|Posted by The OutKastFreak4Life! on December 21, 2009 at 9:43 AM|
“To me, that's part of the creative process. I hate it whenbands fall back and say, “We're underground; we don't want tomake money.” Because it's not really about making money; it'sabout exposing everybody to what you're doing. And I want to do that.It's harder to be a success, globally, and be artistic. Harder tohave that balance than just to be artistic when nobody understandsyou. You can just sit at home and do it yourself and have nobodylisten to you.” Andre Benjamin
American rapper, singer/songwriter, musician, and actor AndreBenjamin, illustrious with the stage name Andre 3000, is widelyrecognized as the member of the hip hop duo OutKast, along side BigBoi. Founded in his native of Atlanta, Georgia in the early 1990s,the group has released six studio albums and one greatest hitsalbum, “Big Boi and Dre Present...OutKast” (2001), whichspawned the Grammy winning song “The Whole World.” Firstcoming to prominence with “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik”(1994), OutKast's debut album that went platinum and scored thepopular single “Player's Ball,” the group enjoyed evenbigger success with the third album “Aquemini” (1998),which was certified double platinum by RIAA, and the forth album“Stankonia” (2000), which won the 2002 Grammy Award forBest Rap Album and two nominations for Record of the Year and Albumof the Year. The No. 1 hit single “Ms. Jackson” (2001)won the group a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo orGroup, not to mention a Grammy nomination for Best Short-Form MusicVideo and a MTV Video Music nomination. Benjamin further receivedrecognition at the Grammy Awards with the album “Speakerboxxx/TheLove Below”(2003) and the single “Hey Ya!” (2003),from his “The Love Below” project. From the criticalacclaimed soundtrack album “Idlewild” (2006), Benjaminand his group nabbed two Grammy nominations thanks to the songs“Mighty 'O” and “Idlewild Blue (Don'tchu Worry'Bout Me)” as well as two Black Reel nominations. Benjamin alsoshared two additional Grammy nominations for his contribution to BigBoi's solo debut single, “Royal Flush” (2007), and JohnLegend's “Green Light” (2008).
Making his feature film debut in “WaSanGo” (2001),Benjamin has since acted in several films such as “HollywoodHomicide” (2003), “Revolver” (2005), “ScaryMovie 4” (2006), “Charlotte's Web” (2006), “Battlein Seattle” (2007) and “Semi-Pro” (2008). He wasnominated for a BET Comedy Award and two Teen Choice Awards for hissupporting portrayal of Dabu in “Be Cool” and received anMTV Movie nomination and a Black Reel nomination in “FourBrothers” (both 2005). He also starred with Big Boi in the film“Idlewild” (2006). On television, Benjamin has gueststarred in the series “The Shield” and “About aGirl.” His voice can be heard as Sunny Bridges in the animatedseries “Class of 3000” (2006-2007, also an executiveproducer).
The multi-media artist and entrepreneur was once romanticallylinked to musician Erykah Badu, with whom he had a son in 1997. He isa vegan and was named PETA's “Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity inthe World of 2004,” along with actress Alicia Silverstone. Thesame year, he also was voted by Esquire magazine to be the “World'sBest Dressed' Man” and his group, Outkast, was selected byRolling Stone magazine's readers as “The Best Hip Hop Artist.”Benjamin was named one of Fade In Magazine's “100 People inHollywood You Need to Know” in 2005. Besides, he was once voted GQ Magazine's “One of the 50 Most Stylish Men of the Past 50Years.” Benjamin has his own clothing line called “BenjaminBixby,” which he launched in spring of 2008. He is also askilled painter.
In March 2009, the father of one was arrested after allegedlygoing 44 miles over the speed limit in Henry County, Georgia.
Childhood and Family:
André Lauren Benjamin was born on May 27, 1975, in Atlanta,Georgia, to Lawrence Walker, a collections agent, and Sharon BenjaminHodor, a real estate marketer. Raised by his single mother only,Andre spent his youth living in poverty, and was an aspiring criminalbefore he found music. While growing up in Decatur and Buckhead, heexperienced various lifestyle related to music and vesture that heblended throughout his career. Andre attended Willis A. Sutton MiddleSchool and then Tri-Cities High School, a Visual and Performing ArtsMagnet School located in East Point. There he learned to play theviolin from his orchestra teacher, and encountered partner Big Boi(born Antwan André Patton) in his sophomore year.
In 1997, Andre and his then companion, singer Erykah Badu (born onFebruary 26, 1971), welcomed a baby son, Seven Sirius Benjamin. Thecouple were no longer together.
Andre is the childhood friend of multifaceted entertainerFonzworth Bentley. He has several nicknames such as Ice Cold, JohnnyVulture, Cupid Valentino, Dre, and the most famously Andre 3000.
While attending Atlanta's Tri-City high school, Andre Benjaminmet Big Boi and after a few lyrics battle, they joined forced to formthe hip hop duo OutKast. They inked a contract with the Atlanta basedLaFace Records in 1992 just before their graduation.
