Watch André 3000 Talk About Loving The Flute & Play A 10-Minute Flute Instrumental On Colbert

Watch André 3000 Talk About Loving The Flute & Play A 10-Minute Flute Instrumental On Colbert

It’s pretty rare that someone gets to be the lead guest on a late-night talk show when they’re promoting an ambient instrumental album, but it’s also pretty rare that one of the greatest, most popular rappers of all time makes an ambient experimental album. Late last year, André 3000 surprised the world with the release of New Blue Sun, his first-ever proper solo album. By now, you surely know that the album is all soft, freeform flute improvisation, with no rapping or even vocalization. Yesterday, André announced a tour behind the LP, and it kicks off this weekend in Brooklyn. On last night’s episode of Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, André came through to perform and to talk about this new phase of his artistic journey.

I tell you what: Stephen Colbert was the right late-night host for André. Colbert did bits and had fun with André, but he also took the flute thing seriously and got André talking about what he loves about the flute. When Colbert mentioned that the flute sounds a lot like the human voice, André enthusiastically agreed: “It’s the closest thing to singing… It’s air, it’s blowing through something, it’s a wind. It’s the same thing. And you’re actually hearing a human’s wind. On other instruments, you don’t hear it; you don’t hear the actual wind.”

Colbert talked about André as a “catalyst artist,” and André said that he does see his influence out there. (He would have to.) André mentioned some of his own influences, too: “George Clinton, Sly Stone, Hendrix, Coltrane, Dolphy, Kraftwerk. So many. UGK, 8Ball, MJG, Odd Squad.” I think it’s extremely cool to hear someone namecheck Odd Squad, Devin The Dude’s old group, on late-night TV. Also, André recommended ayahuasca treatment to Colbert, which is fun to imagine. And he made a “pause” joke after saying “I have two holes” — as in, in his flute. The pause joke is a fundamentally archaic and homophobic rap custom, but if anyone can get a pass on it, I think it’s André.

After the interview, André and his New Blue Sun collaborators performed a 10-minute rendition of “That Night in Hawaii When I Turned into a Panther and Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn’t Control … Sh¥t Was Wild.” Colbert had fun reading that song title, and André made those purring noises while Colbert said it, and on the intro of the song. I honestly haven’t spent enough time with New Blue Sun to tell you whether André’s performance was much different from the on-record version, but I can tell you that it’s cool to see André get deep into that zone on television. Below, watch the interview and the performance.

New Blue Sun is out now on Epic/Sony.

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