Andre chops it up with FADER.
FADER was lucky enough to get on the phone with Andre 3000, and they spoke on his guest features, the latest being "DoYaThing" with the Gorillaz, being judged on his verses and more. Read some excerpts below, head here for the entire thing. Andre has some wise words.
Youâre in a place in your career where you can do pretty much whatever you want. How do you decide who to collaborate with? Most of the time it has to be the music. The music has to kinda move me in some kind of way. Sometimes itâs emotionally, sometimes itâs just being there supporting another person. Even the Chris Brown remixâof course I love the beat, but at that time a lot of people were on Chris Brown as a human being. And I know heâd gone through his troubles or whatever and I just was likeâI just wanted to stand by him and be like, Hey, you know, you canât really charge a man forever and condemn a man forever. So itâs really just like a support thing. I thought it was a cool thing to do.
In the last couple years, it seems like youâve been excited about rap and rapping again. Iâve been excited about what new artists are bringing to rap. I notice how itâs really just a continuous conversation, a lineage thing. In high school it was all about A Tribe Called Quest and Souls of Mischief, and Too Short and 8Ball & MJG and UGK for us. And we just kept the torch going. Now I talk to Drake, and I know he had to be like ten when he was listening to what we were doing. You just never know whoâs listening until you hear a connection. I didnât even know Drake dug my music, I just liked him as a rapper because I felt he had a balance. I didnât even know that he grew up listening to me. But itâs cool to know that itâs a real lineage thing. Iâm happy to see Kanye and Wayne and Drake and all these new artists. They inspire me in a way because they reach back and they say, âHey, we want to get you on these songs.â I donât rap every day. I donât sit around writing raps like that. And when these artists call, itâs kind of like they get me going. And I really wanna just be good for them. I want to impress them or have them be happy to say, âOkay, he did well on my song.â I donât want to be messing their song up.
So people get too caught up in the idea that youâre doing a verse and make a decision before theyâve really listened to it? No, no. I think true fansâthey listen for the words and they pay attention to that. But I think overall it becomes like, âOh, okay, whatâs going to happen now?â It becomes an event. And thatâs scary. Itâs scary when people are just waiting for your next verses. So when Iâm writing itâs a scary thing to know that even if Iâm saying a verse, I know that people are listening now. At one point in time, I would have more fun when people werenât listening. Youâre always better when people arenât watching the experiment.
In the interview you did with GQ the other day, you mentioned that itâs better to be on deadline, or else youâll never get anything done. How does that work with this solo album? Are you putting yourself on a deadline? Iâm actually putting myself on deadlines more than ever. I donât have someone policing that. Even in Outkast there were no police. But now itâs just time. Iâm at a place now where my deadline is my own self. Iâm looking at it like, Okay, I donât want to be like 40 years old and to havenât done this album. And I donât have a sense of time. When people say, Man, we havenât heard from you in like five years, or seen you, to me, it feels like a year. I donât have a good sense of time, but I do know Iâm not a spring chicken anymore. I have to get my ideas out before I just let them go away. Thatâs how ideas work. All the songs are written, we all just get them as gifts. And if you donât act upon your ideas theyâll go to somebody else. Iâve seen so many ideas that I just sat on that other people have done years later, and Iâm like, Wow, I could have done that. I just didnât do it.
Do you feel like you learn from newer artists? Yeah, of course. Iâm learning what people are listening to now. Learning what the younger heads are into. The funny thing about hip-hopâitâs such a young thing, just like rock and roll in certain ways, early rock and roll. Hip-hop is about being hip. And at a certain age, youâre not as hip to a certain crowd, and you lose hipness. And I think itâs a thing that people donât talk about enough, but itâs a real thing. I have to ask my son sometimes, like, whatâs cool? Make sure you donât become that old flow guy. Iâve seen it happen and itâs a real thing. You know, people that I love and adore, their flows have just gotten dated, and thereâs nothing you can do about it. Itâs almost like watching your dad. Your dad moves to a completely different rhythm than what you move to. And thatâs how flows are because we grew up on a different rhythm. And so the younger heads are growing up on different rhythms so they rap differently. Iâm not trying to keep up with the younger guys at all. Right now, Iâm just trying toâIâm basically an aging rapper just trying to have fun knowing that time is limited.
You havenât really appeared in any music videos or performed live in awhile. Yeah. Well, when youâre at this age you go through this thing. Well, me personallyâI go through thisâ¦do I still wanna do it? Iâve done it for years, since I was like 17, 18 years old. You try to find what you love to do, which Iâm doing now. I never really knew if I wanted to step back into the arena, if I wanted to really be in the business. When I would get these calls from artists, I felt great about it. At the same time, I never wanted to tease people in a way where Iâd be in the video and then they wonât see me for another ten years or anything. So, you know, when I would talk to these artists and weâd agree that weâd do these songs, we would all be in agreement that it was just vocals. There was no visual or anything. Every artist I work with from Beyonce, from Young Jeezy and Jay-Z, from BoB, it was all understood before my first rhyme was written that there was going to be no videos. And I always felt likeâyou know, I havenât been in even in a video with Big Boiâitâs kind of disrespectful of me if I can just jump in a video with a new artist and I havenât even jumped in the video with my own partner. So I always said, Iâm not going to fully jump back into it until I really do it. Iâm not going to play around. If itâs not my project or an Outkast thing, or you know, if Iâm supporting Big Boi, then it just didnât make sense for me. It just didnât feel right doing it. So itâs a loyalty to myself and trying to make sure I really wanted to be in the business again.
Any time you do an interview or thereâs an announcement about something that youâre doing thatâs not Outkast, everyone asks about when the next Outkast project is coming. And every time, words get misconstrued, or casual statements get blown out of proportion. Is it difficult for you to have to talk about it every time? Itâs expected. I guess the unfortunate thing is how the internet is todayâis that itâs all about shock and itâs all about getting attention. So they always take out the parts that seem shocking and blast it. Sensationalize whatever they want to sensationalize. Itâs always been, No, there are not any plans right now. Weâre not on the roster or on a schedule with a label to put out an Outkast album. I canât say if or when we will, but Iâm going to be in Outkast forever in some kind of way. I canât really say Outkast is over so it always trips me out when these things get on the internet, and [people] go, Andre said thereâs going to be no more Outkast. And then me and Big Boi get on the phone like, Oh, thatâs unfortunate that they said that kind of thing. But I just have to say that because weâre in the information age, and thereâs a lot of misinformationâyou may have tweets from somebody saying, I saw them together, or I saw them in the studio. And there even may be close friends that are just so excited about seeing me and Big Boi together, they may say weâre in the studio together. Itâs totally not true. Like, I may stop by the studio to hear what Big Boiâs doing for his album, just to say hey as a friend and see whatâs going on. And next thing you know itâs, Oh, theyâre in the studio together. No, not at all. Thereâs no plans for an Outkast album right now. Next year will be 20 years as Outkast, which isâIâm still amazed at it. Iâm happy that weâve been around that long. Happy that we have people that still care about Outkast. Thereâs a lot of guys that came out around the same time that are not around anymore. So itâs really a blessing. So I think when I hear things on the internet that Outkast is over, I think, thatâs a shame. Because I donât have the power to stop Outkast, you know? I didnât start Outkast by myself. I donât have the power to stop Outkast. If we do another Outkast album one day, I would be super happy. Because Iâll know that the vibe is right, and weâll put our all into it. But if we never do another Outkast album, you know, I wonât be sad because weâve been blessed. Weâve been around.