André Lauren Benjamin (born May 27, 1974) better known by his stage name André 3000, is an American rapper, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor, best known for his work in the group OutKast.
Benjamin was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Sharon Benjamin Hodo, a single mother who sold real estate, and Lawrence Walker, a collections agent. He is of African American and Native American descent. Being an only child and growing up in East Point, Decatur and Buckhead, Benjamin saw many different lifestyles (clothing and music) that he combined throughout his career. He attended Willis A. Sutton Middle School,and Tri-Cities High School, where an orchestra teacher named Mrs. Natalie F. Colbert taught him how to play the violin.
In high school, Benjamin (who was then performing as "Dre") met Antwan "Big Boi" Patton and after a few lyrical battles the two teamed up to form Outkast. Shortly after graduating high school the duo were signed to the Atlanta-based LaFace label and released their debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik in 1994. Buoyed by the success of the single "Playa's Ball", the album went platinum by the end of the year and Outkast was named Best New Rap Group of the Year at the 1995 Source Awards.