BIG BOI >>> ANDRE 3000

Someone just told his bandmate he can’t play guitar for shit.                                                                              


Yeah, I said it. Maybe I’m exaggerating slightly. It’s not that many arrows. But still: Big Boi is better than Andre, and the reason is simple: Big Boi actually puts out music. Albums, even.

Granted: Andre’s verse on “Sorry” is ridiculous. And his bars on Rick Ross’ “Sixteen” make for one of the best moments on God Forgives, I Don’t (we’ll come back to his guitar “playing” on that song later). But being prolific counts for something. So does overall body of work. Quality only trumps quantity to a certain degree. Otherwise, Kid Hood—who was shot three days after recording for the first time, dropping a classic verse on a classic, A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” remix—would be considered the best MC of all time. More to the point: Andre’s smattering of guest verses over the past few years can’t compare to an entire album. Especially not an album as dope as Big Boi’s Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. Make that two albums—2010′s Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty is a pretty good album as well, despite the stupid name.

But back to Vicious Lies. It’s not just a great album, it’s one of 2012′s most interesting, and groundbreaking. Big mashed up vintage Dungeon Family funk, trap music, electronic, pop, punk and indie rock and somehow made it work seamlessly, and in a true hip hop context. On paper, “Lines,” featuring ASAP Rocky and upstate NY emo-tronica duo Phantogram, reads like it would be a contrived hipster-bait mess. But in your speakers, it’s fantastic, switching from spooky rap to ethereal ambient electro shit on a dime. “Apple of My Eye” is basically dance-rock with rhyming on it, and it’s another highlight. “Shoes for Running,” featuring the head-scratching lineup of B.o.B and bratty beach-rock indie darlings Wavves, revisits the normally cursed rap-rock danger zone—where years of corny songs, bands and side projects have come to die corny deaths—but with a punk twist. And it’s nonetheless a good song, which, when you consider all the folks who have tried and failed at the same combo for more than two decades now, is an accomplishment. In spite of a few misses (“Tremendous Damage”), the album is ridiculously of-the-moment, with the lines between genres meaning less and less for anyone (except maybe us music critics).

And ironically, it seems like just the kind of thing that Andre would want to do. The closest thing we’ve gotten to a solo album from him is Love Below (really just half of a double album), which jumped from Prince-inspired funk to frenetic jazz to soul to rap and back again. It has some unfortunate moments where Three Stacks goes a little too far out there, but it was a good album overall. “Hey Ya,” “Spread” and “She Lives in My Lap” are still incredible. However, that was almost a decade ago now. Big Boi is doing this same futuristic genre-bending on a more challenging level in 2012, and he’s succeeding.

Besides, as dope as Love Below and Three Stacks’ recent guest verses are, there’s no guarantee a new solo project would match up to Vicious Lies. Listen, he can spit with the best of them, but let’s not pretend 3000 couldn’t sometimes seemingly benefit from the reining in many thought Big Boi provided when Outkast was together. As I said before, Love Below had its amazing moments, but it was also wildly uneven at times—mostly because Andre isn’t a real singer. Sure, on the rapper scale of singing skill, he bests Ja Rule and 50 Cent, but he’s no Cee-Lo. Another Andre album of mostly singing would probably be a disappointment—especially after all the rhyming he’s been doing on his recent guests spots. Maybe he felt reined by his rapping collaborators. Maybe he needed someone to tell him, “Dude, just rap.”

Though no one’s been telling him to put that guitar down. Did you hear his solo at the end of the aforementioned “Sixteen”? It honestly has to be one of the worst ever committed to wax. It’s unclear if he bothered to tune beforehand. Ross hilariously lies his ass off when he adlibs “beautiful” and “amazing” in the background. I like to think that Big Boi would’ve politely told Dre to chill. Or at least he would’ve made up some lie, like he accidentally lost the Pro Tools file one night in between popping ex and Viagara.

Funny enough, one of the reasons Andre hasn’t been releasing much music is that he’s been busy immersing himself in the lead role of the Jimi Hendrix biopic, All Is By My Side. That immersion included working on his guitar skills. “I’m not a great guitar player,” he told MTV. “I can just play [good] enough.” Forgot to mention: He said that back in 2004.

At least it seems like the movie is maybe possibly finally coming out next year. That’s more than we can say for an Outkast album, or an Andre album. “Some days I feel like I’ll do it, some days I don’t,” he said of a new solo LP at a Gillette event last month. “I am just hoping one day I get that inspiration. I can’t just throw out an album to be rapping. And I don’t even know if it will be rap.”

He did at least feel the inspiration to “do some Gillette shit,” as Big Boi put it recently. And his goatee does look totally sporty with that beret in that commercial.

