Out of ‘kast’

Like it or not, Andre 3000 is the world’s most popular indie-rocker. Blending flavors like Baskin Robbins, Andre has created a record of unparalleled ingenuity while digging his music deeper into the hearts and minds of a music nation that is indeed in need of something so new as “The Love Below.”

Andre’s half of the new Outkast full length “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” is a hip-hop record unlike any that has ever been made, and not since Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” has a hip-hop record been so astoundingly fresh and new that it could capture the minds and attention of members of the music community that have never been prone to enjoying a hip-hop record. Listeners are inclined to appreciate this album simply due to the sprawling structure and diverse style of Andre 3000’s musical flavors and more importantly, his musical allusions.

On this new full length, Andre intertwines his overall sense of music while still remaining true to his hip-hop background. Through the 21 tracks on this record, Andre blends the styles of a big band reminiscent of The Rat Pack, break beats that harken back to early Beastie Boys and guitar lines that sound like they belong on early Def Lepard records rather than the most popular rap album of this year. He even goes as far as to recruit Norah Jones for an airy duet on the track “Take Off Your Cool.” Blending funk, soul, rap, R&B, rock and roll and most importantly comedy, Andre takes us on a trip through his mind and his music that is not only so absolutely different from any rap record but also diverse in and of itself. As you travel from track to track you realize that no two tracks on this record sound the same.

While receiving six Grammy nods including Record of the Year (“Hey Ya”), Album of the Year and Artist of the Year, Outkast has opened the minds of a nation ingrained with the audio bile of Justin Timberlake, Brittney Spears and the rest of the glorified Mouseketeers. They have shown us what is next in line in the evolution of music and what we can do with sounds and noise.

Throughout this record, Andre 3000 paints us a cohesive yet discordant picture of what the future of music could sound like. He lets us into his mind, if only for an hour and 18 minutes and while the record can be frightening to an untrained ear, it is an imaginative blend of sound, noise, love and hate.