After the funky, neo-soulful croonings of 2003’s The Love Below andthe Prohibition-era revivalism of Idewild, André 3000’s detour into musical Never Never Land seemed to be nearing completion. It was hard to knock him forevolving beyond his Southernplayalistic roots because he continued tomake great music, but there was a lingering sense that eclecticism’s gain wasemceeing’s loss. Then, something remarkable happened. Out of nowhere, Drésteamrolled into 2007 with a series of guest verses that had message boards andblogs across the ‘net heralding his return to rap as hip-hop’s second coming(listen here and here).
Thankfully, there’s now a video to mark this epoch in the evolution of André3000, which currently sees him reincarnated as some sort of silver-tongued street griotsent from outer space to spread a message of love and joy to his thugged-outcompatriots. The video is for UGK’s "International Player’s Anthem," in which the Southern rap luminaries invite OutKast into a timeless debate about what happens when true love and a pimp’s codecollide. It’s a marriage of talents that few rap fans would argue against. (For more UGK, check out their recent appearance on DizzeeRascal’s ‘‘Where’s Da Gs"; Dizzee will return the favor with a collabo ontheir forthcoming Underground Kingz, due in mid-July).
More reason to give thanks: Bryan Barber — who also directed Idlewild and theBeatles-inspired "Hey Ya" video — doesnot take the obvious route suggested by the song’s title and throw the foursomeinto a strip club for the afternoon. Instead, he imagines André 3000’s wedding, a fittinglybizarre affair with a colorful cast of characters filling the aisles (keep youreyes peeled for Fonzworth Bentley, T-Pain, Don Magic Juan, and a veryexcited David Banner). How does it all turn out? Watch the video for yourselfand then check back in for more after the jump.
The clip begins with a good-humored roasting of André 3000’s weddingday attire by his close circle of friends, including Three 6 Mafia’s DJPaul andJuicy J (stars of MTV’s reality show Welcome to Hollyhood). As thelovely bride strides down the aisle, André beams cheerfully and begins hisoffbeat, impressionistic love paean: "So, I typed a text to a girl I used tosee/Sayin’ that I chose this cutie pie with whom I wanna be/And I apologizeif this message gets you down/Then I CC’d every girl that I’d see see roundtown…" (I hope my wedding vows are that hot!) The playfulness of André’sdelivery, his clever turns of phrase ("I’m so like a Pip, I’m glad it’snight"), and the crooning of Willie Hutch’s "I Choose You" in the backgroundprovide a perfect musical compliment to the wacky church scene, full oflip-synching groomsman and fur-clad pimps.
As soon as the rings have been exchanged, the drums kick in, and no time iswasted in getting the party started. There’s a lot to celebrate: Pimp C somehowmanages to dress even more outlandishly than Dré, Bun B offers a candidcounterpoint to André’s romantic flourishes, and Big Boi expresses his empathyfor Paul McCartney’s legal woes while two women inexplicably fight in the weddingcake. (Incidentally, it must be tough being André’s running mate; Big Boi hasalso been particularly on-point as of late, dropping great verses on UNK’s"Walk It Out Remix" and Rich Boy’s "And I Love You," but he often gets washed out in Mr. 3000’s technicolor glow.)
While I’m not saying that "International Player’s Club" is in anyway anantidote to the rash of misogyny in rap (isn’t that a pleasant phrase?), it’sdefinitely a breath of fresh air, and Barber delivers the type of video thatmakes me fall in love with the genre all over again. Moreover, it makes merealize that I need to befriend some Southern rappers and comedians if I wantmy wedding party to be awesome. I also need gospel singers and a small childwho looks like T.I.
What do you think of André’s nuptials, PopWatchers? And what pop cultureicons would you most like to invite to your wedding?