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Friday, February 20, 2009

Who is André Lauren Benjamin?

Who is André Lauren Benjamin? better known by his stage name André 3000, is an American rapper, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor, best known for his work in the group OutKast.

Benjamin was born May 27, 1975 in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Sharon Benjamin Hodo, a single mother who sold real estate, and Lawrence Walker, a collections agent.[1][2] Being an only child and growing up in East Point, Decatur and Buckhead, Benjamin saw many different lifestyles (clothing and music) that he combined throughout his career. He attended Sutton Middle School,and Tri-Cities High School where an orchestra teacher named Mrs. Natalie Colbert taught him how to play the violin.

In high school, Benjamin (who was then performing as "Dre") met Antwan "Big Boi" Patton and after a few lyrical battles the two teamed up to form Outkast. Shortly after graduating high school the duo were signed to the Atlanta-based LaFace label and released their debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik in 1994. Buoyed by the success of the single "Playa'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. Benjamin's lyrics in particular took on a more surreal, space-age tinge. At this time Benjamin took up the guitar and painting and became involved with singer Erykah Badu.

Outkast's fourth album, Stankonia, saw Benjamin take on the new name of Andre 3000 (largely to distinguish himself from Dr. Dre) and increased the group's crossover appeal with the single Ms. Jackson, which hit number one 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 2001, 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 2003, Outkast released Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, a double album which highlighted the differences in the musical styles of the group's two members. André'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 (Andre's third), "Prototype", was released shortly after, where as Big Boi's Speakerboxxx has seen the release of the hit "The Way You Move" and most recent single "Ghetto Musick." The Love Below was, unlike Speakerboxxx, an exercise in funk, jazz, and alternative music, featuring mostly sung (instead of rapped) vocals from André.

He is also currently working on an as-of-yet untitled project, filming on location in Louisiana and is being produced by Chesley Seals and Kat Hantas. 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 publisher, Warner Bros.. He launched the "Benjamin Bixby" clothing line in spring of 2008, inspired by college football, circa 1935.[3]

He returned to rapping in 2007 after a long hiatus, appearing on many various remixes including "Walk It Out," "Throw Some D's," "You," Jay-Z's "30 Something," and a few original songs such as UGK's 'International Players Anthem', Devin the Dude's "What A Job", Fonzworth Bentley's Everybody and John Legend's 'Green Light'. He also recently appeared on Big Boi's single Royal Flush. Videos of songs are at the ends.

Benjamin has recently stated that he is making a solo rap album, and that the response to his remixes is part of the motivation. In the same interview, he stated that he wanted to write a verse for a remix to "Beautiful Girls" by Sean Kingston, nothing ever came of the remix.[4]
Andre is featured in John Legend's latest album, Evolver, on the track "Green Light", which was released on October 28, 2008. Prior to the release, Andre 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 also ventured into acting in recent years, starring in films Be Cool, Four Brothers, Idlewild and the Guy Richie film Revolver. Andre also did a voice over for the live-action Charlotte's Web.

In November 2006, Benjamin released his project Class of 3000 on Cartoon Network along with his own production company "Moxie Turtle" on each episode there is a moral and a song produced by Benjamin himself. The following year, in February of 2007, Andre started practicing for the basketball comedy Semi-Pro, in which he appeared with Woody Harrelson and Will Ferrell. He also starred in the 2008 film Battle in Seattle, a film about the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization protests.

Benjamin was also a member of Quentin Tarantino and Lawrence Bender's production company A Band Apart, until it's close in 2006.

Benjamin is a strict vegan. In 2004, alongside Alicia Silverstone, André was voted by PETA to be the 'World's Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity.'[5] He has a son with ex partner Erykah Badu named Seven Sirius Benjamin. He is also childhood friends with Fonzworth Bentley.

André posed for a bondage-themed print advertising campaign by Declare Yourself, a campaign encouraging voter registration among youth for the 2008 United States presidential election.[6] In the ads by photographer David LaChapelle, André has his mouth gagged by a bow-tie in a symbolic function.[7] The ads drew national attention.[6] more

Walk it out

Rich boy - Throw Some D's

Jay-Z - 30 Something

Devin the Dude's


Royal Flush.

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