There are certain hopes and dreams in hip hop that have existed for so long that they’ve grown to mythological levels. Detox sits on top. There’s that Jay Electronica album. And then there’s the Andre 3000 album that everyone thirsts over but is secretly worried about being disappointed by. Well, that dream may be a near reality. Earlier this week, Andre alluded to an upcoming solo album to BET’s Stephen Hill. Billboard has since spoken to a three stacks representative who said there is no official confirmation that an album is dropping in early 2014 or otherwise. If Dre does drop a solo disc, it would be his first since 2003’s The Love Below, which went on to win a slew of Grammy’s and break all sorts of sales records. We revisit our interview from Issue 23, when he and Big Boi spoke to us about the album, and wonder if Andre has gotten over his disenchantment with the music industry.
You still love rap?
BIG BOI: I love hip hop. I love funk music. Funky ass hip hop. Whatever it is. As long as that shit can strike a nerve like “Ooh!” make you feel that shit. That’s what I like.
Your partner feels like hip hop doesn’t speak to him anymore. Everyone’s saying the same shit. Everybody’s gangster.
Well, I mean, I don’t listen to everybody. Like, I just went out and bought Eazy-Duz-It [Ruthless, ’88] — Eazy-E’s first album. I don’t listen to everything that’s out. There’s a lot of stuff that’s out right now—true indeed, it ain’t inspiring, but it’s that handful of motherfuckers that are
funky as hell who are keeping this shit alive. I think Pharrell is doing his shit, funky as hell, Dr. Dre is still doing his damn thing, funky as hell. I don’t listen to a lot of new hip hop shit. I listen to a lot of old funk, ’70s shit: Aretha Franklin, Isley Brothers. But as far as, like, new records, 50 Cent’s got a nice little quality album…
As for us, I just feel like the time is right for our album to drop. I feel like, I don’t really worry about how people are gonna take it—as long as I know it’s funky and it’s true to what I’m doing and we’ve been doing. One thing that Bootsy Collins once told me will always be with me. He was like, “Let me tell you where we fucked up at: Once you try to start figuring out what you’re doing, that’s when you start fucking up.” So i don’t even try to figure it out. I just go in the studio. If that shit is funky and jamming, we’re gonna build on it until we’re finished. If it makes the album, it makes it. If not, we catalog that shit until the next one.
We’re still OutKast. You know, we drop a little science in there every now and then. I mean, it’s like, you’ve gotta feed them the right way. When we give it to ’em, first it’s about the beat—the beat gonna catch ’em. And then once you’ve got the beat, the first ten seconds, man, you’ve gotta come in on annihilation mode. I’m proud as hell of this record.
Do you think it’s your best?
I do. I really do. I think this is the one. I’ve got the feeling. With this album right here, it’s like we’ve been in the studio together, but it’s like he’s the commander of his disc and I was the commander of mine. Before it we were co-captains. At first it was kinda hard for me to adapt to calling all the shots. Usually it would be like, “Are we gonna use this, Dre?” Or Dre would be like, “What did you think about this?” This time all the final decisions have landed in my lap…but niggas don’t need to get it twisted at all: That man will write one verse and destroy your whole album with one verse. Like for real. And me, as an MC, I know what I’m capable of doing. Every time I write a rap, I try to outdo the last rhyme I did. Every time I write a rap, if I don’t feel like it’s dope enough, it don’t even feel good to me.
Speaking of dope, let’s talk about weed. It looks like you’ve got a well-fed Chia Pet on your desk.
It’s Hawaiian…it’s right. With this record right here, I smoked pounds to this…every time I listen to it I get to smoking. Feels good. Plus, man, I’m just a smoker. I know it’s bad to smoke but I think I probably got another year or so and then I’ll just cut that shit out completely.
You think you can do it?
Yeah, for my kids. I want to be around to do 80 years, or 90 years, or better. Now it’s like, “Okay, you’ve got babies…” I’ll probably eat the brownies or something. My kids see me smoke, but I don’t want them to think that shit is just cool. For me, when I do music, it just frees your mind; you go in the other zone. You can hear everything when you smoke. Your shit just gets sharp. And there’s certain shit that ain’t there that you can hear. That’s how I come up with the sounds for the musicians sometimes, the guys who play instruments. Smoking, chilling, just vibing. I don’t even drink like that though; I don’t get fucked up drinking. I might get me some Bailey’s, some butterscotch schnapps, make me a Buttery Nipple and just lean with it.
A Buttery Nipple?!
A Buttery Nipple is Bailey’s and butterscotch schnapps. Buttery Nipple. My uncle put me down to it. Old school drink.