André 3000 is an artist that needs no introduction. From his times in the Dungeon family, to working with Organized Noize in the creation of Outkast, André 3000 has become famous for his signature style as an artist. His knack for story-telling in his verses has made him an unstoppable force in the music world, and even leads to him being referred to as the ‘feature king’. In an interview with Fader Magazine André delves into his creative process in writing such influential verses saying: “I write all the time. Like I write down thoughts that I think would be interesting or things that are kind of just concerning me at the time. Sometimes I write them on a napkin, sometimes I type them in my phone. And when it comes time to do music, I go through and see what thoughts work for this song.”
Whatever he’s doing, it’s working. Here are 5 of my favorite André 3000 features.
1. Pink Matter
“You know when you’re not on the list but you’re still No. 1? You’re not top 5 because you’re No. 1. You’re not involved in top 5 conversations because you’re No. 1. That’s André 3000.” – Frank Ocean
In his debut studio album, Channel Orange, Frank Ocean featured rap legend André 3000 on his slow melodic tune ‘Pink Matter’, a song focusing on the female anatomy, desire and fantasy.
“Since you been gone, I been having withdrawals / You were such a habit to call / I ain’t myself at all, had to tell myself, “Naw / She better with some fella with a regular job” / I didn’t wanna get her involved / By dinner Mr. Benjamin was sitting in awe / Hopped into my car; drove far / Far’s too close and I remember my memory’s no sharp / Butter knife, what a life, anyway / I’m building y’all a clock, stop, what am I, Hemingway? / She had the kind of body that would probably intimidate / Any of ‘em that were un-southern, not me, cousin / If models are made for modeling’ / Thick girls are made for cuddling’ / Switch worlds and we can huddle then / Who needs another friend? I need to hold your hand / You’d need no other man, we’d flee to other lands”
2. Solo (Reprise)
Solo (Reprise), the second song entitled Solo from Ocean’s Blond album, is an interlude featuring only André 3000, and has been regarded as one of the best feature verses of that year. In this verse André 3000 plays off the word solo to make digs at how the rap game has changed, obsessions with material items, and American hypocrisy.
“So low that I can see under the skirt of an ant / So low that I don’t get high no more / When I “Geronimo!”, I just go “Eh” / Solo, my cup is a rojo, my cholo, my friend / So low that I can admit / When I hear that another kid is shot by the popo / It ain’t an event no more / So low that no more high horses, so hard to wear Polo / When I do, I cut the pony off / Now there’s a hole that once was a logo, how fitting / So low that I can give a fuck about what is trending / Tryna cut down on my spending / Regardless of winning, instead of pretending / And bending over backwards / Over half of these hoes had work done / Sayin’ they want something real from a man / Just saying it, we being real persons / I hate that it’s like this, I feel for you, ant / I don’t know what it’s like with a skirt on / So pardon me if I am being insensitive / But darling this only worsens / So low my halo stay way low, it feels like it’s bent / So low that when they throw pussy or pesos / I don’t pay no attention to it / So low that I am no rookie but feel like a kid / Lookin’ at the other kids / With astonishment while I’m on punishment / Watchin’ the summer come close to an end / After 20 years in, I’m so naïve / I was under the impression / That everyone wrote they own verses / It’s comin’ back different and, yeah, that shit hurts me / I’m hummin’ and whistlin’ to those not deserving / I’ve stumbled and lived every word / Was I working just way too hard?”
3. Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)
Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You) was never intended to feature Outkast. The original plans for the song was a collaboration between UGK and Three 6 Mafia, which turned into a collaboration between UGK and Outkast. This song features verses about the women in their lives, André 3000’s being about an upcoming marriage to some “cutie pie with whom [he] wanna be”.
“So, I typed a text to a girl I used to see / Saying that I chose this cutie pie with whom I wanna be / And I apologize if this message gets you down / Then I CC’ed every girl that I’d see-seed ’round town / And hate to see y’all frown but I’d rather see her smiling’ / Wetness all around me, true, but I’m no island / Peninsula maybe, it makes no sense, I know crazy / Give up all this pussy cat that’s in my lap, no looking back / Spaceships don’t come equipped with rear view mirrors / They dip as quick as they can, the atmosphere is now ripped / I’m so like a pimp, I’m glad it’s night / So the light from the sun would not burn me on my bum / When I shoot the moon, high jump the broom / Like a preemie out the womb / My partner yelling, “Too soon, don’t do it! / Reconsider, read some liter-ature on the subject / You sure? Fuck it / You know we got your back like chiropractic / If that bitch do you dirty, we’ll wipe her ass out in some detergent / Now hurry, hurry, go on to the altar / I know you ain’t a pimp, but pimp, remember what I taught ya: / Keep your heart Three Stacks, keep your heart / Hey, keep your heart Three Stacks, keep your heart / Man, these girls is smart, Three Stacks, these girls is smart / Play your part… play your part”
“He sent me the verse, and it was magic. I thought that was going to be it. We were in my living room, and André was like, ‘Are we going to finish this?’ I said, ‘What do you mean? I can’t go after that!’ But we decided to go further with it. We stayed up until five in the morning.” – Erykah Badu
André 3000, and Erykah Badu have some history, including the son, Seven, they had together 20 years ago, so any record from the duo was destined to be big. This song plays off the beat of the The Isley Brothers 1974 song ‘Hello It’s Me’. André 3000 raps the first part of the song, talking about insecurities surrounding relationships, and commitment.
“Okay, challenge / Leave your phone unlocked and right side up / Walk out the room without throwin’ your bitch off balance / It’s either on or off, ain’t no in between when it’s valid / I seem to wanna talk more and more ’bout what really matters / I’ve seen my aura hop out my torso and hit her backwards / Flip, watchin’ you skip down my corridor, fuck a ballad / Don’t need shit on the side no more, all entreé, fuck a salad / I often have awesome thoughts of tossin’ this softer palate / So when we fall any wall, any stall, any crawl, any pause / Any scar, any tar, any dark will dissolve, kill them all / Build-A-Bear, build them all, build it where it won’t fall / Give it all, give it my all, yeah / Don’t wear any drawers, any bra, anymore, in it raw, isn’t it raw? / I’m in awe, I’m involved, common law, cummin’ on stomach wall / Kermit frog jump off London fog / Bridges in the midst of callgirls my woman calls / Unicorn, you my porn
[Bridge: André 3000]
I don’t know / I don’t know / I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know / I don’t know / Will this bitch click over for me? / I mean will this woman click over for me? / Over for me? Over for me? / Is it over for me? Over for me? Over for me? / I don’t know / I don’t know / I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know / I don’t know / Is this bitch gettin’ over on me? / If I go there will she go there with me? / Should I, I not be so open, I mean? / Open, I mean? You know what I mean? / Know what I mean? / I don’t know / I don’t know I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know / I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know (I don’t know) / Will this bitch click over for me? / I mean will this woman click over for me? / Over for me? Over for me? / Is it over for me? Over for me? Over for me? / I don’t know / I don’t know, I don’t know / I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know / I don’t know / Is this bitch gettin’ over on me? / If I go there will she go there with me? / Should I, I not be so open, I mean? / Open, I mean? You know what I mean? / Know what I mean?”
“We just went to that next level. I think for people to hear Andre do what he did; I’ma let y’all count how many bars he did as well as of course what I did, man.” – Rick Ross
Rick Ross’s song, Sixteen, is titled after the 16 bars feature artists are usually allocated when featuring in songs. The song starts with Rick Ross musing about how “16 ain’t enough”, and leads into Andre 3000’s massive two minute long rap verse.