The year is 2023 and André 3000 has just released his first solo album, New Blue Sun. Unfortunately, at least to those who had prior expectations, there is no rapping to be heard. Or singing. In fact, there’s no vocals at all. The entire project is centered around woodwind instruments.
“I’ve been interested in winds for a long time, so it was just a natural progression for me to go into flutes,” André says during a sit-down with NPR. “I just like messing with instruments and I gravitated mostly toward wind.”
“There’s this misconception that I just won’t do it,” André continues while discussing the idea of releasing a rap record. “I think people feel like I’m sitting around on rap albums, or sitting around and I’m just not putting them out in that way. And no it’s not like that. In my mind, I really would like to make a rap album. So maybe that happens one day, but I got to find a way to say what I want to say in an interesting way that’s appealing to me at this age.”
Birthed from a series of organic sessions, New Blue Sun features the playing of a core group of today’s best healing music players: Carlos Niño on bells, chimes, cymbals, drums, gongs, plants, and percussion; Nate Mercereau on guitar, guitar synth and live sampling; and Surya Botofasina on keyboards and synthesizers. While André plays several different wood instruments – including a digital wind instrument, a Maya flute, and others made of wood a bamboo – there’s also contributions from Deantoni Parks, Diego Gaeta, Matthewdavid, V.C.R, Diego Gaeta, Jesse Peterson, and Mia Doi Todd.
Equipped with six long-running songs and equally long-winded titles. The opening record is 12 minutes and is called “I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a Rap Album But This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time.” The album’s second song is a celestial arrangement with an edgy title: “The Slang Word P(*)ssy Rolls Off the Tongue with Far Better Ease Than the Proper Word Vagina. Do You Agree?”
Looking to bridge the gap between hip-hop and New Age, André says, “A lot of times I think people, especially Black people in the hood, look at it like, ‘Oh, them people over there.’ It’s like a separation. And that’s why with the song titles, we kind of kept it playful a lot of times. Or we got a little raw because I wanted to still feel light at times. Or give it some type of balance, make it just attractive for people to come in.”
“What people will call New Age-y or spiritual-ish, people consider it heavy,” he continues. “And I think, because I’m coming from rap and I knew a different audience, different eyes would be following me and looking at it. So I wanted to make sure that what I contribute to this world brings a certain lightness or humanness.
“In this world, the sun will be blue so it’s actually a different world, as if this sun we are looking at now that we are living by, that sun is going to die out at some point. I don’t even know what they’re going to look like or what their animals are going to look like, but in my mind, it would be this cooler burning sun that’s blue.”
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At Last, André 3000 has Released His Debut Solo Album, ‘New Blue Sun’ was last modified: November 17th, 2023 by