"Crocodile on my feet; Fox fur on my back; Bowtie around my neck, that's why they call me the gangsta mack in the cadillac"
Big Boi's chorus on Bowtie exemplifies Speakerboxxx. It's that real cool, laid back, southern funk that Outkast do like no one else. The Love Below is another thing entirely. Taking notes from jazz, electro, rock... you name it. Andre 3000 has fused it all together to come up with something really off the wall. While Speakerboxxx is definitely the more accessible to the average hip hop fan, The Love Below is the one half which has been gaining most of the plaudits. It's definitely the more difficult listen, but is all the more rewarding for it. You'll have heard the lead single, Hey Ya, all over the airwaves by now, and this is as mainstream as Andre allows things get.
Speakerboxxx and The Love Below could stand on their own as superb solo albums, but as a whole, they are spectacular. Hip Hop has always been about innovation, but there are few big name rappers about right now that are willing to do that for fear of losing their listeners.
Outkast, however, have come up with the most innovative mainstream album in years. The success Outkast are having just shows how much listeners are appreciating a group willing to spend the time to make something truly exceptional.
For my money, this is the album of the year in any genre. If you don't have it, get it.