André 3000 Is Releasing A New Album On Friday
Less than one week after earning two Grammy nominations for his 2023 collaboration with Killer Mike, André 3000 has surprised fans with an announcement that he is releasing his first album in over 15 years, New Blue Sun, which will arrive Friday (November 17). The OutKast co-founder’s album is eight tracks and 87 minutes long, according to NPR Music‘s Rodney Carmichael, who spoke to Dre.
As one song title suggests, the album deviates from Andre’s Hip-Hop pedigree and highlights his Jazz leanings—including flute playing. It is produced by Spiritual Jazz veteran Carlos Niño (Miguel-Atwood Ferguson, Madlib, etc.). “One thing it is not, however, is a Rap record: No bars, no beats, no sub-bass. André doesn’t sing on this joint, either,” reveals Carmichael in the new report. “What [André 3000] does do is play flute, and plenty of it — contrabass flute, Mayan flutes, bamboo flutes — along with other digital wind instruments. In place of lyrics, he offers eight provocative song titles, the first of which almost reads like a lowkey apology, with a wink of irony: ‘I swear, I Really Wanted To Make A “Rap” Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time.'”
“New Blue Sun was something that I realized, whoa, I really want people to hear it,” André said. “I really want to share it. That’s my only gauge. I have to like it as a person, as an artist myself, because if I don’t like it I can’t expect nobody else to like it. I can’t pretend in that way. That’s always been hard for me.” He continued, “Once we started recording New Blue Sun, I think like three songs in I was like, Oh, we got something. I remember I had maybe four songs and I was just kind of testing it out ’cause I wanted to see how a younger audience would perceive it. I live in Cali now, so I reached out to [Tyler, The Creator] for him to check it out and I went to his house.” André describes Tyler’s Odd Future cohort (and past 3000 collaborator) Frank Ocean being a trusted sounding board as well.
This summer, Killer Mike suggested Dre had music coming. Mike, a Dungeon Family member, suggested previewing an album while appearing on Sway On The Morning. Later, the MC clarified that he was joking during the interview.
In 2019, Andre spoke to producer Rick Rubin about a creative block. “My focus is not there, my confidence is not there. I tinker… I tinker a lot. Like I would just go to my piano and just sit my iPhone down and record what I’m doing. Move my fingers around. I haven’t been motivated enough to make a serious project. I’d like to, but it’s just not coming,” the esteemed MC/producer explained. He also said, “So I’m just trying to find out what makes me feel the best right now. What makes me feel the best is when I do these random kind of instrumental things. They make me feel the most rebellious.” In 2023, Dre admits that he suffers from social anxiety. He describes a supportive and creative environment that fostered this album. In the NPR conversation, Dre also explained how his Hip-Hop genesis, The Dungeon Family, gave him an example and a basis for those kind of communities.
Two years earlier, in 2017, André told Complex, about his complicated relationship with Hip-Hop. “I kind of like not being a part of [Rap music], now that I’ve done it,” 3000 said to journalist Alex Gale. “As I get older, I start to see myself move more back from it—the hustle and bustle of putting out an album, the pressure of being in the studio trying to come up with something. Now it’s more like a hobby for me, so I don’t think about it in that way. Even with Outkast, if we never do another album, I’m totally fine with that. When I was 25, I said I don’t want to be a 30-year-old rapper. I’m 42 now, and I feel more and more that way. Do I really want to be 50 years old up there doing that?”
He continued, “Rapping is like being a boxer. No matter how great you are or were at a certain time, the older you get, the slower you get—I don’t care who you are. And I can feel that coming on. There’s always a new wave of artists, and sometimes I’m just like, ‘I’m good. I’ll let the young guys do it.’” Moments later, he says, “I don’t get much happiness from doing music like that—I get happiness from pleasing who I’m working with, and helping them, and seeing them be excited.”
Andre’s last solo full-length album, The Love Below, released along with OutKast partner Big Boi’s Speakerboxxx, won “Album Of The Year” and “Best Rap Album” at the 2004 Grammy Awards. Since then, he won a Grammy for an Anderson .Paak collaboration, amid an acclaimed feature role that has included work with UGK, Frank Ocean, T.I., Kanye West, and others. In 2018, he delivered a two-song online project, Look Ma No Hands. That effort was a dedication to Andre Benjamin’s late mother. He has lost all three parents, including a stepfather, who all passed within a decade of one another.
New Blue Sun‘s tracklisting, is reportedly as follows:
1. I swear, I Really Wanted To Make A “Rap” Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time
2. The Slang Word P___y Rolls Off The Tongue With Far Better Ease Than The Proper Word Vagina . Do You Agree?
3. That Night In Hawaii When I Turned Into A Panther And Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn’t Control … S__t Was Wild
4. BuyPoloDisorder’s Daughter Wears A 3000™ Button Down Embroidered
5. Ninety Three ‘Til Infinity And Beyoncé
6. Ghandi, Dalai Lama, Your Lord & Savior J.C. / Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, And John Wayne Gacy
7. Ants To You, Gods To Who ?
8. Dreams Once Buried Beneath The Dungeon Floor Slowly Sprout Into Undying Gardens
André 3000’s Grammy-nominated song with Killer Mike is currently included on the Ambrosia For Heads playlist: