Big Boi's is the more conventional disc here, relying on dirty electro rhythms, tightly rhymed verses, and guest spots from the likes of Killer Mike and Jay-Z. Still, it's hardly rote. From the mariachi horn flourishes on "The Rooster" to the rave stabs on "Ghettomusick" to Big Boi posing as an anti-war gangster who attends PTA meetings, Speakerboxxx would easily stand on its own as one of the year's most astounding hip hop albums, as catchy as it is iconoclastic.
That it's one-upped by The Love Below is, in part, because the latter's hardly a rap record at all. A concept album based on André 3000's newfound domestic bliss, the record runs from big-band jazz on "Love Hater" to lilting R&B on "She Lives in My Lap" to, most unexpectedly, fuzzy psychedelic rock on the single "Hey Ya!" While Big Boi is channeling the Doobie Brothers, André's been digging into Coltrane, which might explain the cover of "My Favorite Things." He rhymes on a few tracks, but elsewhere André's gravelly growl and sexed-up falsetto take cues mainly from Prince, as do his restless, unconventional arrangements. In the end, though, The Love Below is far more than the sum of its parts; it's a luscious, loving ode to all that's sweet in the world. The same can be said for the package as a whole. For a trial separation, the recording process produced one remarkable pair of fraternal twins: They may not resemble each other, but both are so feisty, funny, and freaky that they could only have come from the same source.