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Andre 3000: Class of 3000 Music, Vol. 1

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Andre 3000, born André Lauren Benjamin, is one half of Hip-Hop’s buried treasure, Outkast, an accomplished musician and actor, and now Sunny Bridges, a prize-winning musician who gives up touring to teach at his alma mater. Class of 3000, co-created, executive produced and starring Benjamin, is Cartoon Network’s latest attempt to progress with the times. Just as he shows poise and creativity in his particular brand of Hip-Hop with a southern, futuristic feel, the highly artistic Benjamin does his best to introduce good music to kids with his latest album, Class of 3000 Music: Volume One (LaFace). While it isn’t quite the rebirth of Aquemini, this ode to the first season of Class of 3000 mixes Hip-Hop with bebop, blues, bluegrass and rock & roll.  Benjamin, along with so many other veterans in the music industry, has openly expressed his concerns about Hip-Hop taking a turn for the worst. What better way to resolve that problem than by presenting real music to the future of Hip-Hop—the children? As Sunny promises his kids, with his latest LP Benjamin is going to “show you how to put the k” in fun(k). Benjamin’s concoction of beats and styles is so masterfully done, and so inner-city cool, that parents who miss jamming to the sounds of Fat Albert will find themselves enthralled. The album features fourteen songs from the show, performed by the kids/characters in the show, and executive-produced by none other than Andre Benjamin himself. The first three songs on the album introduce you to the show’s characters and acquaint you with who is playing each instrument.  The hooks are very catchy, and there is a message within each song.  For example, “A Richer Shade of Blue” deals with the fact that a person can be wealthy, yet still be unhappy.  On the piano heavy, “Life Without Music,” the kids discuss how much of an influence simple things like downloading songs and buying ring tones have on our lives daily. “Kim Kam Jam” and “Oh Peanut” are practically instrumental songs that lay funky basslines and striking piano chords over the kids’ ad-libs and Benjamin’s eclectic voice.Another notch under his belt, Benjamin is pulling his own weight these days, from prime-time television (The Shield), to movies (Idlewild), and now the world of animation. There has even been talk of a solo album from the Atlanta-based triple threat, and Class of 3000, Vol. 1 is a great way to hit the ground running; as it successfully gets kids and adults alike to appreciate the true instrumentation of songs without heavy samples and bottomless hooks. A treat for the entire family to enjoy, Benjamin hit home with this one.

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