Andre 3000's Musical Journey Pure Excitement with Surprise
Andre 3000's Musical EnchantmentAndre 3000's Musical Enchantment

Andre 3000: Secret Videos, Venice Vibes, and ‘New Blue Sun’

Over the past four years, Andre 3000 has been creating some cool videos with around 3000 views. It’s kind of like he’s this undercover legend making films by playing a giant wooden flute in a secret yoga class in Philly, giving off vibes like a wild Greek god in the jungle. He’s popping up in coffee shops, on Tokyo streets, and hanging out in airports all over the world.

If you’re in Venice, California, chances are you might bump into Andre. Picture this: at the end of October, on a Friday afternoon, he’s chilling between a Sufi-inspired café and a boutique that smells like sweet incense. There are two camera pros capturing the scene for a documentary about his first solo album, “New Blue Sun,” which is all about creating these dreamy, celestial sounds.

He enjoys eating at Michelin-recommended restaurants, and he’s pretty casual about it all. “It’s like a Woody Allen movie,” Andre 3000 says in his laid-back style while sitting at a small table with his hefty, hand-carved wooden flute on the side.

Andre 3000’s Flute Odyssey: Hollywood Vibes and Jazz Exploration

People have spotted him playing his flute around Hollywood and Abbot Kinney Boulevard. He chuckles, saying, “I constantly sense that they’re onto me.” Today, we’re talking about making movies with him, but in general, he’s just trying to go to Starbucks, walking around, and enjoying life. He has no intention of halting any time in the near future.

Andre Benjamin, a guy from Atlanta, knows it sounds a bit quirky. He’ll probably throw in a joke, but this is serious. His quest to master the flute led to creating eight tracks that make up “New Blue Sun,” recorded in sessions at Rick Rubin’s Shangri La studio.

On the digital woodwind, he collaborates with some of LA’s finest jazz and avant-garde musicians. It’s a bit of a weird and cool wind thing, and he’s vibing with musicians like Carlos Nino, Nate Mercereau, Soraya Botofasina, and more.

Andre’s journey into jazz started with John Coltrane. He initially picked up the saxophone but was drawn to the flute after listening to Coltrane’s first album, “Blue Train.” “It felt right to me,” he says.

His new album, “New Blue Sun,” is not your typical rap. The first track’s title, “I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a ‘Rap’ Album,” might sound like a joke, but it’s his genuine attempt to connect with fans. He’s not into fake news and wants to keep it real. Instead of worrying about what others think, he’s focused on capturing a beautiful impulse.

Andre 3000 is all about freedom and being true to himself. He reflects on his 2003 OutKast track “Liberation” and how now, more than ever, he wants that freedom.

Back in his childhood, he thought he’d go to art school after painting and creating images. Andre’s style is a mix of an artistic painter in Chloé overalls with loose-fitting shirts, rocking marine blue curls. He effortlessly accessories with caramel glasses, a turquoise shell necklace, and a thick gold bracelet. It’s like imagining Daisy Glaspie as a surfer who digs minimalist music.

Andre 3000: Solo Journey from OutKast Glory

And when it comes to rap, Andre 3000 is all about seeing where he’s going. He’s not ruling out rapping again, but right now, he’s flying naturally and sharing his honest vibes. That’s what makes him feel free.

OutKast comes together to celebrate Big Boi's son's graduation
OutKast comes together to celebrate Big Boi’s son’s graduation

You can’t overlook the Christian expectations that come with Andre 3000’s solo record. Since the release of his last OutKast album in 2006, rumors have occasionally circulated about studio sessions with big-name producers instead of fulfilling those expectations. Instead, he ventured into films and television shows, including Jimi Hendrix’s biopic and last year’s acclaimed drama series. He was the voice behind a cartoon for mature audiences (Class of 3000) and, inspired by the aesthetics of the 1930s Ivy League football (Benchwarmers), launched a short-lived clothing line.

There was some music too. Andre 3000 and Beyoncé collaborated on the soundtrack for the 2013 epic Gatsby film. In 2014, OutKast reunited, and under the duo’s banner, Andre 3000 and Big Boi presented their most successful films in more than 40 festivals. In 2018, on the silent SoundCloud, two tracks, ‘Silence is Golden,’ featuring James Blake on piano and Andre 3000 on clarinet, stood out. Each time, he presented a stellar lineup on a blockbuster album: Drake, Frank Ocean, Kanye West.

Andre 3000 mentions, “It was an enjoyable challenge to throw verses onto other people’s songs.” It’s always easier than throwing yourself into someone else’s party. When a voice and genre change, you have nothing except knowing how you fit into it. These artists kept me alive in a way – especially for those who don’t know about OutKast.

As far as solo music is concerned, accolades and fame have dwindled. Andre’s stage name hints at the future. Continuing anything after a shift of focus will be perceived as a disappointment. OutKast’s first four albums not only created and praised Southern hip-hop but also expanded the possibilities of music. OutKast has its own genre – a fusion of storytelling rap, soul, Afro-futurism, blues, revival, gospel, and funk.

Just as creative differences separated them – Andre’s inclination was towards Prince and Beatles-influenced guitar pop, while Big Boi leaned towards the tough fusion of hip-hop and classic soul funk – OutKast became the biggest crossover rap group in history. Some albums have achieved the status of ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,’ producing ‘Hey Ya!,’ performed by Andre 3000 in the 2004 Grammys. OutKast took home three awards that night – and never looked back.

