Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

  • Record Label: La Face
  • Release Date: Sep 23, 2003

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Apr 17, 2012
    OutKast's duo have made a cohesive statement that not only cries at the boundaries of rap music but vaults over them to a place where the music sounds like neon colors and the only rule is that you must free your mind. Your ears will follow.
  2. 100
    Their records sound very different, but they're both astounding.
  3. What's lost is considerable: namely, the justly vaunted lyrical chemistry between Andre 3000 and Big Boi. But what's gained is even more remarkable: the powerful, singular, undiluted visions of two of rap's most fearless sonic explorers.
  4. Entertainment Weekly
    [The album's] ambition flies so far beyond that of anyone doing rap right now (or pop, or rock, or R&B), awards shows may need to create a special category for it. [19 Sep 2003, p.83]
  5. Both albums are sublime. Taken together they're hip-hop's Sign o' the Times or The White Album: a career-defining masterpiece of breathtaking ambition.
  6. No one musical entity, or group in the world comes close to the sum of their parts.
  7. Blender
    This 'boxxx holds an explosion of creativity that couldn't have been contained in just one LP. [Nov 2003, p.118]
  8. You could of course, if you like, rip the best tracks from each album and burn them together into some kind of RIAA-baiting SuperLoveBoxxx CDR that creams all opposition with its x-ray vision, amazing strength and ability to leap multiple genres in a single bound, but that would be missing the point.
  9. Double the pleasure, double the fun? Definitely, definitely.
  10. No "Ms. Jackson," no "Rosa Parks," no "Bombs Over Baghdad," no "The Whole World" either. Just commercial ebullience, creative confidence, and wretched excess, blessed excess, impressive excess.
  11. Mojo
    The genius of past Outkast isn't diluted or diminished across these disks, rather it's doubled, expanded and explored. [Sep 2003, p.99]
  12. Imperfect and ambitious, sometimes startling and always smart.
  13. Both records are visionary, imaginative listens, providing some of the best music of 2003, regardless of genre.
  14. Where Dre twists Prince remnants to his own astroboyish amorous ends, Big Boi holds up OutKast's P-Funk revival tent.
  15. If you can name me just one rapper that made a more complete record in 2003 than either of these two Southern boys' efforts, I’ll call you a liar.
  16. Flaws aside, Speakerboxxx more than lives up to its billing.... The Love Below, however, is a revelation.
  17. Speakerboxxx--by itself the album of the year--makes the failings of The Love Below all the more evident.
  18. The discs are dense, musically diverse, sometimes phenomenal, sometimes foolish and long-winded, elegiac and uneven. It's a singularly interesting failure -- a noble miss along the lines of Radiohead's last three albums and Steve Earle's Jerusalem.
  19. Combining the two discs might have insured an unbeatable follow-up; however, the flawed, fascinating separation reveals what makes this partnership so special.
  20. Big Boi's Speakerboxxx coolly upstages its counterpart: though it, too, provides the world with one earthshaking single, it differs from The Love Below in that it also manages to maintain consistent brilliance and emotional complexity throughout.
  21. Uncut
    The Love Below... comprises the most sublime pop music heard on record this year. [Dec 2003, p.118]
  22. Q Magazine
    Speakerboxxx takes up where Stankonia left off.... The Love Below isn't really hip hop at all. Its sound and lyrics owe a huge debt to, inevitably, George Clinton. [Sep 2003, p.97]
  23. Two Technicolor explosions of creativity that people will be exploring, analysing and partying to for years.
  24. [Speakerboxxx:] A worthy addition to the impressive OutKast catalogue.... [The Love Below:] Unfortunately, Attention Deficit Disorder just isn't a workable substitute for craft, nor is a preoccupation with sex quite the same as art.
  25. It's like Lennon and McCartney solo albums: plenty of solid tunes, but the pen held together is mightier than a solo sword.
  26. Each of these albums is as noteworthy for what's missing as for what's there.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 299 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 11 out of 179
  1. MalikM.
    Jul 15, 2007
  2. rickr
    Oct 16, 2003
    holy what? this cd is too funky-fresh to exist. i dont believe its real....i wanna concieve my first child to this album.
  3. Jan 4, 2013
    This is not one album by Outkast, rather, it's two solo albums sold together as a group album. One is by Big Boi and the other is by AndreThis is not one album by Outkast, rather, it's two solo albums sold together as a group album. One is by Big Boi and the other is by Andre 3000. Unfortunately for Big Boi, 3000's record is so compelling and overwhelming that no one has time for Big Boi's album. 3000 clearly stands out, releasing an album the completely moves beyond the boundaries of hip-hop into Prince-esque territory, combining jazz, funk, soul, pseudo-rock and hip hop into one fascinating album that has left fans thirsty for a new solo album from 3000 since 2003. Overall, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is another astounding Outkast album, yet one could say it started the divide that has left Outkast on a hiatus ever since their mediocre followup record Idlewild was released. Full Review »