Andre 3000 has left the building. After this weekend’s shows in Atlanta, OutKast may be done. Andre Benjamin, who stars as Jimi Hendrix in the John Ridley helmed Jimi: All Is By My Side opening this weekend, says he’s ready to move forward. The 39-year-old rapper hasn’t made an OutKast record since 2003’s Grammy winner Speakerboxx/The Love Below but folks still want another project.
Not likely, says Benjamin.
“Both of us [he and partner Big Boi] are doing solo things. Don’t get me wrong about touring. I’ll never say ever. But personally, there’s no interest in that. I never want to be 50 years old doing those songs. I think rap music is a young people’s music and I’m clear about that with me. It’s just a personal thing. People have rolled with us for years and I’m happy about that. I could never say we’ll never do it again, but there are no plans right now.”
Fortunately for his fans, Benjamin’s talents are seen on screen this fall in the Hendrix biopic. He says preparing for the role was a challenge. Hendrix was a Seattle native while Benjamin is from Atlanta and has an obvious drawl.
“I had to lose [my drawl] as much as I could,” Benjamin said. “That just came through practice and watching a lot of tape. And his walk – he was pigeon toed and he wore bad shoes all his life and his feet were bad so I would have to walk that way around the house.
We had a team that worked really hard – a great team of people doing hair, working on the voice weight training and all that to get us to that place.”
Writer/director Ridley was the one that got him to do the project in the first place. Benjamin had his doubts – everything from the accent to the fact that Hendrix was left-handed and Benjamin is not. They were going to flip the images in production but Benjamin ultimately overcame his reservations and plays left-handed in the film.
“John Ridley is amazing. He’s pretty much the backbone of this whole project. He came down to Atlanta and said he wanted me to play it. I could see how badly he wanted to do it and he kind of whipped me into shape.”
“Jimi: All Is By My Side,” which has received great reviews thus far, heads to theaters on Friday.
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