Speakerboxxx / The Love Below

Outkast Speakerboxx / The Love Below Cover

There’s an old saying that goes, “If you don’t have nothing nice to say, don’t say nothing at all.” Well, I have a saying and it goes, “The Speakerboxxx album is trash!” I know I’m gonna get flack for this, but I have to stay true to my opinion. Sure, it’s many years old at this point, but I know I’d have felt the same when it came out. I have an immense amount of love and respect for OutKast; however, this album is dreadfully unsettling. These are the guys that gave us that Southernplayalistic ballet and so many more tunes to smoke out and vibe to. When people say harsh things about down-south music, I automatically say, “Nope, OutKast is dope!  Luda is dope! T.I., Big Krit, and others are all dope! Cats down South can lyrically crush rappers globally.” And OutKast are the lyrical masterminds of the South.  This album tho? Issa nah for me dog…

OutKast are two of the best emcees to ever do it – they’re legends – so when I turned on this record I was looking for that. I didn’t get their greatness. The project is divided up so Big Boi has the first part of the album and 3 Stacks does the second half in the double-disk set. I don’t know whose idea that was, but it  wasn’t a good one. These guys are best when they’re together. The production on Big Boi’s half was completely disappointing. It was weird (in a bad way) for me. Sure, Big was spitting lyrics because he knows how to rap, but nothing connected or stuck with me enough to make me rewind a verse for a second listen.

After getting to the second disk, I couldn’t wait to hear what Dre’s work was gonna sound like, but after listening through it, I can’t even give you quotable lines. I think after 3 Stacks really got wit Erykah BaVoodoo, he lost his touch, swag, soul, and passion for the music all together. I knew something was wrong with him when he jumped on stage in those Chewbacca boots, bare-chested with a platinum colored wig on. In my opinion, she sucked the vibranium out of his soul. On his half of the album, he sung for the most part and only showed spurts of who I remember him being.  After that, I just turned the album off! I wish I could get the time I spent listening to this record back. Were they even in the studio together when they made this album? Was it all Big Boi’s idea and he was secretly competing with his bro?

In closing, I understand why there’s only one album after this. Dre didn’t really want it anymore, even back than. It sounds forced. The singles were cool, but you’d want more considering how many tracks are on it. Duos who split rarely make it; what they create is meant to be crafted together and Speakerboxxx, in my opinion, is the perfect example of failed collaboration. Don’t kill the messenger, especially after this album left me on life support already.  

The true testament of OutKast is that even though they made this album, they’re still two of the best to ever do it and I’d put them up against most rappers, past and present.