It’s one thing to attempt to do something different, it’s another thing to succeed wildly at it. From the moment I first heard “Hey Ya” I knew we were in for a roller coaster ride. Andre 3000 crooning’ and playing guitar? Crazy right? For the rest of his side of the album, Andre kept pushing further and further off the deep end, channeling Prince, Cameo and Rick James, and pursuing whatever inspiration that hit him at the moment. He did all of this while having a blast, rarely rapping but never losing his profound sense of rhythm. It was a complicated balancing act to say the least. But Andre threaded the needle brilliantly.
While Andre was emerging as the Golden Boy -- collecting glamorous friends, winning “best dressed awards” and generally staking his claim to the moniker of “coolest person on the planet” -- Big Boi was serving up his usual offering of top-shelf, dirty south crunk music. While he couldn’t outdo Andre, he certainly outdid himself. He doubled down on the stankiness on his way towards stringing together the most badass tracks of his career, none better than the lead single to contrast with “Hey Ya”, the seductive “The Way You Move”.
Everything about this 29 song, 102 minute opus was left of center, including the fact that the dynamic duo did not really collaborate very much. It was basically a collection of solo singles from two artists headed in two different directions. Conventional wisdom would flag that as a recipe for disaster, but the 11 million copies sold suggests otherwise.