This morning, André 3000 announced his long-awaited debut solo album, New Blue Sun, will drop this Friday, Nov. 17. The project marks his first since full-length Outkast’s final studio album, 2006’s Idlewild, and fans expecting the usual rap verses from the acclaimed artist are in for a unique experience as the album departs from traditional hip-hop in favor of a different kind of flow.
Breaking the news himself, André 3000 told fans that New Blue Sun is not a rap record. According to NPR Music, the 87-minute album showcases André 3000’s talents as a flutist, presenting a collection of minimalist and experimental music devoid of traditional beats, bars, or vocals.
In the interview with NPR, André 3000 emphasized his desire to avoid misleading expectations, stating, “I don’t want people to think, Oh, this André 3000 album is coming! And you play it and like, ‘Oh man, no verses.’ So even actually on the packaging, you’ll see it says, ‘Warning: no bars.’ It’s letting you know what it is off the top.”
The album was born from jams André 3000 shared with the percussionist Carlos Niño. They introduced keyboardist Surya Botofasina and guitarist Nate Mercereau to the fold, recording the improvisations that comprise the LP. Other instrumentalists on New Blue Sun include Matthewdavid, Deantoni Parks, Diego Gaeta, V.C.R, Jesse Peterson, and Mia Doi Todd.
Of the new direction, André told NPR, “It’s not like I don’t try or it’s not like I have a lot of these songs just sitting—I have songs but it’s not like rap things that I really feel happy about sharing. And really, that’s the most important part. I have to feel happy about sharing it. That’s why New Blue Sun was something that I realized, whoa, I really want people to hear it. I really want to share it.”
The decision to move away from rap stems from André 3000’s passion for the flute, an instrument he has played for years. He explained, “I’ve been playing flute for years. It got to a point where it’s kind of Instagram worthy, where people were kind of sneaking and filming me play — in space, in the public.”
@bars #Andre3000 doin side missions playing his flute in Japan‼️😂 #raptv #bars #japan ♬ original sound – BARS by RapTV
The album, inspired by artists such as Laraaji, Brian Eno, Alice Coltrane, and Steve Reich, features an array of wind instruments, including contrabass flutes, Mayan flutes, bamboo flutes, and digital wind instruments. With no lyrics or verses on the album, André 3000 used the track titles to convey meaning. Each title is crafted to “give as much thought or information” as possible. The tracklist, with titles like “Ninety Three ’Til Infinity And Beyoncé” and “That Night In Hawaii When I Turned Into A Panther And Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn’t Control … Sh¥t Was Wild,” reflects André 3000’s playful approach.
“I been going through a phase where I love these really long titles,” André 3000 said. “I was trying to find fun, and I think that when people think of flutes, they think of cymbals and chimes or meditation or this kind of ethereal kind of sound. They forget that we’re human, too.” See the full tracklisting below.
For more insights into the album and André 3000’s musical journey, you can listen to his full interview with NPR Music here.
1. I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a “Rap” Album But This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time
2. The Slang Word P(*)ssy Rolls Off the Tongue With Far Better Ease Than the Proper Word Vagina . Do You Agree?
3. That Night in Hawaii When I Turned Into a Panther and Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn’t Control … Sh¥t Was Wild
4. BuyPoloDisorder’s Daughter Wears A 3000™ Button Down Embroidered
5. Ninety Three ’Til Infinity And Beyoncé
6. Ghandi, Dalai Lama, Your Lord & Savior J.C. / Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, And John Wayne Gacy
7. Ants To You, Gods To Who ?
8. Dreams Once Buried Beneath the Dungeon Floor Slowly Sprout Into Undying Gardens