André 3000 interviews are few and far between, so whenever the celebrated rapper steps into the limelight for a convo on his latest happenings, it always feels like an event of sorts. His new Q&A with GQ Style is no different.
André sat down with the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Will Welch, for a lengthy talk about where he’s at musically, what he has in the vault, and why his longtime Outkast partner Big Boi is a better rapper than him.
The discussion also touched on a pretty entertaining topic: André, inspired by buying a bootleg Anita Baker shirt, wants to spearhead her official merch line.
On a more personal note, the ATLien revealed the one regret he would have if he died today. "Here’s the only thing that I would regret: Man, you know, there is still that album that you wanted to do."
Check out some choice excerpts below, and head over to GQ Style (the Holiday issue is available on newsstands now) where André also talks about his parents (both have passed) and his partnership with Tretorn.
On being at the end of his music career
It’s Mayweather. He knows. He’s like, yeah, I can fight maybe three more of ’em. But I’m slowing down, and I see these young kids coming up and I was them. And at a certain point, no matter how Mayweather you are, I think it’s classy to be like, you know what? [brushes off hands].
I think I have, like, maybe two more Mayweather fights… Or maybe one.
On what he’s got in his music vault
When I pass away, people will find hours and hours of files…hard drives and shit. It’s hard drives of me just in the house alone playing horrible guitar. Me playing piano. Me playing a little sax. I was trying to find out: What can I be excited about? Because I never was, to me, a great producer or a great writer or a great rapper. I always felt that I was less than everybody else, so I fought harder.
On why he believes Big Boi is the better rapper
When you watch early Outkast videos, Big Boi’s the leader. He always had the confidence, where I was kind of like the shy one. Big Boi can rap better than me—I always said that. If somebody said, "Pick who you want from Outkast to go to battle with you," it wouldn’t be me. ’Cause like, what I’ma do? Say some mind shit? You can’t have thoughts in a battle—nobody gives a shit about that.
On feeling out of the loop with the current sound of rap
I hate going to the studio. So what’s got me going once again is me being excited about other artists. I’ve been working on producing a few artists. A couple projects. But here’s the crazy thing: I don’t have the pulse anymore. Rhythms change every generation. The intensity and the drums change. And I’m not on the pulse. I can’t pretend. It’s kinda like watching your uncle dance. So the only thing I can do is this kind of novelty, off thing for them.
For me, hip-hop is about freshness. You can always hop, but you won’t always be hip.
On his plans to start an Anita Baker T-shirt line
I’m an artist, and I’m buying bootleg shirts of another artist, so I felt bad. So I was like, maybe, so my conscience feels good, let me try to find an address for Anita and send her a little check. And it’ll be a joke, like, "Anita, I just bought these shirts, I feel bad about it, here’s $50." Then I started thinking, wouldn’t it be great to design a line of Anita Baker tees and present the line to Anita? Maybe she needs some merch.
If she says no, hey, it’s fine. It was just an idea. There’s no way to lose here.