Poster andre 3000 throwing up a peace sign for a photo
Andre 3000's latest release, 'New Blue Sun,' is an album focused on wind instruments.
Emma McIntyre
Rhapsody in Black

Andre 3000 is a musician who never stops exploring

Rhapsody in Black - Andre 3000
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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.’”

Credits

Host: Vernon Neal

Producer: Dan Nass

Writers: Andrea Blain and Scott Blankenship

Executive Producer: Julie Amacher

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About Rhapsody in Black

Where we turn up the voices of Black artists in the world of classical music, with host Vernon Neal.

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