André Lauren Benjamin (born May 27, 1975),[1] better known by his stage name André 3000 (formerly Dre), is an American musician and actor best known for being part of hip hop duo Outkast alongside fellow rapper Big Boi. As an actor, Benjamin has made appearances in a number of TV series and films, including Families, The Shield, Be Cool, Revolver, Semi-Pro, Four Brothers, and the lead role of Jimi Hendrix in All Is by My Side.

André 3000
Andre Benjamin.jpg
André 3000 at the 2007 Comic Con in San Diego, California.
Born
André Lauren Benjamin

(1975-05-27) May 27, 1975 (age 44)
Other names
  • Andre 3K
  • Dre
  • 3 Stacks
  • Johnny Vulture
  • Ice Cold
  • Sunny Bridges
  • DookieBlossungame III
Occupation
  • Musician
  • rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actor
  • dancer
Years active1992–present
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • keyboards
  • piano
  • bass clarinet
  • kalimba
Labels
Associated acts

In addition to music and acting, Benjamin has also been an entrepreneur. In the spring of 2008, he launched a clothing line called Benjamin Bixby. He has also been an advocate for animal rights.[2] He is also known for his work on the Cartoon Network animated series Class of 3000.

in 2013, Complex included Benjamin on its list of the 10 best rappers of the 2000s.[3] Considered among the greatest rappers of all time, in 2015, Billboard included Benjamin on its list of the 10 Greatest Rappers of All Time.[4]

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Benjamin was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the only child of Sharon Benjamin-Hodo (d. 2013), a single mother who sold real estate and Lawrence Harvey Walker (d. 2014), a collections agent.[5][6][7] Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, East Point, Georgia and Bankhead, Georgia, he attended Sarah Smith Elementary School, Sutton Middle School, Northside High School and Tri-Cities High School.[8]

Music careerEdit

Outkast: 1992–2007; 2014Edit

In high school, Benjamin (who was then performing as Andre) met Antwan "Big Boi" Patton. Benjamin and Patton teamed up to form Outkast. Shortly after graduating from high school, Outkast was signed to the Atlanta-based LaFace label and released their debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, in 1994. Buoyed by the success of the single "Player's Ball", the album went platinum by the end of the year and Outkast was named Best New Rap Group of the Year at the 1995 Source Awards. On their next two albums, ATLiens and Aquemini, Outkast experimented with their sound by adding elements of trip hop, soul, and jungle. The albums were also influenced by a return to traditional black music genres, funk being the prime example. With their portrayal of themselves as out-of-place extraterrestrials in ATLiens, "the funkadelic, futuristic, and seemingly unfamiliar, weird, or eccentric persona projected by André 3000 creates the chance to transcend the more pronounced characterizations of gangstas and pimps so regularly assumed by black men rap artists."[9] Outkast's distinctive southern "player" style is combined with these Afrofuturistic elements to create a new, unique space for their brand of rap within popular culture. Benjamin's lyrics, in particular, took on a more surreal, space-age tinge. Within the time of his second and third albums, Benjamin took up guitar, painting, and a relationship with singer Erykah Badu. Outkast's fourth album, Stankonia, introduced Benjamin's new alias André 3000 (largely to distinguish himself from Dr. Dre and his new persona after his split with Badu) and increased the group's crossover appeal with the single "Ms. Jackson", which hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written in the aftermath of Benjamin's breakup with Badu and was a fictionalized account of the disintegration of their relationship. In 2002, Outkast released a greatest hits album, Big Boi and Dre Present... OutKast which contained three new tracks. One track, "The Whole World", won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Later that year, Benjamin participated in the Dungeon Family group album, which saw a number of prominent Atlanta-based hip-hop groups combine into a supergroup. In 2002, André 3000 was referenced on the song "Till I Collapse" by Eminem, who considered him one of the best rappers ever.

