanta, Georgia.

Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000)
Net Worth: $50 million

André Lauren Benjamin, better known as André 3000, is an American rapper, singer-songwriter, actor, record producer, dancer and philanthropist. He is best known for being a part of hip hop duo Outkast alongside fellow rapper Big Boi.

Antwan Patton (aka Big Boi)
Net Worth: $50 million

Antwan André Patton, better known by his stage name Big Boi, is an American rapper, songwriter, actor and record producer, best known for being a member of American hip hop duo Outkast, alongside André 3000.

Early Days

Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton both went to Tri-Cities High School in the East Point suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. They were frequent lyrical rivals until deciding to pool their talents as Outkast. The duo was pursued by local producers Organized Noize to help form the nucleus of the Dungeon Family organization. Outkast were signed to Atlanta-based LaFace Records, and after an appearance on a TLC remix, their first single “Player’s Ball” was released.

First Albums

“Player’s Ball” eventually rose to the top of the national rap chart, was included on the LaFace Christmas album, and reached the pop top 40 in 1994. A full-length album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, appeared in 1994 and reached the pop albums top 20. The two followup albums Atliens and Aquemini both reached #2 on the albums chart and included the hit singles “Atliens” and “Elevators (Me and You).” Outkast were quickly becoming the most successful Southern hip hop act ever.

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Rosa Parks Controversy

Aquemini, released in 1998, was hailed by music critics as one of the best hip hop albums of all time. Unfortunately, not everyone was happy. Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks sued the duo over their song titled “Rosa Parks.” Parks believed Outkast had appropriated her name and identity to promote themselves and objected to obscenity in the lyrics. After dismissals, involvement of Johnnie Cochran and a Supreme Court ruling, the case was decided out of court in 2005.

Trivia Fact About Outkast

A casual mention of Outkast by presidential candidate Wesley Clark in the fall of 2003 was used in a campaign ad to help indicate Clark’s awareness of youth culture.

Stankonia

In 2000 Outkast released their 4th album Stankonia. Once again the critical reviews were uniformly laudatory and the duo hit #2 on the pop albums chart for the 3rd consecutive time. The album featured Outkast’s first #1 pop single, “Ms. Jackson.” Reportedly, the song was inspired by Andre 3000’s breakup with singer Erykah Badu. Stankonia eventually sold 4 million copies.

Speakerboxxx / The Love Below and Beyond:

It took 3 years for Outkast’s next album to appear. Speakerboxxx / The Love Below is essentially 2 solo albums packaged as one 2-disc set by the duo. Speakerboxxx is primarily a rap party album helmed by Big Boi. The Love Below, by Andre 3000, delves deeply into funk and pop. Critics were once again ecstatic and Outkast finally had their first #1 hit pop album.

The album’s 2 initial singles “The Way You Move” and “Hey Ya!” were released nearly simultaneously. Both reached #1 on the pop chart with “The Way You Move” immediately following “Hey Ya!” into the top slot. The album sold over 10 million copies. Speakerboxxx / The Love Below won the 2004 Grammy Award for album of the year and the duo closed the Grammy Awards show with a somewhat bizarre performance of “Hey Ya!” that offended the Native American Cultural Center.

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Andre 3000 and Big Boi have taken part in a variety of musical and acting projects on their own, but they continue to work together as Outkast. The duo’s sixth album 10 the Hard Way is scheduled for an October 2005 release. A film about the duo is also currently in production.

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