In an exclusive interview with NPR Music’s Rodney Carmichael published this morning (November 14), musician André 3000 announced his debut solo album New Blue Sun, which the former member of OutKast will release this Friday, November 17th. In a conversation that explores this expectations-exploding album — its art includes a label warning that the album contains “no bars” — André reveals the mind-opening journey that led him to his current instrument of choice, the flute, and how it has allowed him to push his one-of-a-kind creative energy into new places.
It’s the first full-length album André has released in 17 years, since OutKast’s sixth studio album Idlewild. It’s part of an artistic evolution that has taken him from MC to multi-hyphenate icon.
“I didn’t know I’d be rapping,” he tells NPR. “I didn’t know I’d start producing. I didn’t know I’d start singing. I didn’t know my style would go a certain way. I didn’t know I’d put a wig on. Like, I didn’t know none of this. So, I’m on the ride with y’all.”
While the element of surprise has always been a strength of Andre’s repertoire, he acknowledges fans may be caught off guard by his latest departure. He tackles the elephant in the room with the first song title: “I swear, I Really Wanted To Make A ‘Rap’ Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time.”
Source: Deana Lawson / Supreme
“I don’t want to troll people. I don’t want people to think, Oh, this André 3000 album is coming! And you play it and like, ‘Oh man, no verses.’ So even actually on the packaging, you’ll see it says, ‘Warning: no bars.’ It’s letting you know what it is off the top.”
Though his feelings for rap haven’t diminished, he says it’s simply not where he is creatively.
“I love rap music because it was a part of my youth. So I would love to be out here with everybody rapping, because it’s almost like fun and being on the playground. I would love to be out here playing with everybody, but it’s just not happening for me. This is the realest thing that’s coming right now. Not to say that I would never do it again, but those are not the things that are coming right now. And I have to present what’s given to me at the time.”
In this hour-plus conversation with Carmichael, André is equally transparent and tangible, whether laughing about Tyler, the Creator’s funny response to his music, detailing the wild ayahuasca trip that had him purring like a panther in Hawaii or sharing the reason why he gets so many requests to play flute at funerals now. You can hear the entire interview and read an edited transcript of the conversation at NPR.org
. Let us know how excited you are about the album in the comments!