Andre Lauren Benjamin, aka Andre 3000, was born May 27, 1975, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the only child of Sharon Benjamin Hodo and Lawrence Walker. He grew up living with his mother and attended Willis A. Sutton Middle School and Tricities Highschool for performing arts. In high school, he had an ongoing rivalry with Antwon Patton, a fellow rapper who attended the school. The two eventually were able to find similarities in their styles and built a lifelong friendship. During his junior year, Andre had a bit of rebellious streak and was sent to live with his father, however, his father could not control him and he dropped out of high school. He would later go back and get his GED. Andre and Antwon performed locally under the name 2 Shades Deep. They were introduced to Organized Noise, an Atlanta production trio who worked with other artists such as TLC and En Vogue. They then auditioned for L.A. Reid and became the first Hip-Hop act signed to LaFace Records under the new name Outkast.
Outkast was a group created with Andre ( Dre) Benjamin and Antwon ( Big Boi) Patton. They were originally known as “ 2 Shades Deep” but later changed their name to “ Misfits” because the previous name was already taken. The name Misfits was also already taken, so when searching the synonyms for misfits, the two came across “Outcast” and chose to use the pronunciation spelling with a “K”. they released their first single entitled “ Player’s Ball” in 1993 and their first album entitled “Southerplayalisticcadillacmuzik” was released one year later. After this album, the two were labeled as “Dirty South” Hip-Hop artist. Their second album was entitled “ ATLiens”. It was often linked to George Clinton because of its “spaceship-esque mood”. Growing up, Andre and Antwon were both fans of hip-hop artists such as De La Soul, the Brand Nubians, and A Tribe Called Quest. They were also fans of funk artists such as George Clinton and Sly and the Family Stone. Influences from these artists appeared in their music. Newsweek said that ATLiens “continues OutKast’s journey into the weird with a sound that lies somewhere between the jamming madness of Parliament-Funkadelic, the creme de menthe vocals of Al Green and the bumping beats of A Tribe Called Quest.” “Aquemini was their third album, the name was created by combining their zodiac signs Aquarius and Gemini. This album included the song “Rosa Parks”. The actual Rose Parks sued Outkast in 1998 for the use of her name without her permission. She claimed that Outkast defamed her and violated her publicity and trademark rights. The case was dismissed in 1999. Their fourth album “Stankonia” put Atlanta on the map with its large amount of references. This album received 2 Grammys, best rap album and best song by a rap duo for their song “ Mrs.Jackson”. This song was dedicated to the mother of Erykah Badu, the mother of Andre 3000’s son Seven. The two dated in the 90s and had their son in 1997, but unfortunately, the relationship did not last and Andre wrote this song as an apology for any pain he caused to Erykah. Their fifth album “Speakerboxx/The Love Below” was a unique album because each member claimed 50 percent of the album. This was Outkast’s first No. 1 album. They also received a Grammy for Album of the Year. “ The Love Below” featured a very well known Outkast song entitled “ Hey Ya” which was also No. 1 and really solidified Outkast in music history.
Outside of the Studio
Andre 3000 has always had a unique sense of style. In high school, his style was described as “preppy”. He called his style “ Classic Spontaneity” or “Rebel Gentleman”. After joining Outkast, his style became more flamboyant. His change in style helped him gain more attention and individuality as an artist. In 2008, he started his own clothing line known as “ Benjamin Bixby”. It was inspired by 70s basketball and 30s football apparel. He wanted his clothes to tell a story. In an article written by the New York Magazine, he describes his line as, “ a character who’s kind of like your uncle, or your granddad, and he has a closet full of experiences and clothes, and he’s been around the world.” The clothes did not get very big, but there have been rumors of his rebooting the line with new styles.
Andre 3000 made his way to Hollywood while Patton stayed in Georgia. The first film he appeared in was “ Hollywood Homicide” which released in 2003. He also wrote music for films and tv shows such as Soul Food, Any Given Sunday, 8 Mile, Dancing With the Stars, and The X Factor. He gained quite a bit of attention from his role as Jimi Hendrix in “All Is by My Side” back in 2014. Which was a drama based on the life of Jimi Hendrix.
Andre 3000 has worked hard his whole life. He never thought he was good enough at his craft so he constantly fought harder to be the best. It is clear through his achievements that his hard work has paid off.
“André 3000.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 31 Oct. 2017, www.biography.com/people/andr-3000-21098283.
Birchmeier, Jason. “Organized Noize | Biography & History.” AllMusic, www.allmusic.com/artist/organized-noize-mn0000893513/biography.
“Jimi: All Is by My Side.” IMDb, IMDb.com, 18 Sept. 2014, www.imdb.com/title/tt2402085/.
“OutKast Biography.” Encyclopedia of World Biography, Advameg, Inc., www.notablebiographies.com/news/Li-Ou/OutKast.html#ixzz5Y7JUdPLP.
REVOLT TV. “Andre 3000 Says He Wanted to Put out a Solo Album, Reveals Why He Left Spotlight.” REVOLT TV, REVOLT TV, 1 Nov. 2017, revolt.tv/stories/2017/10/30/andre-3000-reveals-left-spotlight-wanted-put-solo-album-0700cfdee9.
Williams, Ben. “The Dandy’s Progress.” Daily Intelligencer, Intelligencer, nymag.com/fashion/08/spring/44214/.
Other Works by Author
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