Today in Hip Hop History: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

Today in Hip Hop History: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

Today in Hip Hop History: September 23, 2003

What’s better than one OutKast album?

Two OutKast albums! Or more specifically, a double album consisting of one solo album each from Andre 3000 and Big Boi.

13 years ago today, Southern hip hop duo OutKast released their classic double album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, through LaFace Records in 2003. The album was released as two separate solo albums from Big Boi and Andre 3000 respectively but primarily as a double album representing the legendary hip hop duo. Speakerboxxx represents Big Boi’s solo album with a P-Funk hip hop influence, while The Love Below is Andre 3000’s solo album focusing on funk, jazz, psychedelic and electro styles.

The double album contained in-house production in addition to help from Cutmaster Swiff, Dojo5, Mr. DJ, and Carl Mo. It also included features from Sleepy Brown, Jazze Pha, Bigg Gipp, Ludacris, Jay-Z, Killer Mike, Cee Lo Green, Lil Jon & The East Size Boyz, and several others. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below clocked in at 135 minutes of hip hop, providing OutKast fans an ample dosage of southern hip hop for one sitting.

A majority of the album was created in Andre’s house in Los Angeles, where he moved to after the release of Stankonia in an effort to pursue an acting career. The duo recorded most of the album separately, warranting critiques from some hip hop purists. Regardless, they continued to assess and assist each other throughout the process. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below somewhat served as a liaison between their group career and their solo careers.

At one time, the duo considered creating the project into a motion picture but changed their minds. Instead, they elected to include several skits and background storytelling elements to the album. In total, OutKast recorded over 120 total songs for the album but used only 39 for the end product.

Awards and Critiques

Upon release, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below received amazing critical reviews. Many revered the album for its creativity and groundbreaking elements. At a time where gangsta rap and pop rap remained largely in the forefront of hip hop music, OutKast once again impressed with their signature southern-alternative sound. The album was only the second hip hop album in history to win Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards, in addition to winning two other Grammy Awards and six total nominations.

This was the 1st Billboard 200 chart topping album for the duo, amassing seven total weeks at #1, 24 weeks in the top 10, and 56 weeks on the Billboard 200. The album had two chart topping singles in “The Way You Move” and “Hey Ya,” the latter which became the very first platinum download on iTunes. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below became RIAA Certified Diamond and 11 times Platinum for moving over 11 million copies in the United States alone.

The album received unprecedented praise and achieved unbelievable success. It is without a doubt a hip hop classic, coupled with essentially every other OutKast release to this date.

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