In 2004, Outkast became the first rap group to win album of the year at the Grammys. The group had both underground and commercial success, and in the summer of 2003, its career reached new heights after the release of the massive hit single “Hey Ya!”
The group was made up of Antwan Patton and André Lauren Benjamin, better known as André 3000. In 2023, André 3000 released one of the biggest musical curveballs in history — an album full of wind instruments called New Blue Sun. He said his influences for the recording vary from John Coltrane to Philip Glass, from Miles Davis to Steve Reich.
André 3000 says it wouldn’t be authentic for him to try to make a rap album now. What would he rap about as a 45-year-old dad? As a result, the first track of his new album explains his intentions, it’s called “I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a ‘Rap’ Album But This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time.”
If music like this were written in the 19th century, it would be called Impressionism. In the 1950s, it would’ve been dubbed minimalism; in the 1980s, new age.
André 3000 told NPR, “We're in a world now where we have so many influences coming from so many different directions that you don't have to be one thing. … So if it calls you, test it. I just really want to be inspiring for people and to look at it and be like, ‘Yeah, I want to explore.’”
Host: Vernon Neal
Producer: Dan Nass
Writers: Andrea Blain and Scott Blankenship
Executive Producer: Julie Amacher
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