Southern hip-hop legends OutKast have been touring the world over the course of the summer to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their landmark album “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.” Even with the money coming in and taking the chance to wax nostalgic on 20 years of success, co-leading man Andre “3000” Benjamin, ever the trendsetter, is ready to move on to different things.
In an interview published today, Benjamin opened up to the New York Times about his life post- OutKast. In between playing Jimi Hendrix in John Ridley‘s “Jimi: All Is By My Side,” raising his teenage son Seven, and wanting to evolve his musical sound, Benjamin has his hands full.
On how the Hendrix role helped him out of depression:
Hendrix kind of saved me. I was in a not-so-great space, just in a dark place every day. I needed something to focus on to get me out of my depression and rut. Sometimes, when you’re alone, you can let yourself go. I knew if I got on a train with a lot of different people, then I couldn’t let them down.
On his relationship with his son:
Seven’s been going to school in Atlanta for the last two years. I wake up every morning, take him to school, pick him up from school, going to soccer games, going to wrestling matches. Total dad, which is cool, because so much of that was taken by my early Outkast years. We were at the height, so a lot of the time that should have been [spent] with him, I’m on the road entertaining everybody else.
On his 20th anniversary black jumpsuit:
It’s always easier to play characters. They actually got André Benjamin the first night [at Coachella], and I clearly saw they don’t want André Benjamin. He loves what he’s done, but I hate cages, and sometimes nostalgia is a cage.
On his reasoning to tour with Big Boi again:
I feel good in being able to look at Big Boi and say, “Hey, man, we did it.” Big Boi’s got these great records on his own, but this means something else for him.
On his connection to contemporary hip-hop:
My son, he’s 16. Him and his buddies, they’ll be in the car, and I’ll say ‘Hey, what do you think about this verse?’ That’s my gauge at this point. I don’t have the pulse. Part of the art is knowing when not to put paint on. And when to change your medium.
On sticking to his decision to not be an old rapper:
I remember, at like 25, saying ‘I don’t want to be a 40-year-old rapper.’ I’m 39 and I’m still standing by that. I’m such a fan that I don’t want to infiltrate it with old blood.
On his ever-changing musical interests:
My thing is I’m an idealist. What I get off on is doing things people said could not be done. And so if I’m at a place where I feel like I’m regurgitating or doing the same thing, it’s doing nothing for me. I get bored really fast. I saw a certain thing in rap. It started becoming acceptable. It wasn’t rebellious. So what could be more rebellious than singing love songs, emotional songs [on his half of “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”] when everybody else is mean-mugging, saying “I’m a player.” I want to say: “I love these bitches, man. I really do.”
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