But c’mon, Three Stacks. We say this out of love: You’re not a great spokesman, guitar player, singer or actor. What you are is one of the best MCs ever. In the immortal words of Lyor Cohen in the classic Ego Trip Book of Rap Lists: “If you’re a baker, you make your living off of baking. If you’re a construction worker, you made your living doing construction. If you’re a rapper, RAP, motherfucker.” —Alex Gale (@apexdujeous)

  • bixbyfresh

    Alex…You’re expecting Magic Johnson to play like Michael Jordan. Let him do what he does. Andre is an artist. When there’s time for expression or a need to communicate his words or feelings, that’s when he does it. For you to use Lyor Cohen’s “if you’re a rapper” quote, to challenge 3000…you don’t get it. Almost 20 years worth of words that have gone ignored or completely over your head. You’re asking him to be someone he’s clearly not. He’s told you this, and everybody else, on every project he’s ever done. You’re clearly not a fan of his style of work, so move on. You expect and demand structured, clone-like behavior from a guy in a group named OutKast. Your “dude, just rap” stuff is the biggest problem with 90 percent of hiphop. That’s all anyone does, with carbon copy beats and subject matter. Stick to being safe and unoriginal, preaching about the rules of the game. Sounds like the Republican National Convention, just so out of touch. And work on them basslines too, before you start talking about other people’s shit (you clearly missed the point of that solo). It’s sad that cover art and a price tag = artist/musician to you, but…it is what it is i guess. Keep on with your smattering of blogs. or are you a producer? or are you a baker?

    • http://twitter.com/ApexDujeous A.Gale/Apex.Dujeous

      It’s obvious I’m a huge fan of Andre. Did you read the article? “One of the best MCs ever.” The challenge to Andre is this: Make an album. Make a mixtape. Make a real body of work post-Outkast. Or don’t, but then me (and some other folks) are going to most likely continue liking Big Boi a tad more, for whatever that’s worth. As for the guitar solo—please explain the point of it for those of us that missed it.

  • Trigga29

    andre is garbage and everyone who is a fan of outkast know exactly what I mean!

    • http://twitter.com/ApexDujeous A.Gale/Apex.Dujeous

      Um…no.

      • Trigga29

        See above^^^^^^^

    • SeRrOt

      no we don’t know what you mean, why don’t you explain to us why? fag!!

      • Trigga29

        You are not a real fan homie! See Im from the Atl and everyone in the Atl knows that my comments were instruction from the man Andre 3000 himself. He always says that “if you want me to make more music tell me Im garbage”, and he will use that as motivation to show you what it really is. So you can stop with all that sideways talk partna!

  • disqus_3HowhcKNcr

    Some strong words are thrown around here but I guess you have similiar attitude towards Andre as I do. You still think of him as Outkast. The simplest thing to do is to move on and forget about outkast as a duo. It is rather difficult if outkast does not mean “hey ya” to you, Maybe outkast would still be active if Andre’s Love Below wasn’t so good. I mean – look, Andre succeeded with “his own thing” so why shouldn’t he carry on with it.

    I do like very much your statement here, as a matter of fact I like the two statements.

    1. BigBoi is currently at the top of his game and it really is dope. Can’t really compare them as Andre is not putting out.

    2. We always liked 3000 for his “artistic” side and it’s funny to see BigBoi outshining him even in this. I mean he would probably never reach for a guitar or sing (I stand corrected, he does “sing” on tremendous damage) but still his rap is much more attractive and suprising.

  • a b

    im glad on not the only one still hypnotize by 300 90s and early 200s verse, big boi has been the better mc for a decade now

  • gstyle

    some of you are so stupid do you forget do any of you listen to outkast andre3000 is one if not the best rapper of all time not dissing big boi they were great together and I know andre is just playing around with music having fun but when it comes down to it there are not too many rappers that would even stand a chance against andre like i said you all forget and when it was outkast the first person you all would think of when somebody said outkast was andre3000 i am a rapper and outkast is and always will be my biggest influence if he wants to play guitar let him if he wants to sing let him he has earned his right of passage he made his mark everybody wants to talk like they know what happened or like they know what its like well the only 2 people that know the truth is andre and big boi even in andres rap he has never really came at anybody in a foul manner he never dissed anybody and was never drawn into that whole beef thing no matter what anybody has ever said about him he tries to be the bigger man and even saying he is sorry for things that may have happened in the past he did not have to say anything at all and big boi says he doesnt know what andre is talking about if people would listen he is saying he is sorry that he wasnt like everyone else he was tired he did not want to tour and he fucked it up for big boi and for that he was seen as being akward in his behavior because maybe anybody else wouldnt have walked away from all that money. Last i would like to add has anyone heard todays rap its meaningless nothing really means anything anymore rapping use to mean something it told a story and you could relate now how many cups are filled in the club how many dollars does everybody have in their pockets how many of us have 20 bmw sitting in our driveways and how many regular people live porno lives you guys just have freaky encounters with different or multiple girls from the club everyday huh maybe a rap song about stds is in order here