The debut album “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik” wasreleased on April 24, 1994. Produced by Organized Noize, it reachedNo. 3 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart and also hit the Top 20on the Billboard 200. The lead single “Player's Ball”(released on November 22, 1993) was a big hit for the duo when itrose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks charts and also reachedNo. 6 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales, No. 12 onthe Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 37 on the BillboardHot 100. The second single “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik”(released on June 20, 1994) peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's Hot RapTracks, No. 14 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 41 onBillboards' Hot 100. The third single “Git Up, Git Out”(featuring Goodie Mob) (released on October 10, 1994) peaked at No. 3on the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks, No. 26 on the Billboards HotR&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 59 on the Billboard Hot 100. Thanks tothe popularity of “Player's Ball,”“Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik” went platinum in April1995. It has since been regarded by a number of hip hop fans as aclassic and has served as the foundation for southern hip hop.OutKast received a 1995 Source Award for Best New Rap Group of theYear.
On August 27, 1996, Benjamin and Big Boi released the sophomoreeffort “ATLiens,” which cemented their reputation in thehip hop scene. The album was a critical acclaim and reached No. 1 andNo.2 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums and the Billboard 200 charts,respectively. It spawned three major hits with the singles “Elevators(Me & You),” “ATLiens/Wheelz Of Steel,” and“Jazzy Belle.” “Elevators (Me & You)”was a chart topper at the Hot Rap Tracks, reached No. 5 onBillboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Song and also reached No. 12 on theBillboard Hot 100, becoming the group's highest position on thechart. Under the production company Earthtone III, which OutKastfounded with partner David “Mr. DJ” Sheats, the groupproduced 5 of 15 songs in the album, including the title track and “Elevators (Me & You).”
Benjamin and his music partner gained substantial mainstreampopularity with the third album “Aquemini.”Launched onSeptember 29, 1998, the album went platinum within two months of itsrelease and was certified double platinum by RIAA on July 2, 1999. Itreached No. 2 on both the Top R&B/Hip-Hop and the Billboard 200charts and was later included in the book version of Rolling Stone's“500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” In 1999, the groupwas nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Groupfor their self-written first single “Rosa Park” (#4 onthe Billboard Rhythmic Top 40, #19 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-HopSongs and # 55 on the Billboard Hot 100). The albums also producedsingles such as “Skew It on the Bar-B” and “Da Artof Storytellin' (Pt. 1).”
Formerly known as Dre, Benjamin started using the pseudonym “Andre300” in the group forth album “Stankonia.” Releasedon October 31, 2000, the album sold over 530,000 units in the firstweek of its release and generally earned positive reviews from themusic critics. It peaked at No. 2 on both the Billboard 200 and theTop R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts and also charted in Canada, whereit peaked at No. 4. The lead single “B.O.B.,” featuringthe Morris Brown College Gospel Choir in the chorus, was a minor hitin both the U.S. and the U.K. Benjamin and his group did not enjoyhuge success until the release of the second single “Ms.Jackson” on January 16, 2001. The song reached No. 1 on theBillboard Hot 100, the Hot Rap Singles and the Rhythmic Top 40, andreceived gold certification from RIAA. It also won the group a 2002Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group and a Grammynomination for Best Short-Form Music Video. The video received a 2001MTV Video Music nomination for Best Direction. The third single “SoFresh, So Clean” reached the Top 10 on the Billboard HotR&B/Hip-Hop Songs. “Stankonia” won OutKast a 2002Grammy for Best Rap Album and two additional nominations for Recordof the Year and Album of the Year.
In December 2001, OutKast released the greatest hits album “BigBoi and Dre Present...OutKast,” consisting hits from theirfirst four albums and also the three new tracks “The WholeWorld” (featuring Killer Mike), “Movin' Cool (The AfterParty)” (featuring Joi), and “Funkin' Around.”While the album reached No. 18 on the Billboard 200 and No. 4 on theTop R&B?hip Hop Albums charts and went platinum, the single “TheWhole World” brought the duo their next Grammy award in 2003for Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group and the video received aMTV Video Music nomination for Best Hip-Hop Video.
Also in 2001, Benjamin took part in the only Dungeon Family groupalbum, “Even in Darkness,” along side Killer Mike,Goodie Mob, Sleepy Brown, Witchdoctor, Backbone, and others. He alsomade his acting debut on the Korean film “WaSanGo,” asthe MTV English dub of Kim Kyeong-su. The next year, Benjamin andOutKast reunited with Killer Mike for the song “Land of aMillion Drums,” used as the soundtrack of the “ScoobyDoo” film (2002).
