Whatever Happened To Outkast?

The charts had never seen a hip hop duo with a diverse musical style the like of Outkast when they blasted onto the scene in the mid-'90s. The group out of Atlanta, Georgia, made some serious noise with the release of Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik in 1994. Outkast would release another five albums afterward, propelling them into even greater fame. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below went triple-platinum. That kind of fame.

Their music drew in fans from other genres as well. The turn of the millennium saw rockers digging into "Hey Ya" and "Ms. Jackson." Everyone across the country was getting down to Outkast until — poof – they were gone in 2006, breaking up, seemingly out of nowhere. It seems like a pretty odd thing to do for a music group with 16 Grammy nominations and 6 wins. But it's not like André 3000 and Big Boi fell off the face of the planet. They just had other things to do.

Big Boi became a solo artist

Since the members of Outkast went their separate ways in 2006, Big Boi (Antwan Patton) hasn't exactly been sitting on the couch. While raising three kids, Big Boi has managed to carve out the time to build up his own solo career. His first album, Sir Lucious Left Foot ... the Return of Chico Dusty, dropped in 2010 and has been described as a reemergence of an older hip hop style. You'd think that might drive away younger fans of the genre, but Big Boi's solo work has been doing pretty well. To date, Big Boi has released three studio albums, most recently Boomiverse in 2017. The artist's first album hit No. 3 on Billboard's "Hot 100," and the next two reached No. 34 and No. 13 respectively. It shows that Big Boi has what he needs to make his own music while André 3000 is off doing his own stuff.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Big Boi bought a little basement recording studio in Atlanta known as Dungeon 2019. This is the place where both Big Boi and André 3000 got their start. No one seems quite sure what the artist plans for the space — he might be producing out of it or recording his own material. Regardless, it's clear that Big Boi is still out there, working his socks off.

Is Andre 3000 going to drop a solo album too?

With Big Boi branching out on his own, is André 3000 (born André Benjamin) going to drop his own solo album anytime soon? The musician certainly proved he has the talent for it. Just look at what he and Big Boi did with Outkast. Unfortunately, an André 3000 solo production will probably never happen, and the constant bombardment of the question has put Benjamin in a pretty awful head space.

"I haven't been making much music, man. My focus is not there. My confidence is not there," Benjamin tells Broken Record podcast (found via Rolling Stone) in 2019. The artist says he still plays, but he doesn't have any motivation to take on another serious music project anytime soon. In a way, Benjamin views Outkast as a sort of chain holding him back — "handicapping" him, as he puts it. The group's six albums were a big deal, and it's not a feat that an André 3000 solo career could necessarily match.

The way music is pulled apart over the internet doesn't help. The fear of having his music ripped to pieces and analyzed surely causes Benjamin some anxiety. "Any little thing I put out, it's instantly attacked, not in a good or bad way. People nitpick it with a fine-tooth comb," he admits. Plus, a solo career would take time that Benjamin might not have.

Andre is still pretty busy

By the time Outkast split up in 2006, André Benjamin had already worked his way into a new career as an actor, and he's definitely no slob at it. After a smallish part as Silk Brown in 2003's Hollywood Homicide, Benjamin was given a decent break as Dabu in 2005's Be Cool alongside John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, and several other big names. But it would actually be a different 2005 film that cemented the former Outkast musician as an actor.

Benjamin found himself in a starring role alongside Mark Wahlburg, Tyrese Gibson (Fast & Furious franchise), and Garrett Hedlund in the film Four Brothers. The movie's plot revolves around four adopted brothers as they try to take down their mother's murderer. The film proved that Benjamin could hit a depth of drama that many would not have expected.

André Benjamin hit the acting world running. By 2006, he had his own cartoon on Cartoon Network. By 2016, he was Michael LaCroix on American Crime. In 2000, he became Fredwynn in AMC's mystery series Dispatches from Elsewhere. Who knows what this musician-turned-actor will do next? All we can say is André Benjamin continues to make his mark on the world since Outkast fell off the map.