One half of the legendary Atlanta rap duo, Outkast, and an innovator in the Hip Hop community, André Benjamin, celebrates another year of life. The artist, also known as André 3000, keeps his life pretty private, with the exception of his newfound talent playing his Mayan double flute. The legendary talent has been spotted in a number of places from the airport to a random subway in New York playing his instrument. Mr. 3 Stacks has never been afraid to try something new in his music, style or way of living.
The mysterious May Gemini is nearing 50 years old and appears to be aging like fine wine. André began his career as a teenager with his duo-mate Big Boi in 1992, and the talented act has gone onto write and produce his solo music, star in films and create his own cartoon. With age, he still manages to have a level of mystique to his personal life. Though most of his fans know the surface details about André’s life, all of which he chooses to share, there are a few little known facts about the rapper fans may not know.
To celebrate his 46th birthday, take a moment to learn something new with these 10 facts about the legendary star André Lauren Benjamin:
1. Jay Z isn’t the only Hip Hop artist to turn down a Super Bowl performance. In 2004, Outkast decided not to perform because André didn’t want to perform shorter versions of their songs. He asked that they be granted time to perform their full songs or there would be performance at all. Big Boi attempted to convince André otherwise, but he was not going for it. Instead, the Super Bowl was handed one of the biggest moments in pop culture when Justin Timberlake exposed Janet Jackson.
2. A lot of the art found many Outkast CDs were painted by André himself. He was even known to sell prints of his art pieces on their website during that time.
3. André took a moment to acknowledge one of his favorite artists, Prince, who was backstage during Outkast’s Coachella reunion performance. A little known fact is that when André was a child, he smashed a copy of Prince’s When Doves Cry because the b-side “God“ scared him.
4. André, Ceelo Green and Sleepy Brown of The Dungeon Family intended on forming a sub-group called Pimp Trick Gangsta Clique. They made mention of the parody group in many of their skits on their past projects.
5. Prior to the release of ATLiens, he stopped smoking, drinking, went vegan and became celibate for a bit. Contrary to popular belief and Big Boi’s public love for cannabis, André taught Big Boi how to roll his first blunt.
6. André believes Big Boi is a better rapper than himself. He mentioned in an interview that Big Boi displayed confidence that he didn’t have early on.
7. He dated Keisha Spivey from the group Total. She is one of the two women who broke his heart and the motivation behind him going celibate for an entire year.
8. In 2008, he released his own clothing line under Benjamin Bixby, which was a very different style of clothing during that time when most people were still wearing oversized clothing and streetwear. Unfortunately, the line didn’t do well and André subsequently lost millions.
9. The Love Below technically became his first solo album though it was released in tandem with Big Boi’s Speakerboxxx. André also had a vision for his solo album to be paired with its’ own film. Though many of the songs were featured in the film Idlewild, fans can only imagine what The Love Below would have looked like onscreen.
10. André is not the only talented person in his family. His brother Greg Hawkins is the talented artist responsible for creating the cover for Aquemini. On that same album, his stepfather performed a harmonica solo on Outkast’s hit single “Rosa Parks.”
The more you know! Happy Birthday, 3 Stacks!