Speakerboxxx/The Love Below – 2003

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is the fifth studio album by American hip hop duo OutKast. It was released on September 23, 2003, by LaFace Records. Issued as a double album, its playtime of more than two hours is distributed over solo albums from each of the group’s members. Big Boi’s Speakerboxxx is a Southern hip hop album with a P-Funk influence, while André 3000’s The Love Below features psychedelic, pop, funk, electro, and jazz styles.

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below received widespread acclaim from music critics, who praised the consistency of Big Boi’s Speakerboxxx and the eclectic musical style of André 3000’s The Love Below. The album was supported with the hit singles “Hey Ya!” and “The Way You Move”, which both reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, and the top five hit “Roses”. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below has been certified diamond and 11 times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipping more than 11 million units (in this case, 5.5 million double album sets, which are double-counted by the RIAA).

Following the release of OutKast’s fourth studio album Stankonia (2000), André 3000 felt urged to do something different from his previous projects and moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. He was relatively unsuccessful, obtaining a minor role in Hollywood Homicide (2003) and a one-episode appearance in the drama series The Shield. He quickly returned to music and began recording a solo album that was very different from the material he had recorded as part of OutKast. The output was a blend of pop, jazz and funk with live instruments and singing instead of rapping. When writing songs he used a micro cassette recorder in order to “record melodic ideas and lyrics, then build the melody around the lyrics”.

The CD artwork is designed so that the Speakerboxxx artwork is on the front of the case, whereas the Love Below artwork is on the back of the case. These images are merged on the artwork displayed on online stores (Front cover on left, back cover on right).

The recording of The Love Below began at André 3000’s Los Angeles home, which was unconventional for the time, but he was enabled to do so by the recent release of Pro Tools software. As a frequent collector of music equipment, André 3000 had a lot of equipment at his disposal, including a drum machine, keyboards and various synthesizers. He also enjoyed the atmosphere of recording at home instead of a studio, saying to XXL, “it didn’t start in the studio because if you have a bunch of people around, they’re coming from the party and I’m in there singing falsetto … those vibes didn’t match.” His initial sessions were hampered by his inexperience with Pro Tools and, unaware how to edit his recordings, he opted to record songs such as “Pink & Blue” in their entirety. Other gear used included an Avalon VT737 SP and AD2055 EQ and AD2044 compressors for his vocals. After creating five songs, he informed Big Boi of the solo project he had been working on.

Big Boi had already recorded some songs when André 3000 had contacted him, but after their conversation he decided his next project would be Speakerboxxx. Describing his approach in the studio, Big Boi later commented to XXL, “the idea was just to keep it funky, keep it jamming, it’s always bass-heavy. And lyricism, it’s all about lyrics, taking pride in your pen and your pad.” His favorite song to record was “Unhappy”. He spent several days working on “Unhappy”‘s hook before driving to his mother’s home and playing the song in her driveway, to which she responded enthusiastically. At some point in the recording, the project moved to OutKast’s Stankonia Studios in downtown Atlanta, which had been used to record OutKast’s previous release and namesake. John Frye, the studio manager and an engineer, would later recognise that much of the media attention surrounding the album’s recording was concerned with André 3000 and Big Boi’s working relationship and why they had chosen to record separately. He concedes that both enjoyed working solo and were doing so more frequently, but they continued to share and critique each other’s music.

John Frye also describes how the format of the projects changed rapidly. Initially intended as two separate solo releases, they decided to merge their work and create a soundtrack album as André 3000 had initially intended. The duo then began preparing to work on a motion picture, but reconsidered and compromised by interpolating background noise into songs, such as the slamming of car doors and footsteps. They eventually settled on releasing a double album. Frye noted the end of the recording sessions as particularly stressful for André 3000, who he described as drained from working at four studios simultaneously. In total, an estimated 120 songs were recorded for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

Track listing


No. Title Writer(s) Length

1. “Intro” (produced by Cutmaster Swift) 1:29
2. “Ghetto Musick” (produced by and featuring André 3000)
Antwan Patton Bunny Sigler Kenny Gamble André Benjamin
3. “Unhappy” (produced by Mr. DJ)
Patton David Sheats
4. “Bowtie” (featuring Sleepy Brown and Jazze Pha; produced by Big Boi)
Patton Phalon Alexander Patrick Brown
5. “The Way You Move” (featuring Sleepy Brown; produced by Carl Mo & Big Boi)
Patton Carlton “Carl Mo” Mahone Brown
6. “The Rooster” (produced by Carl Mo & Big Boi)
Patton Mahone Donnie Mathis
7. “Bust” (featuring Killer Mike; produced by Big Boi)
Patton Myrna Crenshaw Michael Render
8. “War” (produced by Mr. DJ)
Benjamin Patton Sheats
9. “Church” (produced by André 3000)
Patton Kevin Kendrick Benjamin Crenshaw Brown
10. “Bamboo” (Interlude) 2:09
11. “Tomb of the Boom” (featuring Konkrete, Big Gipp and Ludacris; produced by Big Boi)
Patton Cameron Gipp Chris Bridges Nathaniel Elder Cory Andrews James Patton
12. “E-Mac” (Interlude) 0:24
13. “Knowing” (featuring André 3000; produced by Mr. DJ)
Patton Benjamin
14. “Flip Flop Rock” (featuring Killer Mike and Jay Z; produced by Big Boi, and Mr. DJ)
Patton Shawn Carter Render Sheats
15. “Interlude” 1:15
16. “Reset” (featuring Khujo and CeeLo Green; produced by Big Boi)
Patton Thomas Callaway Willie Knighton
17. “D-Boi” (Interlude) 0:40
18. “Last Call” (featuring Slimm Calhoun, Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz and Mello; produced by André 3000)
Patton Benjamin James Hollins Brian Loving
19. “Bowtie” (Postlude)
Patton Alexander Brown

All tracks on The Love Below were produced solely by André 3000 except “Roses”, which was co-produced by Dojo5.

The Love Below

No. Title Writer(s) Length

1. “The Love Below” (Intro) Benjamin 1:27
2. “Love Hater”
Benjamin Kendrick
3. “God” (Interlude) Benjamin 2:20
4. “Happy Valentine’s Day” Benjamin 5:23
5. “Spread” Benjamin 3:51
6. “Where Are My Panties?” 1:54
7. “Prototype” Benjamin 5:26
8. “She Lives in My Lap” (featuring Rosario Dawson[25])
Benjamin Willie Dennis Isaac Hayes Roger Troutman Doug King Brad Jordan Eric Vidal Nick Vidal Dino Hawkins
9. “Hey Ya!”
10. “Roses”
Benjamin Patton Matt Boykin
11. “Good Day, Good Sir” 1:24
12. “Behold a Lady” Benjamin 4:37
13. “Pink & Blue”
Benjamin Robert Kelly
14. “Love in War” Benjamin 3:25
15. “She’s Alive”
Benjamin Kendrick
16. “Dracula’s Wedding” (featuring Kelis) Benjamin 2:32
17. “My Favorite Things”
Richard Rodgers Oscar Hammerstein II
18. “Take Off Your Cool” (featuring Norah Jones)
19. “Vibrate”
20. “A Life in the Day of Benjamin André (Incomplete)”


In 2003, the album was reissued, with “The Love Below” having a revised track listing. A 21-second skit was placed before “My Favorite Things”, entitled “The Letter”. To make room, the radio excerpt from “A Life in the Day of Benjamin André” was excised, shortening the track to 4:50. This revised album now serves as the version for sale on MP3.