In 2003, Outkast released Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, a double album which highlighted the differences in the musical styles of the group's two members. Benjamin's half of the album, The Love Below, garnered the most attention from mainstream audiences, with the popular singles "Hey Ya!" and "Roses". The album's fourth single and video (Benjamin's third), "Prototype", was released shortly after. Big Boi's Speakerboxxx spawned the number-one hit "The Way You Move" and the relatively successful "Ghetto Musick". The Love Below was, unlike Speakerboxxx, an exercise in funk, jazz, and alternative music, featuring sung vocals from Benjamin (instead of rapped). Rolling Stone compared Benjamin to "an indie-rock Little Richard" on Outkast's 2003 Number 1 international hit "Hey Ya!" and later declared the hit one of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time,[10] In 2006, Outkast released their sixth album as a group, Idlewild. The album served as a soundtrack to the group's musical film Idlewild. The film centered on life in a 1930s setting and the album took influences from music of that era, particularly blues. Benjamin had a few rapped verses on the album, including on the first single "Mighty O", but mostly stuck with singing as he had on The Love Below. The album actually postponed the release of the theatrical Idlewild, as Andre 3000 and Big Boi were concentrated more on the production of the music than the movie. In an odd turn of events, the movie was finished before the album was, and because of that, the movie was postponed about a year. This was because the crew of Outkast and its associates' had developed the idea of creating a movie before the release of one of their early albums, Aquemini. Thus, when it finally came time to collaborate as a group on the movie, they had most of the details worked out, including a script, as stated by Andre 3000 himself in an interview he had conducted with Billboard in 2006.[11]

In January 2014, it was announced that Outkast would be reuniting to celebrate their 20th anniversary by performing at more than 40 festivals worldwide during the spring/summer of 2014, beginning with a headline spot at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California in April.

Solo work: 2007–presentEdit

Benjamin returned to rapping in 2007, after a hiatus from the genre. Appearing on various remixes, including: "Walk It Out", "Throw Some D's", "You" and Jay-Z's "30 Something." His contributions to original songs included UGK's "International Players Anthem", Devin the Dude's "What a Job", Fonzworth Bentley's "Everybody", and with Big Boi and Raekwon on "Royal Flush". Benjamin worked with Q-Tip in the song "BE BRAVE" that was supposed to be released on Q-Tip's album The Renaissance.[12] He also appeared on John Legend's album Evolver, on the track "Green Light", which was released on October 28, 2008. Prior to the release, Benjamin commented: "It's going to be a surprise for a lot of John Legend fans because it is a lot more upbeat than John is—than people think John is. I was actually happy to hear it. This is a cool John Legend song." Benjamin has stated that he plans on recording a solo rap album and that the response to his remixes is part of the motivation for it.[13] In 2010, he was featured on Ciara's remix for her single "Ride", from the album Basic Instinct [14] and on the remix to Chris Brown's "Deuces".

On January 18, 2011, Kesha released "The Sleazy Remix", which featured Benjamin. The remix was later re-released on December 13, 2011, also featuring verses by rappers Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa and T.I.[15] On June 7, Big Boi leaked a collaboration with Benjamin and Sleepy Brown entitled "Lookin' 4 Ya" – which was originally intended for Big Boi's debut solo album Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, however, it was blocked by Jive Records from being on the album.[16]

On June 24, 2011, Beyoncé's fourth studio album entitled 4 was released. Benjamin featured on the track "Party", his first collaboration with the singer. The song was later nominated for the Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the Grammy Awards held in 2012. Benjamin continued his string of guest appearances throughout the year – featuring on Lloyd's song "Dedication to My Ex (Miss That)", Lil Wayne's "Interlude" and Drake's "The Real Her". He also featured on the track "Play the Guitar" by B.o.B.

