OutKast’s Andre 3000 announces new solo album ‘New Blue Sun’

Surprise experimental project will be released Friday, Nov. 17.

Legendary hip-hop talent Andre 3000 just announced that he will release a new album called “New Blue Sun” on Friday, Nov. 17. It will be his first album project since the OutKast film soundtrack “Idlewild,” released in 2006.

The elusive OutKast rapper, who appeared on Killer Mike’s recently released, Grammy-nominated song “Scientists & Engineers,” along with fellow Atlanta rap superstar Future, spoke with NPR’s national hip-hop writer Rodney Carmichael in an exclusive interview.

According to the report, the album, totaling 87 minutes and including eight tracks, will not feature Andre reciting rap lyrics, but rather instrumental music. While the rapper, born Andre Benjamin, is most famous for his ability to deliver potent rhymes over fast-paced songs like the OutKast classic “Bombs Over Baghdad,” and doesn’t shy away from belting out inimitable vocal performances on songs like the massive hit record “Hey Ya!,” he has also been frequently seen in public with a large flute, which is his musical device of choice for “New Blue Sun.”

A variety of flutes, including bamboo, Mayan and contrabass flutes, apparently play a starring role on the album. Other wind instruments in digital format will also be part of the sonic recipe.

Outkast’s Big Boi and Andre 3000 at their Stankonia headquarters in 2003, the same year they released “Speakerboxx/The Love Below.” SUNNY SUNG / AJC FILE PHOTO

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It appears that ‘Dre is aware that performing as a flautist instead of a rapper/singer will come as something of a disappointment to fans who cherished his brilliantly abstract bars on “Scientists & Engineers.” The first song on “New Blue Sun” is apparently titled “I Swear, I Really Wanted To Make A ‘Rap’ Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time.”

You can almost hear the wistful winds of longing from fans who got excited when Killer Mike, during his initial run of interviews after releasing his latest album “Michael,” broke the news that a new Andre 3000 album was on the way. And in the NPR story, Andre, who lives in California, tells Carmichael that he gave artists Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean an early listen to several early songs from “New Blue Sun.”

But true to his wandering creative spirit, Andre said his own opinion is the only gauge that matters when it comes to deciding where to go next with his musical career.

“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 said in the interview.

Described as minimalist, tribal and experimental, “New Blue Sky” was made with four respected jazz instrumentalists, including percussionist Carlos Niño, guitar player Nate Mercereau and keyboardist Surya Botofasina. Recording with this core group was akin to the early days of recording songs with Atlanta’s legendary Dungeon Family of rappers, whose music was produced almost entirely by three-man production group Organized Noize. Andre gives them their flowers in the interview.

“I wouldn’t have produced any of this if it wasn’t for the Dungeon. So, the Dungeon was the dirt. That’s the ground that we planted everything in and all of those members in the Dungeon Family — Goodie Mob, Organized Noize, Big Boi, everybody — created an environment for me to be able to, like, just go.”

In the recently released AJC Films documentary, “The South Got Something To Say,” Andre’s famous quote from the 1995 Source Awards is centered as a rallying call for the rise of hip-hop in Atlanta and across the Southeast. The documentary can be screened by AJC subscribers through Nov. 30.

Andre also discusses his battles with anxiety, the legacy of OutKast, experimenting with the psychedelic ayahuasca and the number of flutes he owns (dozens) in the wide-ranging, hourlong interview, which you can read and hear at NPR.

The album, “New Blue Sun,” will be released Friday.


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