It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for fans of OutKast’s Andre 3000. On Monday, the eccentric genius told MTV News that he plans to capitalize on his recent series of attention-grabbing guest verses with a full solo LP (awesome!). And last Tuesday, he released a solo effort of a different kind—a full-length soundtrack of kiddie ditties that he wrote and performed for his Cartoon Network show, Class of 3000 (not so awesome). It’s always cool to hear something new from Andre, but these two developments got me thinking about something old: Namely, “Millionaire,” the song he produced and appeared on for Kelis four years ago. Check out the video below, and click through for my take.
I’d been vaguely aware of the song for a while, but it took a randomiPod appearance a few weeks back for me to recognize it as thestone-cold classic that it is. Dre provides a deliciously blinkyelectro backdrop for his own soulful wailing and nimble rapping.(Critics often talk about how he all but stopped rhyming after Stankonia—I’mguilty of using that shorthand myself—but we shouldn’t forget that hewas spitting the occasional diamond-sharp rap verse even at the heightof his experimental space-pop phase.) And Kelis—a chronicallyunderrated singer, but that’s a post for another day—never gave abetter performance than her breathy vocals here. Trading coybattle-of-the-sexes lyrics, they make a positively charming pair.”Millionaire” is just about as free-wheeling, far-out, and funky asOutKast’s “Hey Ya!” or Kelis’ “Milkshake,” two songs from roughly thesame time period. So how come it never came close to matching thosetunes’ staggering successes? I’m not sure how to answer that question,except to point out that it was a decent-sized hit over in Europe—yet another point to the credit of that continent’s open-minded pop listeners.
Any ideas on why “Millionaire” didn’t make Kelis and Dre a mint,PopWatchers? Or am I the only one that can’t stop playing this song onrepeat?