Jul 9, 2007

Andre 3000 Drops a Solo album


Andre "3000" Benjamin — or "Been-Jammin' " — says all the momentum he's gained from guest appearances alongside the likes of UGK, DJ Unk and the Inc.'s Lloyd has spurred him to record his next LP. He's working on the project now and says his partner in Outkast is doing the same.

"Big Boi is working on a solo album right now. I'm working on a solo album as well because of all the remix work that's been coming out," Andre said — and added that he's contemplating teen Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girl" as his next remix to jump on. "After we do those solo albums, we're planning on doing another Outkast album. I don't know how long that's gonna be; it could be two years".

There's no definitive word yet whether the two solo efforts will be released separately or as a joint venture, like they did with 2003's Grammy-winning Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below, (see "Big Boi Promises 'Something From Every Genre, Every Funk' On Solo LP"), but Andre already has another record on the market. He just released the soundtrack to his Cartoon Network series "Class of 3000," featuring songs written for and used in the show. The songs are performed by Dre, who plays the lead role of Sunny Bridges — a successful musician who gives up stardom to teach — as well as other characters from the program.

Releasing a "Class of 3000" soundtrack "didn't take much thought at all," he explained of the recent release. "The kids come up to me in public and sing the songs to me and wonder how they can get the songs and buy them and play them with mom and dad. So we said, 'Let's package them up' and it'll be a series — a first season soundtrack, a second season soundtrack. ... I hope when kids turn 20 years old, they'll be able to remember these songs like how I remember 'Peanuts' and all them songs."

Dre is already planning for the next season of his show and he says the learning experience of making a cartoon was a pleasant surprise.

"You're [recording dialogue] across from somebody that's 34 years old, and they're acting a fool. Acting like kid," he said about doing voiceovers for the show. "I had to catch up with them."

"I'm super happy," he added. "I been doing music for 13 years, but this is totally new for me. It's almost like I'm an underdog. I didn't know anything about animation. My partner didn't know anything about animation. We were going on our instincts. ... We didn't know what we couldn't do, so we tried everything. Thank goodness we're with Cartoon Network and they let us try everything."

Dre says he also had a lot of freedom while filming the comedy "Semi-Pro" with Ricky Bobby himself, Will Ferrell.

"It takes place in 1970s," he explained. "I play like this Dr. J type character. We're an ABA team. We're trying to make it to be a NBA team. It's hilarious."

Dre's name in the movie is Clarence Coffee Black, while Ferrell plays the team's owner Jackie Moon.

"He's a nut, but honestly when you're on set, he's a normal cool guy," Benjamin said of his co-star. "When we get into doing the scene, you're kinda in it, so you're not laughing at him, but when they yell, 'Cut,' oh, he's going for it! You laugh. A lot of the things people love about him, he makes them up. We have a script, but we usually go off script and naturally go at it. We do a few takes, but a lot of that they keep, 'cause it's naturally funny."

Andre revealed that he would love to show his more serious side in a biopic. His name has been attached to the big-screen life stories of Sammy Davis Jr. as well as Jimi Hendrix (see "Outkast's Andre 3000 Has Been Doing His Hendrix Homework"), but he says it's just Tinseltown chatter as of now.

"It's been talked about. I'd love to do it," he said of the Davis film. "But Hollywood, I tell you ... it's been talk about Jimi Hendrix, Sammy Davis — until there's a script and I'm on the set and shooting, you can never say. But I'd love to. I'm around."

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