Legendary record executive and producer Antonio Marquis ‘L.A.’ Reid was on Questlove‘s Supreme Podcast late last year. While on, he discussed various topics including his rise to fame, founding LaFace Records and TLC. He also shared an unbelievable story about Outkast‘s highest-selling album ever, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
Reid framed the story by saying Big Boi was going to drop a solo album. The album was done and they felt confident that they had a big single with ‘The Way You Move.’ As the date that the album was supposed to be released loomed, L.A. Reid got a call from none other than Andre 3000. Benjamin (who wasn’t working with Big Boi at the time) asked “When are you dropping Big Boi’s album?” Reid gave him the date. 3K asked a follow up question, “If I wanted to drop an album with that, how much time do I have?” Reid says he responded and said “Three weeks.” After he let out a big sigh, Andre said “Okay.”
Big Boi had gone solo, finished a photo shoot, picked a single and put a release date on the calendar. It was unclear to Reid how much Andre had already recorded since he hadn’t said anything about it. In fact, if not for Andre calling Reid, there wouldn’t have been any indication that he wanted to make an album. Reid recalls that on the night that they had to turn the album in so they could manufacture, Andre had studios going everywhere. Reid says that 3K had an ensemble of studios in motion to make the deadline. Once Andre finished, he let Reid listen to what he had been cooking up. Reid heard ‘Hey Ya’ and was amazed. Reid notes that he was most blown away by the fact that he finished it in the time that he did. You can listen to L.A. Reid tell the story below.
It’s a good thing thing that Andre 3000 made that call. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below went on to become the group’s first number one, selling more than 510,000 copies in its first week. The album has been certified diamond and 11 times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping more than 11 million units. What’s your favorite song on Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below? Where does this album rank amongst Outkast’s discography? Slide in the comments and let us know your thoughts!