André 3000’s debut solo album will drop later this week, but don’t expect any rap from the Outkast icon’s “New Blue Sun.”
The “Ms. Jackson” musician and flutist unveiled his new album in an Instagram post shared Tuesday morning. He posted an illustration of himself sitting on the ground and holding a large instrument, and captioned the photo “André 3000 New Blue Sun November 17 2023.”
“New Blue Sun” will mark André 3000’s first new music in 17 years. In 2006, he and Outkast collaborator Antwan “Big Boi” Patton dropped “Idlewilde” as the popular rap duo. Since then, the Atlanta rappers took a hiatus from Outkast to pursue their solo ventures.
Before the group’s hiatus, Outkast released “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” in 2003. Andre 3000 contributed “The Love Below” to the duo’s super-sized project, which also included Big Boi’s “Speakerboxx.” “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” won three prizes at the 46th Grammy Awards, including album of the year.
In 2014 the Grammy-winning pair, best known for hits including “Hey Ya” and “Roses,” reunited for Coachella, renewing fans’ hopes for new music. Despite this, Outkast had not released new music.
Just days before “New Blue Sun” releases, André 3000, 48, spoke to NPR about what fans could expect, and what they shouldn’t. The artist, who showcased his rapping talents on songs such as “B.O.B. — Bombs Over Baghdad” and “Aquemini,” instead flexes his woodwind skills.
“It’s just another iteration of what I’ve always been doing. I haven’t really changed my form at all. It’s just this is kinda further out,” he told NPR’s Rodney Carmichael.
André 3000 said “New Blue Sun” allows him to explore self-expression without using words and taps into his years-long interest in flutes, saxophones and similar instruments.
“New Blue Sun,” made in collaboration with Los Angeles producer and percussionist Carlos Niño, will be the musician’s first time sharing his instrumental works on his terms — instead of going viral for playing his flute around major cities including Philadelphia and New York City.
André 3000 told NPR he’s aware of the pressure and anticipation surrounding his upcoming work, but said being satisfied with his creation is what matters most. Even if it doesn’t feature any lyrics.
“I mean I try it all the time. 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,” he said. “And really, that’s the most important part. I have to feel happy about sharing it.”
The album will mostly be kept under wraps until its release, but NPR reported the project’s first track is more than self-aware: “I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a ‘Rap’ Album But This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time.”
“New Blue Sun” will be available to stream on Friday.