RANDALL’S ISLAND, New York — There are experiences you just can’t assign a dollar value to. Your first kiss, getting that bulky acceptance letter to your dream college and moving out of your parents’ house to a crowded three-bedroom that you and your roommates can finally call your own all come to mind. And after hitting the Governors Ball kickoff in NYC on Friday, I’ve already added seeing Outkast perform to that short-list of unforgettable moments.
But would ATLien Andre 3000 beg to differ?
I’m not the only one who was left chuckling but also scratching my head over Three Stacks’ curious ensemble choice at Gov Ball. Celebrating 20 years in the rap game alongside his partner Big Boi, Dre has been rocking a series of custom, shiny black statement jumpsuits as he criss-crosses the country for 40-plus-shows on a festival run.
While the cheeky captions emblazoned across his chest have changed from city to city, the giant red “price tag” hanging from his waist has apparently become a permanent attachment.
The tag, which features a dollar sign, and on the reverse, the words SOLD OUT, prompts so many questions. But particularly hard to ignore are reports that ‘Kast — coming off a decade-long hiatus — stand to bank about $60 million on this summer tour.
So does Andre Benjamin — one of the best lyricists of our time and mustachioed Gillette pitchman — believe he’s sold out by reuniting with his once-estranged partner-in-rhyme for this abbreviated and admittedly lucrative tour? Is he just going through the motions at each fest stop, even as he and Big Boi tear through their hits? Or maybe he’s simply bragging about a string of “sold out” shows?
I can’t speak to Andre’s internal monologue but the headlining set at Friday’s Governors Ball was one of the most spirited, energetic hip-hop shows I’ve seen in a while. Word on the grassy lawn seemed to echo that feeling. And just so you understand the sheer glee 3000 was emitting, know that at one point mid-show he stopped to do what must have been 100 push-ups, while Big Boi rapped and laughed alongside him on “Roses.”
His heartthrob status — of which he seemed aware and appreciative — hadn’t waned either judging by the lucky girls (including Janelle Monae!) plucked from the audience for “Hey Ya.” Each seemed to swoon after he offered “sweaty hugs” to all.
We may never know what Dre’s accessory choices really mean, but he and Big more than delivered for the fans, and in our book, that’s never selling out.