It has been almost five years since we’ve seen a performance from southern hip-hop royalty Outkast, and even longer — almost 20 years if we’re counting — since we’ve been blessed with an album. But thankfully, we haven’t seen the last of Big Boi and André 3000, the latter of who has been spotted serenading cities across the U.S. with his flute and setting the internet ablaze.
Of course, before 3 Stacks became a viral sensation on Twitter, he was one half of the Atlanta-bred lyrical genius duo Outkast known for hits like “Elevators,” “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Ms. Jackson,” and everyone’s favorite “Hey Ya.” With his fashion-forward get ups and distinct sound, André 3000 helped put Atlanta on the map,as well as influenced countless artists ranging from Isaiah Rashad and Big K.R.I.T. to Raury and Tyler, the Creator.
But just as integral as Outkast is to his musical legacy, so are the many guest verses he’s offered throughout his career, some of which are considered his best in general. So, in honor of 3 Stacks, these are the top 12 best guest verses from André 3000.
I’m no nun, you’re no priest, but I promise, hun/ you gon’ see/ a phenomenon, come with me/ Like it’s Ramadan, I don’t eat/ Like it’s Comic Con, I’m a freak for you/ I’m begging you now, pretty please with a cherry on top
In 2019, the year of our lord and savior, we’re glad to see André 3000 has not left us yet. Taking a break from his flute-playing escapades, 3 Stacks appeared on the opening song of soul singer Anderson. Paak’s latest album Ventura. The lyricism 3000 shows in “Come Home” is a flex to say the least. With lines that change rhythm and get more technical and intricate as the song goes on, 3 Stacks’ latest guest verse deserves a place on this list among some of his more classic guest contributions.
Listening to Adele, I feel you baby/ Someone like you, more like someone unlike you/ Or something that’s familiar maybe/ And I can tell that she wants a baby/ And I can yell, girl, that you’re crazy/ Oh what the hell? Nope, can’t be lazy/ Please be careful: bitches got the rabies.
If Drake would have left André 3000 off of Take Care‘s “The Real Her” it would have been a mistake. With talks of romance over a moody sound and minimal base, we’re back in 3000’s territory alongside the Toronto rapper and his mentor Lil Wayne. Wayne spits a verse that’s a little abrupt for the song — but soon enters 3 Stacks. Past his party days, André 3000 spits lyrics from the vantage point of been there, done that, closing the song warning listeners of partying and empty sex.
So low that I am no rookie but feel like a kid/ Lookin’ at the other kids/ with astonishment while on punishment/ Watchin’ the summer come close to an end/ After 20 years in, I’m so naive I was under the im-/pression that everyone wrote their own verses.
A two-timer on Frank Ocean’s highly-anticipated album Blonde, André 3000 kicks off the reprise playfully before shifting gears to a more serious tone along within the beat. He isn’t a stranger to taking digs at other rappers. It’s part of the game. But this time, he’s got his aim on modern rappers and ghost rappers, finishing the reprise with this: “I’m hummin’ and whistlin’ to those not deserving. I’ve stumbled and lived every word. Was I working just way too hard?” Ghostwriting has long been debated among hip-hop heads and used as beef between rappers. André 3000 used “Solo (Reprise)” to let us know his thoughts.
If models are made for modelin’/ Thick girls are made for cuddlin’/ Switch worlds and we can huddle then/ Who needs another friend? I need to hold your hand/ You’d need no other man, we’d flee to other lands.
Frank Ocean and André 3000 — name a better duo. When Ocean dropped his debut studio album Channel Orange in 2012, it left the internet in shambles. The singer-songwriter teamed up with 3000 for “Pink Matter,” resulting in a perfect, mellow match. The song already has a sexy vibe to it but André makes it tangible. With quips like, “She had the kind of body that would probably intimidate any of them that were un-Southern. Not me, cousin,” André speaks for what we call the southern gentleman.
Let’s hop in a cab and split it/ I’m kidding, we both going to where you livin’/ Ha! I got you gigglin’ like a piglet/ Oh that’s the ticket, I hope you more like Anita Baker than Robin Givens/ No, I don’t know that lady so let me quit it/ I’m just style freein’, freestylin’, which I seldom do/ This is what I’m telling you/ To the bed I’m nailing you/ Like I been in jail for two/ years and then they let me loose.
“Green Light,” the second single from John Legend’s third studio album, Evolver, offered a sound different from what the musician had produced before. With upbeat electronic production, “Green Light” was unlike the more subdued, piano-driven hits — “Ordinary People” and “Save Room” — that preceded it. But it worked, ultimately becoming one of the best selling singles of his career. And it’s safe to say that André 3000’s verse contributed to this. He seamlessly matches the track’s energy with a playful guest verse and hook, playing out a club scene and laughing his way from a night out to the bedroom.
I seem to wanna talk more and more ‘bout what really matters/ I’ve seen my aura hop out my torso and hit her backwards/ Flip, watching you walk down my corridor, fuck a ballad/ Don’t need shit on the side no more, all entree, fuck a salad.
As if it wasn’t enough that soul legend Erykah Badu made an entire mixtape based off of one Drake song, she brought her baby daddy on for a feature — and he doesn’t disappoint. Appearing the psychedelic “Hello” from Badu’s But You Caint Use My Phone mixtape, André 3000 offers a poetic, ballad-like verse that carries the first half of the song with a grown up view of love. There’s almost a call and response between the two, giving us a glimpse into what could have been their relationship back in the mid-90s. The rapper buries his player ways in just one line: “Build-A-Bear, build them all, build it where it won’t fall. Give it all, give it my all.”
