Andre 3000 is not on twitter. He’s not on facebook. And he rarely does interviews. He’ the perfect example of an artist retaining their mystique in a world were everyone is dishing their every thought on social networks.
Even though he has pretty much kept himself out of the public eye since he and Big Boi finished collecting the accolades they racked up from the Speakerboxxx/The Love Below LP, he’s built up anticipation for a new album by blessing artists like Beyonce, Drake, Jeezy, Chris Brown and Ke$ha with guest verses over the few years. But although he’ll write a verse here and there, Andre 3000 is not sitting around writing rhymes all day and he’s definitely not up to being in anyone’s videos.
Fader recently snagged one of his rare interviews and he revealed why he doesn’t do the accompanying music video after jumping on an artist’s track. He also chatted about his decision to support Chris Brown, his thoughts on the new class of rappers and not wanting to become ‘that old flow guy’.
Check the excerpts:
On how he decides who he will 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 it’s emotionally, sometimes it’s just being there supporting another person. Even the Chris Brown remix—of course I love the beat, but at that time a lot of people were on Chris Brown as a human being. And I know he’d gone through his troubles or whatever and I just was like—I just wanted to stand by him and be like, Hey, you know, you can’t really charge a man forever and condemn a man forever. So it’s really just like a support thing. I thought it was a cool thing to do.
On why he hasn’t appeared in videos [ Ex. Beyonce's 'Party' music video]
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 I’d be in the video and then they won’t see me for another ten years or anything. So, you know, when I would talk to these artists and we’d agree that we’d 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 like—you know, I haven’t been in even in a video with Big Boi—it’s kind of disrespectful of me if I can just jump in a video with a new artist and I haven’t even jumped in the video with my own partner. [...] I just feel like—it just didn’t seem like a right time to do it. If it’s not my project or an Outkast thing, or you know, if I’m supporting Big Boi, then it just didn’t make sense for me. It just didn’t feel right doing it.
On the new class of rappers and working with Drake.
I’m 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, “Hey, we want to get you on these songs.” I don’t rap every day. I don’t sit around writing raps like that. And when these artists call, it’s 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, “Okay, he did well on my song.” I don’t want to be messing their song up.
On if the rap industry is open to multiple generations of rappers
I’m a rapper, and I just have to be honest, once you get to a certain point-[...] At a certain age your life changes, at that point you become something else. And I never want to be the uncle or grandfather kind of guy, so I’ll just have to shift my qualities elsewhere, find something else to do. I love rap so much, I don’t wanna taint it with old blood. I don’t want to do that. Like, I want to hear the new guys, and that’s why I support the new guys. We don’t have new flows. None of us old guys have new flows. None of us. The young guys have the new flows. The only thing that we have is years of experience. That’s all we have.
Do you feel like you learn from newer artists?
I’m learning what people are listening to now. Learning what the younger heads are into. The funny thing about hip-hop—Hip-hop is about being hip. And at a certain age, you’re not as hip to a certain crowd, and you lose hipness. And I think it’s a thing that people don’t talk about enough, but it’s a real thing. I have to ask my son sometimes, like, what’s cool? Make sure you don’t become that old flow guy. I’ve seen it happen and it’s a real thing. You know, people that I love and adore, their flows have just gotten dated, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s almost like watching your dad. Your dad moves to a completely different rhythm than what you move to. And that’s 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. I’m not trying to keep up with the younger guys at all.