Andre 3000’s Artistic Journey: From Loss to ‘New Blue Sun’s Pure Excitement

What will you do when you’ve done it all by the age of 30? Andre 3000 says, “As you age, honesty and beauty become more important than anything else.” You feel you won’t be here forever, so the choices you make are like, ‘When I’m gone, what am I leaving behind?’ A new blue sun is a piece of beauty. It’s more precious to me than how many hits I have or how this girl is doing. And these are human things, but it’s a system of a certain value that I’m trying to navigate.

If this project has been relatively easy, then nothing else is. After OutKast’s hiatus, Andre 3000 faces the consequences of being a composer – writer’s block, self-doubt, depression, social anxiety, and extreme sensitivity. His parents passed away within a year of each other, his mother in May 2013 and his father in February 2014. The road ahead remained blurry for a long time. ‘You need to do things that keep affecting you. I’m just trying to find a way to keep going,’ he says. ‘Sometimes, if you hit a wall with something, changing it can get you to the next stage – like switching between sculpting and painting. I always try to do something that amazes me.’

The writer asked Andre 3000 if he wanted something to eat, but he didn’t order more than a cup of water, saying he had already eaten. A parody of his quirky remarks was made in the comedy show Key & Peele, where Andre, dressed like a coffee shop, ordered ‘Half-Caf Decaf Minute Mocha Latte’ with foam in a vase of flowers. ‘Here, its mood almost seems monastic.

The journey to New Blue Sun started with an encounter with Niño, a respected figure in LA’s experimental music scene, at a supermarket in Venice. The musician, producer, and percussionist invited Andre 3000 for a performance, where Niño and friends played the music of Alice Coltrane. Andre 3000 kept listening to their talks for a whole week and expressing himself through signals. He reached the sound check and stayed until the band left, taking photos along the way.

Andre 3000's Creative Progression Explored in 'New Blue Sun'
Andre 3000’s Creative Progression Explored in ‘New Blue Sun’

Although the girl’s double bassist is his current partner on New Blue Sun, Andre 3000 chose a digital alley that left him clueless. He laughs, saying, ‘What you’re hearing I’m playing 20 minutes after opening the box.’ ‘I’m trying to figure out what I can do. It’s pure realization and enthusiasm – like a child seeing bubbles for the first time.’

He’s just going through the motions, you know? Even though he didn’t get his flute training from Andrey Jolyard, there’s this kind of hidden musician in him that no teacher could cultivate. Remember the John Coltrane aphorism: ‘If you’re sincere, you can play the shoe.’ And trust me, this isn’t some futile project. It’s a bit of a maze with all those influences – New Blue Sun, John Coltrane, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Largi, and Yousuf Latif.

They’re rocking out on a song called ‘Date Night’ in the Hawaiian breeze, playing those three-stringed Moroccan lutes and some other stuff, calling it ‘Panther Tuning.’ When I transformed into a panther, I started making these low-register pure tones that I couldn’t even control… Man, it was wild. It’s like he’s trying to mimic this ayahuasca ritual where he felt he turned into a panther and started making unnecessary noise. ‘If I had a tape recorder that day, I would’ve made it my mission because it sounded so darn good,’ they say, throwing around the idea that psychedelic medicine ‘played me like I’m the howling instrument.’

“He knows it sounds weird, but he’s crafted this unique vibe about it. Andre 3000 says, ‘I thought it might raise some eyebrows.’ But what he felt from creating it – the love he has for music – was way more overwhelming than the fear of making a bit more noise than usual.”

Andre 3000’s Journey: OutKast’s Legacy, Creative Pursuits, and Dreams of Flight

“Definitely, OutKast’s questions never really fade away. The duo never officially split, and, as they took different paths, their extensive catalog influenced the next rap generation – Tyler, The Creator, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and all those heavyweights. Despite the lack of collaborations – or maybe because of it – Andre 3000 and Big Boi are still close.

Andre 3000 labels their connection as ‘kinda scary’ and talks about Big Boi’s energy and excitement on their latest tour. ‘Like any relationship, it’s all about chemistry. Sometimes you need a new formula to keep things fresh. We started our first rap before I was even in my inner circle. I can’t reject anything or predict what’s gonna happen in the future. I don’t know where this ride is taking me.'”

“Lately, Andre 3000 begins his mornings by taking a relaxed five-mile walk. After that, he heads towards his creative studio in nearby El Segundo, where he’s into painting, sculpting, video calls, and clay designs for his new venture, A Myriad of Pyramids. The goal? Bringing all his artistic endeavors under one roof. He’s playing the flute all day and has even started an apprenticeship to learn the art of making instruments. Come nighttime, he’s hit with these recurring intense dreams, especially one where he’s been floating in the air since the early days of his career.”

“I’m always amazed that I’m soaring. And I’m seriously amazed that I want to tell my friends,” says Andre 3000. “I’m not flying with wings, but I’m staying in the mandala, and I can shoot to some places. But whenever I try to show my friends, it just doesn’t work. I don’t know why.”

“You don’t have to be a psychology expert to grasp the desires of an artist caught between worlds: extremely enthusiastic about sharing their EPHE-Fine, but somewhat anxious about how people might not get it. After years of being pulled by this intense force, you can finally see Andre 3000 rising again – as long as you’re ready to listen up close or lucky enough to catch him on the street.

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