Since then, we’ve been blessed with the lyrical and vocal tyrants’ guest verses; however, a follow-up album has never surfaced or directly been confirmed by 3 Stacks.
‘The Love Below’ was a defining move for André as a solo artist. The songs play out like a dystopian, coming of age, comic book love story. While not only keeping the essential elements that make him one of the most intriguing, sonically satisfying and lyrically outstanding artists of our time, he also experiments with his production skills as well on the album. The main attraction of the album though is the beautiful organisation of the tracklist, a concept album that uses greek mythology, romance, monogamy, heartbreak and the troubling rise to success that eventually would force him to steer away from the spotlight that we all want André in.
From the very beginning, he uses cinematic skits, such as the “Intro” and “God – Interlude” to set the mood of the album. There are Pop-like guitar melodies on the groovy “Happy Valentine’s Day” but in comparison to the following track, “Spread“, it’s evident that André can lay his swag on any track. For the majority of the first verse (“Spread”), he has his voice pitched up to be a connotation of his partner at that period of his life; yet, he is only interested in this partner “spreading your legs for me”. P.s., the piano solo along with the saxophone is enough to make you want to just sit down with a large glass of white wine, a cheeseboard and appreciate the genius of André.
One of André’s best solo cuts to date on the album and one of the most heartbreaking moments on the album is “Prototype“. Not only is it supported by minimalistic guitar chords nostalgic to that of Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain but more so the depressing lyrics that accompany it. André details what him and his partner, at this point in the concept, want from each other physically, emotionally and mentally. This is a tune that needs to be included on everyone’s ‘I’m Chilled Out but I Need to Cry Playlist‘.
Obviously, the more commercial tracks that appear on the album, “Hey Ya” and “Roses“, the latter featuring his Outkast partner, Big Boi, are highlights. Yes, on “Hey Ya” André displays his ability as a singer as well as a rapper. However, “Roses” is a more enjoyable and a bit out of André’s typical calmness. While it does sound like a positive and upbeat track, 3000’s lyrics are mean, distasteful, but still appreciable from a lyrical observation.
The real highlight of the album is the final track; “A Life in the Day of Benjamin André (Incomplete)“. André uses extreme intellectual bars on this track detailing the comeuppance of his role in today’s Hip-Hop society, how he met Erykah “On & On” Badu, as well as the stresses of living a celebrity lifestyle.
This is one of my favourite Hip-Hop albums. Unfortunately, I didn’t give it the time of day until five years ago, but since then, there hasn’t been a moment that I don’t look past this album and the overwhelming greatness that is Benjamin ‘3 Stacks’ André.