Andre 3000

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]

Comments (17)
  1. “In my mind I was already gone to my hotel room halfway through.”

    I guess that explains why I did go back to my hotel room halfway through their set.

    And to think people were blaming the Coachella crowd.

  2. While I think the check-out at the Coachella set was certainly troubling, I have to say I like his candid and unabashed honesty here. You can tell he’s struggling existentially with this stuff, and that he doesn’t want to mislead anybody (anymore).

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    • Bite your tongue dickhead.

      Would you prefer he settle into a nice career of phoning it in for the rest of his life, or would you prefer he be honest and cut the cord.

      Also the reason he has all kinds of money is because he’s half of Outkast.

      Remember Oukast?

      • well i don’t either, but i sure as hell remember outkast….

        • Seriouly….best typo catch EVER. And I know I came acrossed as a dickhead on the above. And I kinda wanted it to come out that way. I have immense respect for this guy as an artist. He’s half of one of about 5 artists I love in a genre that I’m typically very dismissive of. This is a cool cat who has done an assload in his career.

          But at the end of the day he’s paid to show up and put out the effort. On some level I get that he’s burned out and going through something emotionally that prevents him from getting up for live shows.

          I’m not a moron. I have trouble getting up for my job…well…..all the damn time. If I was watching the NBA finals and LeBron James said “Yeah, I just couldn’t get into it tonight. I was just bored out there and kinda disinterested” I would have a huge problem with that. So why am I supposed to let this guy off the hook for not showing up? Again, I get that the man is an artist. I also get that he is wealthy. And he is wealthy because people pay huge sums of money to watch him perform.
          It’s simply not an option to phone it in. If you can’t get up for the shows YOU ARE BEING PAID TO SHOW UP FOR…..then don’t sign on to perform. It’s that simple. But these guys signed on to play what seemed to be every single festival this year. And with that comes the responsibility to bring it. Every single night.

          • This got me really fired up to enter some data here at work.

          • You’ve had off days right? If you’ve been away from the job for nearly a decade, chances are that you might be rusty. I saw OutKast later on this tour, and they were fantastic. Well worth the money.

  4. It’s all about the Benjamins baby. OWWWOOOOOOO!

  5. Not sure that I am willing to criticize him all that much. Don’t want to play armchair psychoanalyst for Andre, but sounds like he’s experiencing some depression, maybe a bit of mid-life crisis. Did Andre, as a young man, envision becoming a character? A person, wealthy or not, is entitled to feel disenchantment.

    My tendency is to criticize the people who rush to be the first one to hear an album, or see a reunion show, or even watch a new movie (midnight matinee!). Maybe temper the haste a bit and reflect on the actual merit of an experience rather than instantly becoming an expert and critic. Taking for instance the premature evaluation, I have already been told what an album is and whether it is “good”. I would rather wait two weeks after release and see what metadata is available. Rather than rushing to see an old, old act (by industry standards) on reunion at Coachella, I might think about why I valued their music in the first place. Whether they put on a great show or not, most of the crowd was there to be able to say that they had been there (which will be the enduring quality of the event, rather than Andre’s disengagement). I for one have no interest in attending a show with the expectation that artists are going to run through songs that were popular twenty years ago for the sake of nostalgia. When you have arrived there, my friends, you have stopped moving forward. Have to agree with Andre on this one; if the experience does not drive you, it may not be worth all that much.

    • I totally get that. And I completely agree with you. And I can see how none of this holds any appeal for him. He’s a true artist and he wants to move FORWARD with his art. I really do get it….

      That being said…..If that’s the case DO NOT sign on the dotted line for the most extensive festival schedule the world has ever seen. There’s a name for that….it’s greed.

      You can’t have your cake and eat it too in this scenario. Want to be an artiste and only do what moves you on an artistic level? AWESOME, PLEASE DO THAT. But don’t play that card and then cash THAT check.

  6. “Bored, kind of like a night with the sword
    Without dragon to battle so I’m running from a shadow” – Andre 3000 on “Mighty O”, 2006

    His heart hasn’t been in this for a long time. It was probably a mistake for Outkast to take the bait and hit the reunion circuit. Maybe Andre thought that if he got back on stage with Big Boi he’d feel re-invigorated. I think it’s sad that Andre doesn’t seem to appreciate how much his fans love him, or how unique he is as a figure in rap, but I respect him for being honest.

    • Maybe. I never got to see them during their heyday though, so it was a real thrill to catch them this summer, and I’m glad I had the opportunity.

    • I concur with everything you said in the above post. Actually I think I would change your “probably” to
      “Mos Def”

    • I don’t know, I think his appreciation for the fans is one reason he wanted to do this.

      “Let me do it now ’cause these kids [in the audience], it feels good to know that they’re happy.”

  7. Sorry. Andre has to dig deep here. I just saw the Clientele play at the Black Cat in DC. Super small room. No cooling fans on. The singer couldn’t help but complain about how we were all in this suffering together. At the shouters from the crowd, in his sly UK way “Ah, yes, the charm of small venues.” I doubt his mates imagined playing their debut for nostalgic fans at Coachella, in front of thousands, for Paul McCartney. Not losers like me on a random Tuesday. But it was a special show. It was a great night of music. Sure, Outkast is a legacy act performing for people who heard Hey Ya once on Z100 and want to Instagram filter their shit. Who cares? Take the chance to redefine the narrative of what your band represents. Otherwise, pull a Chappelle and show your integrity by delivering a product for people you can’t be proud to share it with.

  8. Everyone’s always acted like Andre 3000 was the mastermind who would return from darkness and deliver us from evil. While he’s been struggling not to play a character, Big Boi’s been the one delivering. All of his solo work has been frequent and fire.

    If he doesn’t want to rap anymore, then he should stop rapping. The only thing keeping you going is doing favors for Future? Fuck Future! Maybe he should just stop making music altogether until he feels a genuinely compelling force to do so. You’re in my thoughts, 3 Stacks, I, too, hope we hear some new music from you before you die.

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