Benjamin was featured alongside Jay-Z on Young Jeezy's track "I Do", released on January 10, 2012. It later appeared on Young Jeezy's fourth studio album Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition. Benjamin's verse, which was initially recorded as a song for his debut solo album, was leaked onto the Internet in 2010. The following month, it was announced that Benjamin would be featured on a song with LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy and the alternative rock virtual band Gorillaz titled "DoYaThing", to promote the Gorillaz Converse collection. It was released on February 23, 2012, in two different versions – one approximately 4-and-a-half-minute radio edit and the explicit 13-minute version. The song was written and recorded over three days, with the 13-minute version being recorded on the last one.

On July 10, 2012, Channel Orange, the debut album by singer-songwriter and Odd Future member Frank Ocean, was released. Benjamin was featured on the song "Pink Matter," supplying vocals and guitar. Later, on July 30, 2012, Rick Ross's album God Forgives, I Don't was released, featuring Benjamin on the song "Sixteen", once again supplying vocals and guitar. Later in the year, Benjamin also featured on T.I.'s album Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head on the song "Sorry". T.I. noted that the collaboration was a "proud moment" for him.[17]

On May 6, 2013, the soundtrack of the film The Great Gatsby was released, featuring a cover by Benjamin and Beyoncé of Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black", marking their second collaboration. The following month, Capital Cities released their debut album, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, on which Benjamin was featured on the song "Farrah Fawcett Hair".

After being seen in the studio with producer Mike WiLL Made It, it was reported on August 3, 2013, that Andre 3000 would be releasing a new solo album in early 2014. However, the following day a representative for Benjamin told Billboard that "there is no official confirmation on that report."[18][19] In 2014, Benjamin appeared on fellow Dungeon Family member Future's second studio album, Honest, on a song titled "Benz Friendz (Whatchutola)".[20]

In November 2015, Benjamin made a surprise guest appearance on the track "Hello" from Erykah Badu's mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone.[21]

In 2016, Benjamin presented background vocals on the track "30 Hours" by Kanye West of his album The Life of Pablo. Earlier that year, Benjamin revealed that he was in the process of recording new music. He also appeared on the song "Solo (Reprise)" by Frank Ocean off his album Blonde. In the song, Andre expresses his disappointment with the direction hip-hop has taken in the more than twenty years since he started rapping.[22] Benjamin also appeared on the track, "the ends" on Travis Scott's second studio album, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight. Also in 2016, he appears on the song "Kids..." By A Tribe Called Quest from the album We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service. He was also featured on two tracks on Kid Cudi's 2016 album, Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin'. He was featured on the track "Rollinem 7's" on N.E.R.D's 2017 album No One Ever Really Dies.

On May 13, 2018 on Mother's Day, Benjamin released two surprise songs through his SoundCloud account, 'Me&My (To Bury Your Parents)' and a 17-minute instrumental track 'Look Ma No Hands' featuring Benjamin on bass clarinet and James Blake on piano.[23]

Benjamin co-wrote and featured on "Come Home", the first track of Anderson .Paak's album Ventura, released on 12 April 2019. Benjamin also featured on James Blake's album Assume Form with a guest verse on Where's the Catch.

Acting careerEdit

Benjamin has made appearances in Families, The Shield (he plays Robert Huggins, a character that originated in an episode titled "On Tilt" from Season 3 in 2004), Be Cool, Revolver, Semi Pro, and Four Brothers. He was also cast as Percival in Idlewild, released on August 26, 2006. He voiced a crow in Charlotte's Web, a movie adaptation of the 1952 children's book. As of November 2006, he voiced "Sunny Bridges," a prize-winning musician who gives up touring to teach at his alma mater, in Class of 3000, an animated series he produced on Cartoon Network. He has also worked with Esthero on a promotional version of "Jungle Book" which was on a Wikked lil' grrrls sampler, but never made it to the actual album due to issues with Esthero's label, Warner Bros..

The following year, he appeared in the basketball comedy Semi-Pro, with Woody Harrelson and Will Ferrell. He also starred in the 2007 film Battle in Seattle, a film about the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization protests.

