Meaning of “Roses” by OutKast

Perhaps the easiest way of describing the sentimental premise behind OutKast’s “Roses” is as the addressee being someone whom the vocalist is physically attracted to but who’s also too stuck up to give him any mind. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for OutKast's Roses at

Or another way of putting it, all lyrics considered, is that this “Caroline” knows that she’s hot and uses that attribute to only date guys who have money, like “a baller or singer or somebody like that”. 

And as implied, the character whom the Outkast boys are portraying is not of such a standing. Rather, let’s say he’s on the same socioeconomic level as Caroline. Furthermore, he’s pissed off that she’s seeking someone of a richer class, interpreting it as Caroline thinking that she’s better than her peers.

And of course Andre 3000 and Big Boi are portraying characters, as by this point in Outkast’s was more or less established as one of the most-successful acts in hip-hop history. In other words, in real life they themselves were the type of stars that ladies such as “Caroline” would chase. And during the latter part of his verse, Big Boi does address this issue based on his actual experiences as a star.

In actuality, he’s known as one of the biggest playas to ever grace the genre of rap music. But as implied in this song, he may entertain a lady like “Caroline” for a while. But one line Sir Lucious Leftfoot will not cross is having unprotected sex with one of them. And this is not only in the name of protecting himself from disease but also to avoid facing legal issues later down the line. Or as Big Boi more plainly puts it at the conclusion of his verse, he’s interested in sex, not having a woman as a dependent.

“I know you’d like to think your s–t don’t stank, but
Lean a little bit closer, see
Roses really smell like boo-boo-ooh
Yeah, roses really smell like boo-boo-ooh”

When did OutKast release “Roses”?

“Roses” officially hit the airways on March 1 of 2004. It serves as the 29th song and third single from the group’s 2003 double album titled “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”.

Writing & Production

This song was authored by the members of OutKast, who at the time comprised André Benjamin and André 3000. They were assisted by a songwriter named Matt Boykin. Production was handled by André 3000 along with record producer Dojo5.


The “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” project was launched on September 23 of 2003. It serves as the fifth studio album of the Atlanta group.

The album, which was issued by Arista Records, produced a total of four singles. Its first two singles, “Hey Ya!” and “The Way You Move”, were issued in 2003. The album’s last single, “Ghetto Musick / Prototype”, dropped in November 2004.


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