September 2003 saw the release of OutKast' fifth studio album,“Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” consisting of a solo albumfrom both of the group's members. Benjamin's solo project, “TheLove Below” covered musical styles such as pop, soul, jazz,and funk, while Big Boi's “Speakerboxxx,” rooted in basichip hop. “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” earned mostly ravereviews from critics and was a No. 1 hit on both the Billboard 200and Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts. It won two Grammy for Best RapAlbum and Album of the Year. Benjamin's song, “Hey Ya!,”won a 2004 Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance and theGrammy nominations for Record of the Year and Best Short-Form MusicVideo. The group also received an additional Grammy nomination forProducer of the Year Non-Classical. Apart from “Hey Ya!,” “The Love Below” also generated the popular songs“Prototype” and “Roses.”
Still in 2003, Benjamin returned to acting with a supporting rolein the action/comedy film “Hollywood Homicide,” directedby Ron Shelton and starring Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett. Hedebuted on the small screen in the following year with a guest stintin “The Shield,” as comic book store owner. In 2005,Benjamin got further recognition on the big screen with notableperformances in
the F. Gary Gray-helmed comedy/crime “Be Cool,”playing Dabu, opposite John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn andCedric the Entertainer, John Singleton's “Four Brothers,”portraying Jeremiah Mercer, opposite Tyrese Gibson, Mark Wahlberg,and Garrett Hedlund, and Guy Ritchie's “Revolver,” asAvi, opposite Jason Statham, Ray Liotta and Vincent Pastore. Hepicked up a BET Comedy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor ina Theatrical Film and two Teen Choice nominations for ChoiceCrossover Artist and Choice Rap Artist in a Movie for “Be Cool”as well as a MTV Movie for Best Breakthrough Performance and a BlackReel nomination for Best Ensemble for “Four Brothers.”
Following an uncredited part in “Scary Movie 4”(2006), Benjamin starred along side music partner Big Boi in thecrime film “Idlewild” (2006), directed and written byBryan Barber. The duo also provided a soundtrack of the same namethat was released on August 22, 2006 on LaFace Records. While thefilm was a relatively little success, the album itself received ravereviews from music critics and charted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200chart and at number 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It wascertified platinum in the US and went gold in Canada. The albumcharted on the Billboard Hot 100 with the songs “Mighty 'O”(#77), “Idlewild Blue (Don'tchu Worry 'Bout Me)” (#100)and “Morris Brown” (featuring Scar & Sleepy Brown)(#95). The song “Hollywood Divorce” (featuring Lil Wayne& Snoop Dogg) only reached No. 120 on the Billboard HotR&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
“Mighty 'O” and “Idlewild Blue (Don'tchu Worry'Bout Me)” earned Grammy nominations for Best Rap Performanceby Duo or Group and Best Urban/Alternative Performance, respectively.OutKast received Black Reel nominations in the categories of BestSong, Original or Adapted and Best Song, Original or Adapted for“Idlewild Blues.”
Benjamin provided the voice of Elwyn the Crow in Gary Winick's“Charlotte's Web” (2006), a family film starring youngartist Dakota Fanning as Fern and also the voices of big names likeJulia Roberts as Charlotte the Spider, Steve Buscemi as Templeton theRat, John Cleese as Samuel the Sheep, Oprah Winfrey as Gussy theGoose and Cedric the Entertainer as Golly the Goose, among others.The same year, he also began his voice starring role of Sunny Bridgeson the Cartoon Network series “Class of 3000” (2006-?),which he also produced. He was nominated for a 2008 Image Award forOutstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Program - (Series orSpecial). In 2007, Benjamin was cast along side Martin Henderson,Michelle Rodriguez, Woody Harrelson and Charlize Theron in the dramafilm “Battle in Seattle,” written and helmed by StuartTownsend.
Back to his raping roots, Benjamin appeared in various remixessuch as “Walk It Out,” “Throw Some D's,” TheInfamous' “Billy BLAZE” “You,” Jay-Z's “30Something” and a few original songs, including UGK's“International Player's Anthem (I Choose You),” which wasnominated for a 2008 Grammy in the category of Best Rap Performanceby Duo or Group. He also contributed to Big Boi's first solo single,“Royal Flush” (2007), along with Wu-Tang Clan memberRaekwon. The song was nominated for Best Rap Performance by a Duo orGroup at the 2009 Grammy Awards. Benjamin also was featured on JohnLegend's lead single “Green Light” (2008), from the album“Evolver.” It reached No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100,No. 6 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, No. 4 on theBillboard Hot Dance Club Play, and was nominate for a 2009 Grammy forBest Rap/Sung Collaboration.
Benjamin costarred with Will Farrell and Woody Harrelson in thesport-themed film “Semi-Pro” (2008), directed by KentAlterman and penned by Scot Armstrong. The same year, he gueststarred in the TV comedy series “About a Girl.”
Grammy: Best Rap Album, “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” 2004
Grammy: Album of the Year, “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” 2004
Grammy: Best Urban/Alternative Performance, “Hey Ya!,” 2004
Grammy: Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group, “The Whole World,” 2003
Grammy: Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, “Mr. Jackson,” 2002
Grammy: Best Rap Album, “Stankonia,” 2002
Source: Best New Rap Group of the Year, OutKast, 1995