Benjamin was a member of Quentin Tarantino and Lawrence Bender's production company A Band Apart until its close in 2006; he then formed his own company, Moxie Turtle. In May 2012, Benjamin began filming a biographical film about Jimi Hendrix entitled All Is By My Side. It premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2013.[24][25][26] His performance was met with critical acclaim and earned him a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead.[27]

In 2016, Benjamin had a recurring role as Michael LaCroix on the second season of the anthology crime drama series American Crime.[28]

FashionEdit

Benjamin launched the "Benjamin Bixby" clothing line in the spring of 2008, inspired by college football circa 1935.[29]

Personal lifeEdit

In 2004, alongside Alicia Silverstone, Benjamin was voted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to be the 'World's Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity'.[2] He is a childhood friend of Fonzworth Bentley. Benjamin also has a son named Seven Sirius Benjamin (born November 18, 1997) with R&B singer Erykah Badu.

Benjamin was a vegan[30] for fifteen years. By 2014, he had given it up, stating:

I was a hardcore vegan for fifteen years. I've even done raw. But socially it became horrible. I was kind of just sitting at home eating a salad. You become mean. That's not good for you.[31]

Benjamin posed for a print advertising campaign by Declare Yourself, a campaign encouraging voter registration among youth for the 2008 United States presidential election. In the ads by photographer David LaChapelle, he has his mouth gagged by a bow-tie in a symbolic function.[32]

DiscographyEdit

André has never released an actual solo album aside from the project Speakerboxxx/The Love Below as “The Love Below” was his solo album under OutKast.

EPsEdit

  • Look Ma No Hands (2018)

FilmographyEdit

Films
Year Film Role Notes
2003 Hollywood Homicide Silk Brown
Volcano High Kim Kyung-soo MTV English dub
2005 Be Cool Dabu
Four Brothers Jeremiah Mercer
Volcano High Kim Yung Soo Voice only
Revolver Avi
2006 Idlewild Percival
Charlotte's Web Elwyn the Crow Voice only
Scary Movie 4 Jack Uncredited
2007 Fracture George
Battle in Seattle Django
2008 Semi-Pro Clarence Withers/Coffee Black/Downtown "Funky Stuff" Malone/Sugar Dunkerton/"Jumping" Johnny Johnson
2010 The After Party: The Last Party 3 Himself
2013 Jimi: All Is by My Side Jimi Hendrix Nominated— Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
2018 High Life Tcherny
Television
Year Show Role Notes
2004; 2008 The Shield Comic Book Store Owner then later politician, Robert Huggins two episodes, including series finale episode
2006–2008 Class of 3000 Sunny Bridges 26 episodes
2008 About a Girl Security Guard 1 episode
2016 American Crime Michael LaCroix Recurring
2016 Brad Neely's Harg Nallin' Sclopio Peepio Himself/Senator Harvey Episode: "For Aretha"
Video game
Year Title Role Notes
2005 L.A. Rush Himself voice roles
TBA Def Jam Fight for LA Himself

voice roles

Awards and nominationsEdit

Grammy Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
1999 "Rosa Parks" Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group Nominated
2002 "Ms. Jackson" Won
Record of the Year Nominated
Best Short-Form Music Video Nominated
Stankonia Album of the Year Nominated
Best Rap Album Won
2003 "The Whole World" (with Killer Mike) Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group Won
2004 "Hey Ya!" Record of the Year Nominated
Best Urban/Alternative Performance Won
Best Short-Form Music Video Nominated
OutKast Producer of the Year, Non-Classical Nominated
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below Best Rap Album Won
Album of the Year Won
2006 Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (as producer) Nominated
2007 "Idlewild Blue (Don't Chu Worry 'Bout Me)" Best Urban/Alternative Performance Nominated
"Mighty 'O'" Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group Nominated
2008 "International Player's Anthem (I Choose You)" (with UGK) Nominated
2009 "Royal Flush" (with Big Boi & Raekwon) Nominated
"Green Light" (with John Legend) Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Nominated
2012 "Party" (with Beyoncé) Nominated
2013 "I Do" (with Young Jeezy, Drake & Jay-Z) Best Rap Performance Nominated
Channel Orange (featured artist) Album of the Year Nominated

