André 3000 has entered a new phase of his life. On Friday, November 17, he released his debut solo album, New Blue Sun, which features exactly zero rapping.
Three Stacks is hanging up the mic and sticking to his flute, despite dishing out standout verses on songs like Killer Mike’s “Scientists & Engineers” and Kanye West’s “Life of the Party” from the deluxe version of Donda. The latter song recently earned him two Grammy nominations for best rap performance and best rap song. Rodney Carmichael of NPR called New Blue Sun earlier this week, calling it “a stunning 87-minute mind-bender, minimalist and experimental, tribal and transcendent.”
Later, André (real name André Lauren Benjamin) explained to GQ why he chose not to rap on his debut solo album in the magazine’s inaugural video cover story.
“I’ve worked with some of the newest, freshest, youngest and old-school producers. I get beats all the time. I try to write all the time. Even now people think, ‘Oh, man, he’s just sitting on raps, or he’s just holding these raps hostage.’ I ain’t got no raps like that. It actually feels … sometimes it feels inauthentic for me to rap because I don’t have anything to talk about in that way,” he said.
“I’m 48 years old. And not to say that age is a thing that dictates what you rap about, but in a way it does. And things that happen in my life, like, what are you talking about? ‘I got to go get a colonoscopy.’ What are you rapping about? ‘My eyesight is going bad.’ You can find cool ways to say it, but …”
Between 1994 and 2006, he and Big Boi put out six studio albums as members of Outkast; the most recent of these was Idlewild. Apart from their 1994 debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, Outkast released five other albums that peaked at No. 1 or No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums: 1996’s ATLiens, 1998’s Aquemini, 2000’s Stankonia, 2003’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, and 2006’s Idlewild.