André 3000 on 'Traumatic' Aspect of Fame and Impact on Social Anxiety

3 Stacks' new album, an instrumental piece titled 'New Blue Sun,' is out this Friday.

Video via GQ

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Video via GQ

There are few artists who radiate inspiration for fellow storytellers across multiple generations quite like André 3000, who shocked the world this week with news of an impending album.

In commemoration of this Friday’s release of that album, an instrumental experience titled New Blue Sun, 3 Stacks sat down with Zach Baron for a wide-ranging GQ discussion that touched on OutKast's unique space in music history and the sometimes negative impact of that level of fame.

"I think there’s a certain chemistry that me and Big Boi have," André said of the duo's legacy. "I think people don’t understand that chemistry changes. OutKast was a true chemistry. The elements we had were not supposed to go together a lot of times."

As André explained, this caused a type of "rocket fuel" to emerge in their work, with both he and Big Boi working toward "the same goal" with opposing styles. The result? In André's own words, "magic."

Still, the fame aspect of success proved to be an adjustment for 3 Stacks, who agreed that this type of attention could have been a trigger for his social anxiety.

Around 28 minutes into the video version of the conversation, André was asked whether returning to being on his own—after, say, OutKast's run of 20th anniversary shows—proved difficult for him. It did not, he explained, before referencing a talk he recently had with his team.

"I remember a couple weeks ago talking to my manager and publicist," he said. "I was like, I really have to ask myself, do I wanna be just out there again? To do the run, to do the PR? I really had to ask myself. And I honestly don’t. I really enjoy my life. I like being able to do what I want as a civilian. But at the same time, I wanna promote the music. So I’m honestly doing it to promote the music. This ain’t no flex."

Elaborating further on his reluctance toward fame, André reminded viewers and readers just how unnatural it is for any person to experience anything like it.

"I think that may have been a traumatic kind of thing," he told Baron. "Because it’s really unnatural to have that much attention as a human or to have that much expectation as a human. I had to adjust to people filming you all the time or coming up to you."

At some points, André added, this part of the experience made him "not want to play at all."

See more up top and/or here. 3 Stacks also goes deep on the importance of dynamics in modern music, his influence (particularly “visually” and “in spirit"), and much more. It’s glorious.

New Blue Sun will technically mark André’s debut studio album. It's also his first full-length studio project since OutKast's Idlewild in 2006, though he's made a number of noteworthy guest appearances in subsequent years, including (but not limited to) the newly Grammy-nominated Killer Mike track "Scientists & Engineers" with Future and Eryn Allen Kane.

Following word of the new album's imminent arrival earlier this week, Complex dissected and ranked the project's thrillingly inimitable song titles. See here.

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