Andre 3000 Details Depression, Retiring From Rap, Album Plans
Andre Benjamin, one half out OutKast, speaks to The New York Times about why he doesn't want to rap after 40.
"I remember, at like 25, saying, 'I don’t want to be a 40-year-old rapper,'" 3000 tells The New York Times' Jon Caramanica. "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."
The rapper, who says he uses his 16-year-old son Seven and his friends as a gauge for his guest verses nowadays, also says he gets nothing from rapping as part of OutKast.
"Honestly, I never planned to go onstage again in that way," he says. "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...I think people could see it at Coachella, the very first show. 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. So Prince called a couple days after. It was my first time actually talking to Prince. He said, 'When you come back, people want to be wowed. And what’s the best way to wow people? Just give them the hits.' I’m explaining to him that I really didn’t want to do it. He said: 'I’ve been there. I’ve tried to do other things. After you give them the hits, then you can do whatever.'"
Despite all of his discomfort performing as part of OutKast, Andre 3000 says he would "love to put out an album" as a solo act. He still doesn't know if it will feature raps or him singing, but he says he has plans to finish a project.
"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," he says.
Andre goes on to say he will release it, though he doesn't have a time window for the project.
"When you feel it, it’s right," he says. "If you don’t feel it, then why? Honestly, think about it. Why do it? Why?"
Beyond music, Andre 3000 has also been working as the star of an upcoming film based on Jimi Hendrix, Jimi: All Is By My Side, a job that may have saved his life, according to the rapper-singer-actor.
"I was in a not-so-great space, just in a dark place every day," Andre says. "I needed something to focus on to get me out of my depression and rut. Sometimes, when you’re alone, you can let yourself go. I knew if I got on a train with a lot of different people, then I couldn’t let them down."