Style Evolution: André 3000
When it comes to hip-hop outfits, OutKast is in a league of its own. Since the Atlanta duo's big 1994 debut Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, they have been churning out hit after hit, and outfit after outfit in tow. Like any classic pair, one leg can't stand without the other. Big Boi brought his sense of soul, and a willingness to speak his mind on major issues that made OutKast what they were. André 3000, though, brought the flavor.
Like his music, André Lauren Benjamin, AKA André 3000's personal style draws from an infinite range of inspiration. He takes bold risks, and is highly influenced by his southern background. From the six studio albums he put out with OutKast, to his production and features on major pop hits by Gwen Stefani and Beyoncé, to his lead role in Jimmy Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side, everything Benjamin does is done with finesse. In 2008, he even launched clothing line Benjamin Bixby, presenting a strong first collection inspired by football uniforms of the 1920's. 3 Stacks' look has transitioned from all-Atlanta-everything, to futuristic-ATLien-chic, to southern-gentleman-suave.
After a seven year hiatus, OutKast reunited this year to celebrate their 20th anniversary with over 40 musical festival performances on the books. They started out strong at Coachella, and took the stage with Drake and special guest Bun B at OVO Fest held in Toronto on August 3-4 this past weekend. In celebration of the resurgence of one of the greatest to ever do it in hip-hop, and André's killer new wig, we traced his style evolution.
Click through the list above to relive the good years, and get your tickets to see OutKast while you still can!
When André "3 Stacks" first stepped into the spotlight, his home town of Atlanta was his biggest love. He proudly made sure people knew it, you'd have a better shot at seeing a shooting star than Mr. Benjamin without an Atlanta Braves jersey during this phase.
The ATLiens era was the first glimpse of the wild and risky style of the André we came to know and love years after its release. It’s time to say goodbye sports jerseys, and hello to moon boots and knee high socks.
Football pads, vibrant prints and a plethora of hairstyles to match were just a few lively pieces added to André’s wardrobe in '98 when Aquemeni dropped. The video for "Rosa Parks," is a perfect artifact that crystallizes his late-'90s flair.
The beginning of the 21st century when Stankonia came out, André 3000 was at the height of his experimental style. He took risks to a whole new level. Whether it was hair dye, wigs, or muumuu dresses, his look was indefinable. Often rocking bandanas tied around his forehead, the early aughts did foreshadow his resemblance to Jimi Hendrix. He also might have been the first rapper to form a serious bond with rainbow-colored knitwear. Remember his scarf in the epic "Ms. Jackson," music video? Get a refresher above.
The Love Below (2003)
By the time The Love Below came out, hip-hop was transitioning into its heavy streetwear era with brands like Supreme and Bape taking lead. André “Ice Cold” 3000’s style started to change from the futuristic influence he rocked during the ATLien years, to a more refined, preppy look. He started wearing cardigans, letterman jackets, bow ties, and Chucks. This is where we saw the DNA of his Benjamin Bixby clothing line first present itself, and that style stuck around for a while. If you aren't responsible for one of the 68 million plays the "Hey Ya," video has racked up since its release, press play above and get familiar with the equestrian goodness. André 3000 play every instrument in the band.
By 2006, Benjamin booted his his futuristic-martian style out the door, turning to Ralph Lauren and the South in the '30s for style inspiration. The shift kept pace with the release of Idlewild, a musical set in a fictional Georgia town of the same name during the Great Depression that starred both OutKast members.
Benjamin Bixby (2008)
By 2008, André was recognized an established fashion icon. He figured out his own personal style and stuck to the things that worked best for him. His Benjamin Bixby line was on par with the premium menswear trend at the time, and drew on the southern gentleman blend that has always looked fresh on André. The line didn’t last long, but it served as an impressive glimpse at what the MC could offer the fashion world. In 2012 he told GQ Bixby could live to see another day. Benjamin probably has his hands full with the festival run he's been on, but here's hoping the relaunch comes to fruition soon.
All Is By My Side (2013)
It’s fascinating how similar André looks like the late Jimi Hendrix in the biopic All Is By My Side. From the afro, to the 19th century military jackets, to the overall swag of the famous rockstar, no one could have pulled it off quite like like André Benjamin. No matter what he looks like on stage, André is as captivating twenty years since OutKast's inception as he was when he first hit the scene.
July 17, 2014 via Pepsi