André 3000: “I Really Don’t Actually Get Anything From Performing”

By Tom Breihan / August 27, 2014 - 1:54 pm

OutKast have spent the summer on a grand reunion tour, playing their hits at an insane number of festivals around the world and generally reminding the world that they are perhaps the greatest rap group that has ever existed. But at various shows, onlookers have noted that André 3000, the more elusive half of the duo, does not appear to have his heart in performing. And as it turns out, they’re right; he doesn’t. André almost never gives interviews, but in a rare, revealing sit-down, he’s just now said some uncomfortably honest things on how he feels about the tour and about the idea of rapping in general.

André was ostensibly talking to The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica about Jimi: All Is By My Side, the new biopic in which he plays Jimi Hendrix. But he also addressed his own absence from the stage, and his answers say a lot. Here’s what he says about the current tour:

Honestly, I never planned to go onstage again in that way. If I feel like I’m getting to a place where it’s mimicking or a caricature, I just want to move on. But I felt like: Let me do it now ’cause these kids [in the audience], it feels good to know that they’re happy. I really don’t actually get anything from performing… I feel good in being able to look at Big Boi and say, “Hey, man, we did it.” Big Boi’s got these great records on his own, but this means something else for him.

About the first OutKast reunion performance at Coachella:

It was foreign. My head wasn’t there. I kind of fluffed through rehearsals. A few hours before the Coachella show, I get a message that Prince and Paul McCartney are going to be there. My spirit is not right, and idols are standing side-stage, so as the show started, I’m bummed. This is horrible. In my mind I was already gone to my hotel room halfway through.

About the idea of rapping in general:

I remember, at like 25, saying, “I don’t want to be a 40-year-old rapper.” I’m 39 now, and I’m still standing by that. I’m such a fan that I don’t want to infiltrate it with old blood… I struggle with the verses. I don’t sit around and write raps, I just don’t. Now the only time I’m really inspired to write raps is if an artist that I enjoy invites me to their party. So if Future calls and says, “Hey man, I want you to do this,” I don’t want to let Future down. I don’t want to let Lil Wayne or Drake down, because I love them.

About the idea of releasing more music in the future:

I’d love to put out an album… I know this may sound morbid, but I was like, if I were to die today, I have all these half-songs on my hard drive, and I don’t want that.

The whole interview is well worth your attention, and you can read it here.

[Photo by Wilson Lee @ BottleRock]