A new era has dawned for André 3000, who released his debut solo album, New Blue Sun, on Friday (Nov. 17) — and it has absolutely zero rapping on it.
Despite doling out standout verses on songs such as Kanye West‘s “Life of the Party” from the deluxe version of Donda to Killer Mike’s “Scientists & Engineers” — which recently earned him two Grammy nominations for best rap song and best rap performance — Three Stacks is hanging up the mic and sticking to his flute. Earlier this week, NPR‘s Rodney Carmichael described New Blue Sun as “a stunning 87-minute mind-bender, minimalist and experimental, tribal and transcendent.”
André (real name André Lauren Benjamin) later told GQ in the magazine’s first-ever video cover story why he decided to not rap on his first solo musical offering. “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 …”
During his tenure in Outkast, he and Big Boi released six studio albums between 1994 and 2006, with their last being Idlewild. Outside of Outkast’s 1994 debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, five albums — 1996’s ATLiens, 1998’s Aquemini, 2000’s Stankonia, 2003’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below and 2006’s Idlewild — reached either No. 1 or No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Listen to New Blue Sun below.
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