André 3000 is a rapper, singer, and actor. He was born as André Lauren Benjamin on May 27, 1975 in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended Tri-Cities High School for the Performing Arts where he met Antwan Patton and began rapping. André eventually went through a rebellious streak, causing him to drop out of high school during his junior year and later earning his GED.
As a teenager, he formed the group 2 Shades Deep with Patton and began performing in shopping centers and parking lots. Through their affiliation with Atlanta based production trio Organized Noize, the pair were able to get an audition with LaFace co-founder L.A. Reid. Despite initially being turned down for a contract with the label, the two honed their skills and came back a second time to land a contract offer.
The two changed their name to OutKast and produced their first single “Players’ Ball.” The song hit the No. 1 spot on the rap charts and stayed their for six weeks, going gold in the process. The groups first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, hit No. 20 on the Billboard chart.
They went on to release four more albums as a group, winning multiple awards. In 2002, they won Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group for “Ms. Jackson.” They also won Best Rap Album for Stankonia the same year. In 2004, they won Album of the Year for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
In 2003, André began acting and appeared in the film Hollywood Homicide. He went on to appear in several more films and television shows including Soul Food, Any Given Sunday, 8 Mile, and Dancing with the Stars. He has been most noted for his 2013 role as Jimi Hendrix in All Is by My Side.
The following video is an interview aired by Black Tree on TV where André 3000 discusses whether or not hip-hop has lost its essence and if he will resume rapping after spending so much time focused on his acting career.