This will be my final post on OutKast's illustrious double-CD Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
The reviews on Speakerboxxx/The Love Below have been unanimous: 'Kast's double LP is indeed the best album of the year. Check out what the critics and bloggers had to say about the wonder twins' masterpiece ::
Diarist Angelique of saucydame.com is totally in love with André 3000's musical contributions on the Love Below. She writes:
"Presently [I'm] on some "Cupid Valentino" type shit. And I want to do it, um . . . I mean listen to it (The Love Below) over and over again. Eargasms are better than "no-gasms." So . . . I think I'm [gonna] let my eardrums "Spread." Dré got me bent over in one night."
Larry Katz of the Boston Herald believes that Speakerboxxx and The Love Below -- separately -- are two of the best albums of the year. He writes: "In this face off between André and Big Boi, everyone's a winner."
Blog-master Mister JT (of Negro Please) also admires Dré's Love Below, too. He says:
"The Love Below is the best album I've heard in 10 years. [The disc] is an attack on the soul and the mind and the heart. It is new language. You can hear the work that was put into every second of every moment of the album. You feel André Benjamin in everything that you're doing when you're listening because he is leading this journey. This is genre shattering, unchartered territory. This is fresh."
Now while everyone seems to be diggin' André 3000's side, writer William Blaze of abstract dynamics gave props to Big Boi's side:"[Speakerboxxx] is fucking off the rigging, while the Dré one is just weird, at least on the first run. If anything The Big Boi [side] is actually more out-there then previous OutKast albums, but in direct lineage."
Interestingly, Stereodust thinks that Dré's subject matter on the Love Below is not about "love" or "women," but rather it's about hip-hop. He pens:
"[The Love Below] is a concept album about music and hip-hop and [André's] fear of even doing the album. The beginning is about his running from his love. Cupid Valentino understands . . . . he used to be a bad boy. Hell, André might've just sung on it just to make fun of the rap game's current state. I really don't want to ruin it for you, but [André 3000] is a muthafuggin' genius dog, I swear."
But not everyone was happy with Dré's and Big Boi's musical expansion on the Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
Shockingly, The Source magazine -- the so called Bible of Hip-Hop -- in their current issue (with Ludacris on the front cover) gave 'Kast's LP only 4 microphones, which means "banging" in their ratings scale. Despite a glorious review, the editors of the magazine felt that the double-CD was "too far left" for hip-hop. (???) Also, the editors believe that since André is singing (rather than rapping) on his side, they believe that the double-LP as a whole wasn't a hip-hop album.
In my opinion, four mics is not that shabby, but I think Speakerboxxx/The Love Below deserved more microphones -- at least 4½ mics. I don't know what the editors were listening to, but 'Kast's CD is a full-fledge HIP-HOP ALBUM. And as far as Dré singing on his half of the collection -- I don't see the debate. Ja Rule sings on his records and the Source editors call that hip-hop, but Dré singing on his LP, and the editors are questioning whether or not that's hip-hop? And if the Speakerboxxx/The Love Below -- as a whole -- should be even considered a hip-hop LP?
Yes, I understand that Speakerboxxx is a rap record for the obvious reasons; but to say that the Love Below is not hip-hop enough because Dré is singing on it, to me, this is bizarre thinking. OutKast shouldn't be punished for taking hip-hop to the next level. In fact, hip-hop needs to go "far left" as possible -- singing or otherwise. Anyway, it's safe to say, that I have lost all faith in The Source as a credible hip-hop magazine.
Nevertheless, writer Bomani Jones of Africana.com puts in all in perspective:
"With the release of Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, a double CD with one solo disc per group member, OutKast may have secured their place in history as the greatest group ever."
Oops, I'm sorry . . .