Since it ain’t where you from its where you pay rent, it is seemingly safe to say I’m an Atlantan, for now. That fact, in addition to me being born and raised in the South, makes this post a little bit sweeter for me. Since hitting the scene in 1994, OutKast and Andre 3000 have become the ambassadors of cool for the South in general and for Atlanta in particular.
Before the cartoon, the clothing line, Erykah Badu, and being named one of the “World’s Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrities” by PETA, Andre 3000 was Andre Benjamin, Atlanta native, a student of the violin and already picking up both musical and sartorial influences like a sponge. When Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik dropped in ’94 Andre was far from the space-aged, Southern gent that we now know him to be and was more of just your typical guy from around the way knocking around in his Braves jersey.
Nothing about mid-90’s Andre hinted at the brilliance simmering under the surface. From there both his style and OutKast’s music took a turn to the surreal, obviously influenced by funk and his relationship with the equally trippy Erykah Badu, with the release of both ATLiens and Aquemini. At the same as his music took a turn to the space age, so did his style. What began with turbans to accent his outfits turned into high-waisted pants, wigs, and a sort of 70’s revival complete with multicolored outfits and crocheted hats. Eventually, Andre exited the mother ship and returned to the influences from his middle classed with his album The Love Below and again his style followed suit, with the introduction of Depression Era threads, seersucker, and pastels.
Perhaps the most appealing element of his style is his ability to constantly reinvent himself. Andre’s evolution, unlike that of some other celebrities, has as much to do with his own personal journey towards truth and discovery as an artist than it does record sales. His ability to find something from the past and reinterpret it for today’s audiences in a way that keeps him constantly perched on the next level.
There are waaay too many videos that I want to put in this post, but I decided to give you classic Andre, since you know what he’s doing these days.
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