I’m the raw, off the rip, ‘cuz of him/ All of them, will remember the min/ nute they fell in love with rap/ black like having your cousin’s back/ blue like when that rent is due/ cream like when I’m loving you, yeah.
When you work with an artist like Queen Bey you know you have to come correct. And André does just that. He goes from coolly acknowledging his GOAT status (“Kiddo say he looks up to me, this just makes me feel old”) to offering a grown and sexy verse that goes well with the track’s feel good vibe. Sure, the remix that features J. Cole might be a more playful and fitting contribution when compared to André’s. But there’s no denying that the Outkast rapper briefly stole the show from Beyoncé with a verse on a pop song that is worth multiple revisits. Even his last line of the verse is proof of this.
Baby, I’m hell. Save me, don’t bail/ Crazy I tell you all of this in the middle of a club/ Where words tend to get thrown around lightly like like like “love”/ “Friend,” “rock star” and “so and so’s a genius”/ So him vow to never utter him do unless him mean it/ Her proud like her mother and oooohh momma’s sweet/ So you just know that juicy fruit ain’t gon’ fall too far from tree.
Yes, another song about holy matrimony. André 3000 is an expert when it comes relationships and let’s it be known. He comes with a slew of metaphors up his sleeve, including an interesting rhyme scheme using him and hymn as a double entendre when he says, “So him vow to never utter him do unless him mean it.” See what he did there? Jay Z — who is also featured on the track — absolute eats his verse. But André leaves his plate spotless.
I don’t budge, don’t want much, just a roof and a porch/ And a Porsche and a horse and unfortunately but of course/ an assortment of torches that scorches the skin/ When they enter, intruders whose tudors did/ a lousy job/ How’s he God if he lets Lucifer loose on us?
“Sixteen” is a Rick Ross joint. But with 3 Stacks on the hook, interlude and second verse, it could be easy to forget that it’s actually his. The collaboration with the Miami rapper came almost a decade after the last Outkast album. So, it was basically guaranteed that a guest verse by André 3000 would be memorable. Over a silky saxophone beat, the rapper takes us through his stream of consciousness, using legendary triple entendres that serve as a reminder of his lyrical prowess.
You might be the dope, but I would flush it down the toilet/ Like the boys in blue when they come through with them boots/ And they kickin’ down the do’ and they don’t care who they shoot/ But we do care who they shoot, so we do what we must do/ So we act like we run track, then we run straight to the back/ But they comin’ from the back, so we run back to the front/ They say get down on your knees, we say what the fuck you want.
Rich Boy may never have produced a classic album, but there’s no denying he and Polow Da Don had a major hit in 2007 with “Throw some D’s.” Much like UNK’s “Walk It Out,” the song made waves across the South and eventually caught the attention of big names like Jim Jones, Nelly and, of course, André 3000. What started as a four and a half minute song quickly became a nearly 6 minute song, 3 Stacks leading the way and letting listeners know he’s woke, but nothing to be played with. Spitting lyrics like “Yeah, your partner got away but now he vegetable-like. So I sent his mom and dad a whole case of V8,” the Atlanta-bred rapper bares his teeth just enough to let you know what’s up.
Walk it out like a usher/ If you say real talk, I probably won’t trust ya/ If you want to go to war, the gun’s, my pleasure/ Even Jesus had twelve disciples on lever, trigger, whatever/ Pyong/ You don’t want nan day of three thou/ I’m like jury duty/ You’re new to this part of town/ Your white tee, well to me, looks like a nite gown/ Make your mama proud and take that thing two sizes down.
Another Outkast feature, but hear me out. This was Atlanta’s party anthem, sending waves from Georgia State to Georgia Southern. Originally produced by fellow ATLien Unk, “Walk It Out” dropped in 2006 alongside a wave of viral dance hits like Soulja Boy’s “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” “Teach Me How to Dougie” by Cali Swag District, GS Boyz’s “Stanky Leg” and a slew of others. The song managed to level up by bringing in hip-hop heavy hitters Jim Jones, Big Boi and André 3000. Similar to “Int’l Players Anthem,” 3000 leads the remix and this time he’s throwing his weight around. Taking shots at the popular tall tee and baggy pants style, the rapper points aim at some of the very artists on the track with him.
So I typed a text to a girl I used to see/ Sayin’ that I chose this cutie pie with whom I wanna be/ And I apologize if this message gets you down/ Then I CC’ed every girl that I’d see-see ’round town/ And hate to see y’all frown, but I’d rather see her smilin’/ Wetness all around me, true, but I’m no island/ Peninsula maybe/ It makes no sense, I know crazy.
Technically this counts as an Outkast feature, but André’s verse is what makes the collab with UGK a forever jam. Right from the jump, 3000 cuts the bass and intros the song acapella over a sample of Willie Hutch’s “I Choose You,” spitting verses that compare holy matrimony with rocket launching into space. But it turns out that not everyone was impressed with the way 3 Stacks decided to do things, particularly the late Pimp C. According to Jeff Sledge, who worked as an A&R at Jive Records in the 2000s, the UGK founding member was mad that 3 Stacks had taken the drums out of the song for his verse.
“I was like, ‘Chad, hold up fam. Let’s rock it like that because when André’s doing a capella and then when the beat drops, that’s when your verse drops. And then you, your verse is gonna lift the record up because now the beat is rocking and your verse is kicking,” Sledge recalled telling Pimp C in an interview on the ItstheReal’s A Waste of Time podcast. “And he’s like ‘Alright, Jeff. I’m gonna give it a shot. If it fucks up, it’s on you.'” Now, 3 Stacks’ “Int’l Players Anthem” verse is considered one of — if not his best — guest verses of all time.
Kimeko McCoy is a Brooklyn-based writer and social media strategist that has written for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Adweek and the St. Augustine Record.
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