After going back on touring to celebrate 20th anniversary of their debut album as Outkast, and shortly before a release of Jimi Hendrix biopic movie “Jimi: All Is By My Side” starring Andre 3000 as Jimi, Outkast’s long time frontman is giving one of the most candid interviews to Jon Caramanica of The New York Times about a proper time to be in the spotlight and proper time to go away, his impersonation of Jimi Hendrix, releasing a solo album and his unwilling reunion with Big Boi.
Here are some of the quotes from Andre 3000’s big interview to NYT:
About his place in modern hip-hop: “I remember, at like 25, saying, “I don’t want to be a 40-year-old rapper.” I’m 39 now, and I’m still standing by that. I’m such a fan that I don’t want to infiltrate it with old blood…
My son, he’s 16. Him and his buddies, they’ll be in the car, and I’ll say, “Hey, what do you think about this verse?” That’s my gauge at this point. I don’t have the pulse. Part of art is knowing when not to put paint on. And when to change your medium.”
About his initial reluctance to star Jimi Hendrix: “I may have said it to John [Ridley, the director]: “Man, I’m old. I have gray hair. Get some young unknown kid to play Hendrix.” I turned it down. They kept at it. I actually asked my son, [Seven]. He said, “Yeah, man.” Honestly, I needed it in my life, too. Hendrix kind of saved me. I was in a not-so-great space, just in a dark place every day. I needed something to focus on to get me out of my depression and rut. Sometimes, when you’re alone, you can let yourself go. I knew if I got on a train with a lot of different people, then I couldn’t let them down.”
About Outkast reunion: “Honestly, I never planned to go onstage again in that way. If I feel like I’m getting to a place where it’s mimicking or a caricature, I just want to move on. But I felt like: Let me do it now ’cause these kids [in the audience], it feels good to know that they’re happy. I really don’t actually get anything from performing…
I feel good in being able to look at Big Boi and say, “Hey, man, we did it.” Big Boi’s got these great records on his own, but this means something else for him.”
About his lack of passion during performance at Coachella and a helping hand from Prince: “It was foreign. My head wasn’t there. I kind of fluffed through rehearsals,” André said in the interview. “A few hours before the Coachella show, I get a message that Prince and Paul McCartney are going to be there. My spirit is not right, and idols are standing side-stage, so as the show started, I’m bummed. This is horrible. In my mind I was already gone to my hotel room halfway through. So Prince called a couple days after. It was my first time actually talking to Prince. He said: ‘When you come back, people want to be wowed. And what’s the best way to wow people? Just give them the hits.’ I’m explaining to him that I really didn’t want to do it. He said: ‘I’ve been there. I’ve tried to do other things. After you give them the hits, then you can do whatever.’ He broke it down like this: ‘You’re a grown man. You’re either going to do it or you’re not.’”
About the long-awaited solo record: “It’s hard to say. [Laughs.] I’m just going to call it honest. I know this may sound morbid, but I was like, if I were to die today, I have all these half-songs on my hard drive, and I don’t want that.
When you feel it, it’s right. If you don’t feel it, then why? Honestly, think about it. Why do it? Why?”
Read the full interview here.