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André 3000 is an American rapper, singer-songwriter and actor known for his work as part of the hip-hop duo OutKast.
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Born in 1975 in Atlanta, Georgia, André 3000 began performing in his teens with a friend as 2 Shades Deep. The pair got a record deal and changed their name to OutKast. Their first single, 1993's "Players' Ball," was a Christmas song, and it stayed at No. 1 on the rap charts for six weeks. By the end of the decade, OutKast was a known quantity, and their single "Hey Ya!" cemented the group's reputation. The song went on to be named one of Rolling Stone's top 500 songs of all time,
"You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can't predict the weather."
"I grab my tablet and get busy with the pen. Y'all could not be just like me if y'all was my twin."
and OutKast collected six Grammy Awards along the way. Soon after, Andre 3000 began acting, appearing in several movies and on television, while also writing music for both. His latest effort is portraying Jimi Hendrix in the 2013 biopic All Is by My Side.
Born André Lauren Benjamin in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 27, 1975, André 3000 grew up being called "Dre" by his mother, who raised him by herself and sold real estate. He grew up in East Point and Buckhead, Georgia, and attended Willis A. Sutton Middle School and Tri-Cities High School for the Performing Arts, where his artistic leanings were encouraged. While at Tri-Cities, he met Antwan Patton, and the two quickly became rivals on the school's rap scene. Just as quickly, though, the two realized that their shared love of music would bring them together, and they became lifelong friends.
When André began to rebel as a teenager, his mother sent him to live with his father, Lawrence Walker, but Walker couldn't, or didn't want to, curtail André's rebellious streak, and André dropped out of high school during his junior year (he would later earn his GED).
Like most teenagers, André spent a lot of his time hanging around malls, but he and Patton used these locales as performance spaces, forming a musical duo called 2 Shades Deep, and rapping for throngs at shopping centers and in parking lots.
They soon managed to get introduced to Organized Noize, an Atlanta production trio, and André and Patton began hanging out in the trio's studio with other Atlanta artists. Before long, their association with Organized Noize led to an audition with L.A. Reid, the co-founder of LaFace, an imprint of Arista Records. Reid was underwhelmed, so the duo went back to the studio and refined their sound, showing up on Reid's doorstep once again when they were ready.
This time, Reid offered them a contract, but both young men were still minors, and their parents wouldn't let them sign a contract, so they would have to wait a year to make it official.
The duo changed its name to OutKast and cut its first single, "Players' Ball," in 1993 for a compilation Christmas album. The song went gold and maintained the No. 1 spot on the rap charts for six weeks. In the spring of 1994, OutKast released its first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, which landed at No. 20 on the Billboard chart and at No. 2 on the American R&B chart. The duo's sound was labeled by some as being part of the new "Dirty South" hip-hop, but skimming through any of their albums reveals songs that are not easily categorized.
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