Released: 29th September 2003.
"Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" sees both members of the group go solo. Ironically, they do it together, as the double CD set is packaged under the Outkast outfit. Big Boi and Andre 3000 are given enough freedom to do whatever they please, but does it actually work?
On "Speakerboxxx", Big Boi (the rapping one) presents a cluster of hip-hop tracks. From the roaring single, "Ghetto Musick", to "The Way You Move", Boi experiments with different sounds. Killer Mike, Ludacris, Cee-Lo and Sleepy Brown all make welcome additions as guest performers.
Andre 3000 (the singing one) seems right at home with the tracks on "The Love Below". Annoying intros and pointless skits aside, the jazz-infused R&B/hip-hop comes in a well-produced package of mega-hits and sub-par warblings. Lyrically, Andre 3000 explores no more than three topics - love, sex and himself.
Some tracks come off fresh-sounding and edgy, like "Love In War" and "Spread". Others sound mundane and stale, especially "Take Off Your Cool". The unapologetically happy lead single, "Hey Ya" is the star here, fusing electro-funk, old-skool soul and fresh R&B.
The Outkast sound is only apparent on about half of each artists' songs, and out of the two, "Speakerboxxx" seems more satisfying. Both albums should have been shortened, but even then the effort would be no challenge for their 2001 masterpiece, "Stankonia".
Best track: "Ghetto Musick"
Worst track: "Prototype"