If you’re a decently big fan of rap and hip-hop as a whole you definitely recognize a few artists as some of the best, whether it be influence, storytelling, technical ability, or anything really. For a while I have viewed five particular artists as the best: Tupac essentially being one of the most influential figures ever as he brought to light the idea of a concept album, Nas for Illmatic alone basically, The Notorious B.I.G. for bringing East Coast hip-hop to light and having a consistent amazing quality, Kendrick Lamar for being one of the most intelligent rappers that almost never drops a bad verse, and Andre 3000 for having the best flow as well as being without a doubt the best technical rapper of all time.
I’d accept arguments for any of these guys for being the best of all time, but one sticks out from the pack as being different. Can you guess? (Hint: It’s in the title) Yes, former member of hip-hop group Outkast Andre Benjamin, more commonly known as Andre 3000, is an absolutely stunning rapper from his flow, his rhyme schemes, and his always clever lyrics. Listening to his verses you’d wonder why he never gets credit as being one of the all time greats from the public at large. There is one very good reason for this though.
He has never released a solo single, nevermind a solo album.
It’s incredible really. He has been a featured solo artist on 33 songs, 9 of which were singles, and has killed it every time (well, almost every time.) This doesn’t even include his consistently great music from his stint in Outkast where he was able to carry the trash that is Big Boi. Seriously, Outkast’s greatness was solely due to Andre. He was the one who wrote “Hey Ya” and “Roses,” which are two of the best charting songs of the past two decades. Despite all of this, he has never once released anything solo. Why is this?
It isn’t as if he had never considered it. For the past few years he had teased it time and time, even getting President of Music Programming and Specials for BET Networks Stephen G. Hill on the hype train back in 2013 (follow him on twitter btw, pretty entertaining guy.) But that teases was supposedly for a 2014 album, which we never got. This frustrates me to no end.
He still is being featured in great songs too! He had a whole minute long verse on the newest Frank Ocean album (which I’m considering reviewing) in “Solo(Reprise)” and that will go down as one of the best verses this year I’m sure. I mean, listen to it. Great production mixed with technical perfection right there. Imagine an album full of verses and musical quality like that. Want to know what that would end up being? Potentially an album that could match Illmatic levels of quality.
I also want to mention that he had a show on Cartoon Network called “The Class of 3000” back in 2006. It went on for two seasons and actually won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation. Was the show any good? Sorta. Was it weird as shit both in content and in existence? Absolutely.