Andre 3000: The Art of I'mma Do Me
Andre 3000 is teaching us the subtle art of minding your own business and we should be taking notes.
From the start of my freshman year in high school until that great gettin’ up morning on graduation day, my school house moments were orchestrated by the sounds of Outkast. Stankonia debuted my 9th grade year and Speakerboxxx/Love Below the start of my senior year. Maaaaaan, we played the hell out of those albums. And we ain’t talking ‘bout streaming music or listening to it on YouTube. We dedicated ourselves to poppin’ in the CD, making sure the walkman had AA batteries, plugging in our cheap headphones and playing Bombs Over Baghdad on HIGH until yo momma said “turn that mess down before your eardrums bust!” We equated being open casket sharp to being So Fresh and So Clean. We rapped Ms.Jackson like we really had baby momma drama. We did the trunk test with the Speakerboxxx Intro. And used our falsetto voice to sing Prototype to our high school boo thangs! *sings I hope that you’re the one ... IF NOT …. You are the prototype*
And now … NOW …while Trump is President and mumble rap is everywhere, this ninja named Andre Benjamin continues to leave us on read no matter how many times we slide in his DM, mention him on Twitter or send the Holy Spirit to his house, he is not making any more music. ARE YOU SERIOUS?! Say it ain’t so Dre! Say it ain’t so! What type of twisted Baduizm made you want to put down the mic?
But with age SHOULD come maturity (some of ya’ll are aging but not getting wiser … but I digress). At the age of 33, I realize Andre does not care how many fans, friends or foes ask him to jump back into the booth … he is sticking to his decisions. And below are the reasons Benjamin Andre 3000 is the King of I’mma Do Me.
1. Andre’s clothes - Some may say that Andre’s style changed at the start of the Aquemini album. But personally a brotha wearing a white Atlanta braves Jersey and white Kango hat will always be different in my book. We should have known in the consistency of his wardrobe that Andre ain’t one to mess with. This man wore football pads with multi-colored feather pants in a rap music video. His style was a physical representation of his personality to go against the grain. He was determined to wear what he wanted to wear and do what he wanted to do.
2. Andre’s music - If you’ve been keeping up with the Andre sightings, my man has been spotted in several venues walking around playing a flute. Yea. You read that right. A flute! What I love about what others may see as strange behavior is the connection between his behavior and his music. Andre’s music was always rebellious, different and odd. The Love Below gave you an audible portfolio of his musical mind. It makes you appreciate his push to shift the narrative of being “just another rapper” but also makes you thirst for more.
3. Andre’s words - Andre has taught us a valuable lesson in the art of “I Said What I Said.” If one says something and he/she wishes for others to adhere to those words, then he/she must solidify such statements with equivalent actions. In 1995, on stage at The Source Awards in New York City, Andre delivered the famous words “the South got somethin’ to say.” And they did. For 11yrs, he gave us everything that was on his mind and murdered it over a beat. He stayed 10 toes down for the south and did what he said he would do. Alongside Big Boi and the Dungeon Family, he helped to change the direction of southern hiphop and validate our neck of the woods. And now he’s quiet. He’s living life. And deserves to.
Though I want another album. Though I want another video. I am more thankful for Andre’s lesson on being you. Accepting your uniqueness. Minding your business. And most importantly, knowing when to talk and when to shut up!