writes about André "André 3000" Benjamin's reunion with Antwan "Big Boi" Patton to celebrate Outkast's 20th anniversary as recording artists, plus Benjamin's role as Jimi Hendrix in the new film biography Jimi: All Is by My Side, written and directed by John Ridley, who won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay earlier this year, for 12 Years a Slave. A couple of points stand out in Caramanica's article:
I would argue that P.M. Dawn were far more ahead of their time than André 3000 in that department. By their third album, Jesus Wept (1995), frontman Prince Be had abandoned rapping altogether in favor of singing, but even on their 1991 debut, Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience, Be sang for the duration of the tracks "On a Clear Day" and "In the Presence of Mirrors":
In a possible nod to the duo's influence, rapper Childish Gambino, a.k.a. actor-comedian Donald Glover, covered P.M. Dawn's 1992 hit "I'd Die Without You" earlier this year for BBC Radio 1Xtra:
Here's another point of Caramanica's I disagree with:
His forays into fashion (Benjamin Bixby) and animated television (“Class of 3000”) would have made far more sense — and had a far bigger impact — a couple years down the line. In many ways, André 3000 anticipated the sound and shape of modern hip-hop ambition.
I don't care to argue his point about fashion, though I'm pretty sure Sean "Puff Daddy"/"P. Diddy" Combs's Sean John line of clothing came before André 3000's, but does Caramanica not remember Kid 'n Play's Saturday-morning cartoon on NBC in the fall of 1990?
Or MC Hammer's on ABC the following year?
Hey, nobody said pioneering had to lead anywhere good. Just ask the Donner Party.