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "André 3000 hid away on his 30th birthday". Contactmusic.com. September 22, 2005. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Home & Family Channel closure – Home family". Virgin Media. October 5, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  3. ^ "The 10 Best Rappers of the 2000s". Complex. Complex. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  4. ^ "The 10 Best Rappers of all Time". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  5. ^ "OutKast Biography – family, parents, name, story, school, mother, son, old, information, born, college". Notablebiographies.com. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  6. ^ Tyrangiel, Josh (September 29, 2003). "Music: Dysfunktion Junction". Time. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  7. ^ "Lawrence WALKER's Obituary on Atlanta Journal-Constitution".
  8. ^ Blau, Max (September 18, 2003). "Dungeon Family tree | Cover Story | Creative Loafing Atlanta". Clatl.com. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  9. ^ Beyond Keeping It Real: Outkast, the Funk Connection, and Afrofuturism, Howard Rabsy II, American Studies, Volume 52, Number 4, 2013, pp. 205–216
  10. ^ [1] Archived May 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Conniff, Tamara (July 22, 2006). "Kasting a Wide Net". Billboard - The International Newsweekly of Music, Video and Home Entertainment.
  12. ^ VOZICK-LEVINSON, S. (September 7, 2007). "ON THE Q-TIP". Entertainment Weekly.
  13. ^ [2] Archived December 31, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "New Music: Ciara f/ André 3000 & Bei Maejor – 'Ride (Remix)'". Rap-Up.com. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  15. ^ "Ke$ha f. Andre3000 – Sleazy Rmx | New Hip Hop Music & All The New Rap Songs 2011". HipHop DX. January 14, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  16. ^ Welch, Will (June 7, 2010). "The Verge Q+A: Big Boi Explains Why Andre 3000 Will Not Appear on Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Q". GQ. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  17. ^ "T.I. Calls André 3000 Collaboration a 'Proud Moment'". Rap-Up.com. May 30, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  18. ^ "Andre 3000 Solo Album Next Year". Complex. August 3, 2013. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  19. ^ "Andre 3000 Rep Says Rumored 2014 Solo Debut Album is Not a Sure Thing". Billboard. August 3, 2013. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  20. ^ "Future Reveals 'Honest' Album Release Date, Cover & Tracklist". Vibe. March 9, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  21. ^ "Listen: Erykah Badu's New Mixtape Includes Surprise Appearances By Drake & Andre 3000". Clutch Magazine. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  22. ^ "Andre 3000 Shades Drake On New Frank Ocean Song". Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  23. ^ "Andre 3000 Pays Tribute To His Late Parents On "Me&My (To Bury Your Parents)" & "Look Ma No Hands"". Genius. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  24. ^ Susman, Gary (March 5, 2004). "Casting Call". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  25. ^ Kelly Nelson, Liz (May 29, 2012). "First look: Andre 3000 as Jimi Hendrix in 'All is By My Side'". Zap2it. Archived from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  26. ^ "André 3000 Looks to Rock Toronto As Jimi Hendrix – Speakeasy – WSJ". Blogs.wsj.com. July 23, 2013. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  27. ^ Team, The Deadline (November 25, 2014). "Film Independent Spirit Award Nominations 2015 – Full List".
  28. ^ "André Benjamin Joins ABC Drama Series 'American Crime'". Deadline. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  29. ^ Williams, Ben (February 18, 2008). "Spring Fashion 2008 – André Benjamin Launches New Clothing Line, Benjamin Bixby – New York Magazine". Nymag.com. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  30. ^ Polly Vernon, "'I'm addicted to creating'", The Guardian, September 18, 2005.
  31. ^ "André 3000: What I've Learned'". Esquire. August 27, 2014.
  32. ^ [3] Archived September 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit