Hold On, Be Strong (1:11)

Cover of Aquemini

From Aquemini

Produced by Donny Mathis and OutKast for Earthtone

Barely over a minute long, the meditative intro sounds like a relic from the previous album . With an Old Negro Spiritual-meets-Sun Ra vibe, it sets the tone for Aquemini, as the R&B group 4.0 invokes the drawn-out refrain “Hold on/Be strong.”

Donny Mathis (guitarist): I came from the church, that’s how I got involved with Organized Noize . I told OutKast I had a song and they allowed me to produce and put “Hold On, Be Strong” on there. It was a full song with verses, but they didn’t want the words, they just wanted the hook. It was really coming from a gospel aspect by me being in the church. Dre played the kalimba on it.

Andre 3000: I bought that kalimba at some flea market or music store and I just remembered hearing it on Earth Wind & Fire records. I just thought it was cool and started playing around with it. It was definitely improv. Donny played guitar, Preston played bass and I think 4.0 was singing on it. Tony Hightower was in 4.0 and we’ve been friends since third grade, along with Cee-Lo. We all used to breakdance with each other and we ended up meeting each other again back at the Dungeon.

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