Call it kismet or just plain coincidence but a recent interview with Andrè 3000 has once again answered our questions about the artist’s musical journey. The musician paid a visit to Broken Record, a podcast powered by celebrated author Malcolm Gladwell and legendary producer Rick Rubin. In a conversation with Rubin, Mr. Andrè Benjamin explained his current relationship with music and why he isn’t motivated to create another studio album.
“I haven’t been making much music, man,” he said. “My focus is not there. My confidence is not there. I tinker a lot. I’ll just go to a piano and I’ll set my iPhone down and just record what I’m doing, moving my fingers and whatever happens, but I haven’t been motivated to do a serious project.”
This doesn’t mean he’s completely done with creating. Reflecting on his early days in OutKast with Big Boi in the Dungeon Family, the artist shares how today’s demand and critique of music have flawed his view of what new music could even look like in 2019 and beyond. Part of this may have to do with the 2018 release of “Me&My (To Bury Your Parents)” and “Look Ma No Hands” and some stellar collaborations with Anderson .Paak and James Blake. While all adored (the former earning a Grammy nomination), the artist isn’t for the instant critiquing that comes along with it.
“Any little thing I put out it’s instantly attacked not in a good or bad way,” he explained. “People nitpick it with fine-tooth combs and that’s not a great place to create from. Like, ‘Oh he said that word!’ It’s not the greatest space to create from. It makes you drawback.”
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He also shared how fame has put a cog in his creative mindset given the very high expectations. In addition to the Grammys, the diamond album and his fast influence in music, Andrè is considered to be one of the most important artists in hip-hop history, a feat that leaves the pedestal ridiculously high.
“The problem with being an artist–a successful artist– is that you have to find a comfortable place to do that again,” he said. “I liken it to a kid playing in their room with toys. You’re [makes explosion sounds], you have this world going on. The moment you’re mom opens the door and says, ‘Andre’ that world kind of stops. Once the attention is on that world, the world goes away. So you have to find a way to get back to that place to where you can build those worlds again and not have the eyes or the judging you know, and that’s hard for me. Maybe I don’t have the confidence I want or the space to experiment like I use to because the stuff that people love from back then, it was made [freely]. You didn’t give a s**t, you didn’t care and they didn’t care. They didn’t even like you. So it was like, ‘Great, don’t like what we’re doing so we can keep doing what we’re doing.'”
When it comes to today’s music, Andrè shared his love for instrumental music by way of Phillip Glass and Steve Wright. “Sometimes I feel like a lot of lyrics just bombard you,” he said. “I know that sounds crazy coming from a rap artist but sometimes the thoughts just take over. You want to be a part of it, but I like music where I can have my own thoughts to.”
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His love for instrumental music has led him to think about doing music again on his own terms. “In my own self, I’m trying to figure out where do I sit,” he said. “I don’t even know what I am and maybe I’m nothing. Maybe I’m not supposed to be anything. Maybe my history is kinda handicapping, in a way, so I’m just trying to find out what makes me feel the best right now. And what makes me feel the best is when I just do these random instrumental things. They make me feel the most rebellious . . . I don’t like to go with the flow, really. I don’t know why but I just feel best when I don’t, so I have to honor that.”
Listen to the full interview below.