The Outkast star reclaims the streets with a series of hot cameos

By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated April 13, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

A surprising guest MC has been turning up on one new track after another: OutKast’s André 3000. André seemed to have lost interest in rap on ‘Kast’s last two albums (2006’s Idlewild and 2003’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below), preferring to experiment with jazzy crooning. In recent months, though, he’s dropped rapid-fire rhymes on remixes of Rich Boy’s ”Throw Some D’s,” Unk’s ”Walk It Out,” and Lloyd’s ”You,” plus the original cuts of Devin the Dude’s ”What a Job” and UGK’s just-leaked ”International Players Anthem.” What’s behind the sudden stylistic shift? ”It is something that he is enjoying doing” is all that André’s publicist will say. (André himself was not available for comment.) Slow-jam specialist Lloyd has a more frank explanation: ”He’s trying to get back in touch with the youth. He’s one of the greatest — I grew up listening to [OutKast]. But maybe he’s lost a few younger fans through the other kinds of music that he makes.” André’s appearances have already met with overwhelmingly positive responses — especially from his collaborators. ”He aced it! He killed it!” crows Unk of André’s work on ”Walk It Out.” Adds Rich Boy: ”I studied his [‘Throw Some D’s’] verse — it’s genius.” And Lloyd too is basking in André’s glow: ”Every time he touches the mic, he makes history. Just to be a part of that is cool.”